Ryan P. Coleman and Julie K. Vassili are clearly two distinctive artists, with at least two things in common; they’re both painters and they share studio #320 at 1717 Troutman. Oh, and they’re super friendly!
They were separately drawn to Bushwick, like many of us, because of its affordability and artistic scene. Ryan was born in Connecticut, lived in a suburb, and moved to Bushwick ten years ago. He has moved around since then, but has pretty much stayed in Bushwick the entire time. Julie, on the other hand, is more of a nomad. She was born in Greece with an American mother, and moved back and forth between the States, Greece, London, …Narnia and every other magical place. She came to Bushwick a few years ago, left, and now she’s back again. She has had a taste of other parts of NYC, but Bushwick won her over …for now.
This is the first year Ryan and Julie will be showing their artwork at Bushwick Open Studios (Hey another thing they have in common!). Like everyone participating, we’re all very excited to meet new people. Julie, being a bit more reclusive, was surprised at a BOS meeting to see the large number of artists working in Bushwick. Ryan, who has been here for a decade, says BOS is a time to “meet the neighbors,”which translates to “I’m excited!”
Together, these two make a team, but they are almost opposites of each other, with opposite schedules, and totally different styles.
Ryan: “I like painting people, I just find it endlessly intriguing in all sorts of ways in a purely visual level.” He uses a palette of bold and poppy colors and thick lines to create a mood or psychological effect on the strangers in his paintings.
What inspires him? “A dark comedy that is lighthearted but with also very heavy and weighty emotion. The sad clown.” Oh, and old Popeye comics.
Julie has a sense of romanticism in her. Her current work focuses on piecing together the two different ways she has been working. After her undergraduate studies, she traveled all over the world taking in the imagery and landscapes from her visits. She then continued her studies at the New York Studio School, which heavily focuses on figurative art with models.
What influences her? “History of painting. Seeing how people work with this language. How you fall in love with a certain period.” She is currently in love with the Early Renaissance period.
“What I am really interested in now, is the transition from flat to form that happened through the Dark Ages to the Renaissance. That game is just so interesting especially when you’re just learning how to paint figuratively. You’re almost at that same place. You’re trying to find out how to paint form, but then if you can do that, you play with losing it as well.”
Both painters agree that Bushwick is great because of its diversity, affordability, space, and because there is a substantial community of young artistic seedlings here. As Ryan said, “There are a lot of little gardens in Bushwick.”
Don’t forget to stop by and meet this terrific duo at 1717 Troutman, studio #320 (it’s in the rear left). They literally can’t wait to meet you. Plus, they’re offering high-fives to every other person.