Only a visionary could imagine that the intensity of pop culture characters mixed with the vibrancy of graffiti could make for the perfect combination to reflect the notion of a simpler time. And that visionary is Robyn Ward, a new and up-coming street artist from Ireland—a place he not only calls home, but also his first art classroom.
“Growing up in the atmosphere of Belfast at the end of the troubles that I did – we were constantly running away from politics or expressing our political views,” Robyn recalls. “I started making art as a release. To me, it was very therapeutic. An escape from what was going on around me and a moment when it was just me and a way of expressing my views, thoughts, feelings and emotions.”
Consequently, what started as mere catharsis, quickly became, to some extent, the balance that Robyn never before imagined his chaotic teenage life so desperately needed. “Still today, if I don’t paint or sketch on a regular basis I get filled with frustration,” he confesses.
And just like that teenager from Belfast one day turned into a man of the world that comes and goes from London to Los Angeles, Robyn’s artistic soul has also gone through its own metamorphosis over the last few years.
“Once I started to travel and see more of the world and escape the narrow social landscape that I grew up in, my painting started to come into a world of its own. I have been pretty nomadic since I was 18 and fascinated by cultures, sociology and social philosophy. The more I learn about these the more inspired I become,” he explains.
The urban inspiration behind his art is clearly captured in Ward’s work. “I want all my pieces to look like a piece of a wall has been cut out and framed – so the graffiti elements are crucial to help bring this to fruition.” On the other hand, the characters add modernity just as much as they reflect “the innocence and naivety of being a child, when you are not fully aware of the socio or economical politics around you.
And while he’s widely known for this one series of paintings, Robyn Ward has shown different sides of himself through the versatility in the rest of his paintings. “I also have a symbolism series which I am going to show more of at the end of next year as well as a more abstract line. Both move away from characters but still have a tie to how I see the world and my head space at the time of creating the piece.”
Whether it’s characters or symbolisms, regardless of the elements starring on his art, “There is a piece of me in every painting I do, so I am drawn to them all for different reasons”, Robyn explains. “Sometimes due to colors, other times due to messaging or simply remembering back to how I felt during the period that I was painting that piece out or hitting a nostalgic trigger that reminds me of a time in my youth.”
In the end, the intention is always the same: to generate conversation about the issues in our world today. “If I can help create more awareness about real life matters that are happening around us in an enjoyable way, I would be very satisfied!”
From simple, everyday matters, to more serious and transcendental issues, Robyn’s ultimate purpose is to always “give the viewer the chance to see a situation or a reality or just think about what is going on around them and perhaps see it from a different perspective.”