"Untouchable Art" - Baywatch actress Melissa Rooke
As a senior at Notre Dame High School, in Biloxi, Mississippi, Christian was given a pamphlet on Gauguin's Tahitian period.
Seduced by Gauguin's colors and the bronzed, naked natives, he fell in love with something that he's long since discovered is an illusion...Gauguin's Tahitian Paradise was anything but that; filled with STD's and poverty, Gauguin eventually moved back to France and never really found Paradise although the answer was near when he painted 'Yellow Christ.' Jesus said "Heaven is at hand" a spiritual thing meaning that it is present, immediate, wherever you are, within.
He'd also been offered a Scholarship to 'Ole Miss University but desperately wanted out of of the deep south- the lure of living in a Pacific Palisades ranch home flipping project on a bluff overlooking the ocean with his brother and a few of his brothers USC architect friends was calling. But so was Mulholland Drive, Street racing and a Big budget Movie about that scene where he was paid to do interviews and research for the writer of the film. What would it be: Art, Film...or both?
Nevertheless, Gauguin's colors were evocative, the figures were real and they launched a life long quest to live a creative's
life. Having moved to Pacific Palisades, Christian took a Santa Monica City College class, "Survey of Modern Art,"
that showed him just how deep this rabbit hole of Modern Art went. He fell even more in love with Modernism and started painting. At first, he painted anything and everything, then transferred to Los Angeles Valley College, where he enrolled
in a film & life drawing classes. All of these established a classic foundation from which he would eventually follow in the footsteps of one of his favorite artists and film directors: Julian Schnabel.
His Mom, Teri Ryman, had been a fashion model in Tampa, Florida. She gave that up, as so many women did in that era-
to marry a US Air force pilot, travel the world and raise two sons. Later, re-married to an Air Force Pediatrician, they lived in Wiesbaden, Germany where Teri took an oil painting class taught by Herr Hirschfeld, who supposedly descended from a long line of German Master painters. After three years, the family moved to Biloxi, MS, where Teri began to sell her oil on canvas paintings-copies of found photos, masterpieces and other images. Christian won a first place ribbon in a local art show with a labyrinthine, MC Escher influenced drawing.
In his first semester at Jr. College, Christian lost his step Dad (Teri divorced him) and his real Dad (to suicide.) Teri moved to L.A and eventually rented a two bedroom apartment in Brentwood with Christian. It was there that she passed on German Master oil painting technique to him, in a series of impromptu, tempestuous teaching sessions. One fateful day, she brought home a copy of VOGUE with an editorial shoot of model Paulina Porizkova. Christian was inspired to paint from this found photo, the first of many such efforts-finally a focus had been found. At the suggestion of a friend, he took a few paintings to a Venice nightclub in the cellar of a dive bar called Townhouse. There, he walked away one Friday night with hundreds in cash for his art. He was hooked- although he'd work professionally in film, writing, photography and even as a chef, some say his greatest gift is painting.
His Mom continued to mentor him; he resisted, hating to be told how to paint but he also had to admit-the results,
when he followed her instructions-were magical. He had found Gauguin's epic idyll without having to leave L.A.
After a few years, the Ryman (family) Magic had been married to the Hirschfeld German Master technique. Within a decade, his work was in a celeb actor's mansion, PEOPLE Magazine, a coffee table collectors book; he had a Publicist who got him and his work in a made for HBO Feature Film documentary on Monroe that premiered at the Palm Springs Int Film Festival. He painted model Letitia Herrera as Frida Kahlo in 90's L.A., did graphite pencil drawings of Claudia Schiffer as Madonna (with Child) on salvaged Masonite door pieces. Scouring alley's, he found old used doors by dumpsters, ripped the Masonite facing off and took the pieces home where he nailed them back together on the wall to create thoroughly modern Mary icons. A fresh coat of latex off-white (Navaho) paint served as flesh tone upon which he pencil drew Mother & Child images. Around 300 people attended the opening reception of that solo exhibition in West L.A. But Christian, still working on emotional and psychological family trauma, wasn't ready for success. Married to an actress in 2001, he teamed with her and focused on films. Years would pass before he would show again at Timothy William's acclaimed Black Cat Gallery in Mar Vista. Since 2007, he's done private oil portrait commissions of beautiful Latin wives and is looking forward to another Gallery show in 2014.
Teri's passing on to him a love for Models, fashion and beauty might have been equally as important as the oil techniques
she gave him. It's a love for the way models and actresses "paint" their faces every day, for the way they have posed for countless artists/directors for decades, centuries, going back to the cave paintings of Lascaux, France. It's compassion
for the ill treatment they've endured at the hands of men. For this and more, he paints and hopes that his work recognizes their efforts to make the world a more beautiful, more inspiring place.
Often, great Artists come from a long line of other creative giants and this is true in Christian's case: in his family tree are:
1. Robert Ryman, the Abstract minimalist painter, who broke new ground and who's work sells for millions and resides in Museums around the world. http://www.xavierhufkens.com/artists/robert-ryman
2. Herb Ryman, the Disney illustrator, who's iconic 1950's map of Disneyland launched many a dream, who went on to create much more great art and charitable foundations. http://www.ryman.org/therymanlegacy/
3. Tom Ryman, who, touched by God, was moved to build the Ryman auditorium, a legendary Nashville Music Landmark and American treasure-the home of the "Grand Ole Opry," where every performer who's anyone has graced the stage. This edifice was a gift from Tom to the world, originally intended as the home of a revivialist, many a fiery sermon was preached there. htmlhttp://www.ryman.com/history/tomrym