I want to create stories that inspire the present moment, intrigue the senses, and motivate the heart. Stories both exciting and tender. They must connect with children and be fun! Characters should take risks, face challenges, learn and grow internally. My style is bright, loose, and expressive. I create simple yet awe-inspiring spaces- filled with rich, funny, relatable characters who come to life through a mixed-media style. My intention is for children to recognize my work and pick it up again and again.
My work is inspired by nature. My stories are about friendship, kindness, inclusion, self-awareness, resilience, and responsibility for our natural world. My work and studies as a fine artist, eight years of teaching Pre-Kindergarten, and being a parent of two amazing kids has undoubtedly molded my expression.
I'm always learning, growing, traveling, moving... my perspective is always open and so is my work. I am a writer as well as an illustrator so inspiration comes to me two-fold. The story and the images appear as if woven together, a gift when I am fully present and not asking for anything. More often the imagery tells me the story. I start with loose, quick sketches to get my idea to paper. This sketch period is synchronized with the writing. When working on my final illustration- (currently) I'm working in photoshop. But I may also use one or a combination of pencil, pen, ink, watercolors, acrylics, collage, and photography.
Some things I love about illustration work…
-I love hidden moments and stories within illustrations.
-I love how you don’t have to be serious.
-I love how it pushes me to places I would otherwise not have gone.
-I love my curiosity, exploration, freedom.
-I love the stories. I love the characters. I love going on the adventure.
-I love how much meaning there can be behind something so simple.
-I love the impact- how stories are read aloud, shared across generations and destinations.
-I love that it is a place filled with joy and love.
Conscious Fine Art / Organic expressionism:
My work is an expression of consciousness inspired by nature. Where is all form born? A mystery to many of us yet endlessly living inside all of us- our shared inner essence. Everyone can feel it. It’s the awareness behind your thoughts. The silence between sounds, allowing sound to exist. When you see a beautiful view or something completely new, and you don’t pass judgment or apply conditioned labels, you don’t resist and you are not attached- we become completely connected, completely present and you feel it. The vast inner space we all possess- where we came from and where we all will return. The ultimate and all-encompassing blank canvas. It is presence. I create from presence. From a flow of energy beyond thought. That is why I consider my work to be an expression of consciousness. Sometimes I call it organic expressionism. The truth is... all form, everything we can see, touch, feel, etc. is an expression of consciousness. In this case, the expression of consciousness (the painting) is aware of it's self being created. It's aware of that which it came at the very moment of conception. Because (when working) I am present (consciousness aware of itself). The intention is very impactful. The process is my awakening. That is my intention. The work, after I’m done, enlightens a space. A contribution to the united global awakening.
And if you didn’t understand any of that… That’s fine! Just know- I created the work with love- pure joy! And I hope to share that experience with you, a connection to our inner essence. Our inner being.
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Ryan Smith Michael is an American artist, author, and illustrator currently living in Budapest, Hungary with his wife, daughter, and son.
Ryan studied fine art in New York City and Paris. He gained inspiration traveling across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Ryan's fine art has homes across the globe. His work is a reflection of nature and conscious awareness, inner presence.
Ryan taught early childhood education for eight years in Providence, RI, and Los Angeles, CA before pursuing fine art and picture books full time. Ryan's students were some of his greatest teachers.
Ryan's picture books combine epic stories with quiet and still moments. Characters and readers alike take self-discovering journeys. They take risks and uncover the power and beauty within themselves, each other, and our precious earth.
Ryan loves to stay active- creating, traveling, exploring, meditating, and dancing like crazy with his family in the living room.
And if you left a sandwich in the refrigerator-
a good guess, Ryan ate it.
R y a n S m i t h M i c h a e l