Fine artist and print maker Rob Ryan didn’t set out to be the papercut king of the world but thank goodness the world recognised his genius.
His words and pictures have a fairytale quality. They are poetic and soulful and stir emotion. If you want to see lots of them you should pay a visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which, as far as I am concerned, is “Rob Ryan heaven”. The YSP is staging “Listen to the World”, a solo exhibition that spans the last six years of his career and features some of his old favourites along with some exclusive screenprints and lasercuts.
The YSP, which is just off the M1 near Denby Dale, is free (though you pay for parking) and is one of Yorkshire’s greatest public spaces. The beautiful grounds are full of fabulous sculptures by the likes of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth while inside, there are galleries and a cafe.
There’s also a shop, which has won awards for its exquisite range of gifts and cards. It has a Rob Ryan section, which includes a limited edition lasercut “Our Sub Atomic Love Affair”, created exclusively for the YSP and on sale from £120. If, like me, you can’t run to that then there are cards, books, a tote bag, tea towels, ceramics, jewellery, radios and even a Rob Ryan wallaper produced by MiniModerns.
I urge you to go, take some time to really study the intricate images and read all the words. It will make you think and it will make you feel good. Below is one of my favourite Rob Ryan pictures (it comes in lots of different colours) and this is what it says: “Can we? Shall we?” It shows a couple on top of a tree whose trunk is inscribed with “Can We? Shall We? One day very soon, let us go away together just you and me. Can We? Shall We? Call in sick one day and travel to the sea and hold hands all day. Can We? Shall We? Eat our sandwiches on the train, get drunk on fresh air and come home tired and never tell anyone…. Ever’………”
Who doesn’t dream of doing that?