A Flurry of Fun - Ashland is Base Camp - Winter '24 Issue

Friday, July 8, 2016

Moon’s Time to Shine

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Moon’s Time to Shine

Local fine artist Ryan Moon


Ryan Moon, born and raised in Medford, has spent his whole career teaching and promoting other artists and businesses, but now it’s his time, so catch him while you still can.

The 32-year-old’s first solo show is just around the corner, and it’s for a good cause. The Ryan Moon Gallery Event, where a number of his pieces will be on display and will benefit CASA of Jackson County, is Monday, July 29 from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Insurance Lounge in the Medford Center.

Moon works with oil on panel and glass, painting mostly portraits, as he is fascinated by the human element and the uniqueness of each person. “People have guarded emotion,” says Moon. “It’s uncomfortable to hold eye contact in person, but not so if you are staring at a portrait. You can look into their eyes at length without the need to look away.”

He likes to incorporate a certain level of abstraction into his work. He says it creates an environment in which the viewer can reflect that it’s “just paint…crushed up rocks mixed into oil. When good abstract work happens, it becomes very subjective. People can relate and identify with it.”

He wants people to be able to relate, especially to the portraits he paints even if they don’t know the person painted. Moon recalls one painting his mother was quite moved by, even though she didn’t know the subject at the time. His mother said she could feel the sorrow of the subject, and Moon felt he had accomplished what he set out to express with his brush.

His process is unusual. He does a fairly extensive underpainting and then creates his abstraction over it. That’s “the fun part,” he says. Most artists would be satisfied with the underpainting, but not Moon.

Moon has drawn and painted since he was two-years-old. He took art classes at Rogue Community College before attending Southern Oregon Art School for three years, where the owner Craig Cox took him under his wing. Soon after, the art school found new ownership and promise under Judy Cayton, where Ryan taught for six years along-side Chris Tullis and Cayton, who are tremendous influences for Moon.

“Teaching reaffirmed and solidified everything I had learned,” he says. “There’s something about giving that changes your perspective and openness. The [concept of] giving back through teaching is what created my voice in my work.”

His incredible artwork was recently discovered by an agent who commissioned a few pieces from him and started encouraging him to come into his own. This is an exciting time for Moon, yet also very uncomfortable. Moon hasn’t ever actively pursued being an artist until now.

“I’ve never been as uncomfortable as I am now,” says Moon. “I’m putting myself out there for critique and there’s a certain amount of pressure to preform that goes with that. When I get comfortable, though, is when I’m in trouble, so I suppose that’s a good thing in order to move forward.”

What’s extra special about his first event benefiting CASA is that Moon spent a good portion of his youth being fostered by family and close family friends, when his mother was unable to care for him. In spite of his history, Moon and his mom share a very close relationship. A man of strong faith, he is not shy to express his gratitude for all of the people God has put in his path. “Janice [his wife since they were 19 years old] has always been there. I couldn’t do this without her,” he expresses.

Moon’s art has been featured in local galleries, as a book cover for Shipwrecks and Storm Clouds by Jim Wright, and in many private collectors’ residences across the states. Moon has painted many outstanding portraits as commissioned works and he also sells prints online. He currently teaches part-time as Art Instructor at Reach Charter School, runs a successful web design business and, of course, paints as often as possible. For more information, visit www.ryan-moon.com.

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