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Cartoons and Expressionism: Art by Ryan Coleman

A painting by Ryan ColemanGenesis (Purple Cloud), oil and acrylic on canvas

Ryan Coleman’s paintings are inspired by classic cartoons and expressionism. Having worked in animation for a short period, Coleman infuses his paintings with an aesthetic that comes straight out of a pre-digital animation studio.


A Cel Painting by Ryan ColemanPeek, ink and acrylic on acetate and paper


I really enjoy looking at Coleman’s Cel Paintings series. While the works are abstract, they feature elements that immediately call to mind images of famous Disney or Warner Brothers characters. The rounded, slightly bulbous shapes and bright colors would also at home in a showcase of expressionist pop-art from the 1960’s or 70’s – though overlaid with looser, less-opaque brush marks they become decidedly contemporary.


Coleman has also worked on a number of indoor and outdoor mural projects. The artist’s wild yet confident brush marks and drippy, almost graffiti-like moments work really well on larger surfaces. In one commissioned work, the artist coated a huge antique desk in splashes of colorful paint – making it look like something straight out of a cartoon. 


A photograph of a desk painted by Ryan ColemanPainted antique desk (commissioned by Buzzispace Inc. - NeoCon, Chicago, Illinois)

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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