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)

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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