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The Light Within

Ryan Carlson

My work is a reflection of the deep connection I feel to nature. I’m constantly inspired by its colors, patterns, textures, and light. Time outdoors is just as much a part of the creative process as sketching ideas or constructing pieces. My intention is not to replicate these landscapes or the flora and fauna that inhabit them. I want to take that inspiration and create something completely new — something that could exist alongside them or in its own unique world.


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Instagram @ryancarlsonart

My current body of work is titled The Light Within. It’s rooted in the idea of transmigration, the transfer of a soul from one being to another after death. The title suggests that our souls are a light that never burns out. We all age, break down and eventually die, but that inner light lives on. Several of the pieces contain illuminated or gold leaf, chrysalis-like forms. They symbolize that inner light, our soul. Bird imagery or feathers in the work symbolizes the flight of the soul as it leaves one being to inhabit another.

I want a harmonious balance between the work’s theme and the materials/processes I use to create it. Using nuts, leaves, and fungi in the handmade paper or inks points to new life/new beginnings. Branches point to growth and aging. Bones and rust point to death and decay. Like the theme itself, the work has an entire life cycle contained within it.

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