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Meet Haylee Ryan of Haylee Ryan Creative

Today we’d like to introduce you to Haylee Ryan.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I always loved to draw and paint, even as a little kid when I carved drawings into my parents wooden bed and drew pictures on the wall. When my grandfather passed away when I was 9 years old, I prepared a whole “portfolio” of my artwork to give him as a gift. My mom later told me that he gave that folder back to her and made my parents promise I would pursue art. And I did. I studied under great teachers that always encouraged me and pushed me and I ended up selling my first portrait in 9th grade, and the rest is history. I’ve always loved people and faces and the human figure. I went to University of Dallas where I continued to paint and explore human figure painting and my curiosity with the concepts of memory and the coexistence of abstract and realism in artwork. I feel really privileged to have studied under one of my artist icons, Kim Cadmus Owens. I also did an apprenticeship with Glenn Ness in Bend, Oregon where I got to work in the studio with this genius professional artist. I got a peek into what it really meant to be an artist full-time, the day to day, the balancing act we play with creating work we really care about, work for our gallery, and commissions. Glenn Ness made me feel like I could do it, and gave me a lot of the real-life tools to make the leap.

I moved home and started teaching art for an Elementary School in OakCliff, and began trying to make work more consistently. I fell in love with teaching and giving back to the community through my artwork and simultaneously fell in love with my neighborhood of OakCliff. These first 2 years of teaching, I met a group of Spaniards teaching in an exchange program and they opened me up to a whole new world of travel and curiosity about the world. In 2012, I moved to Spain to teach, but also to see and explore the history and culture in Europe. I saw some of the artwork I had been studying about in school and took tests on in university. I left feeling so full and inspired and when I moved home to OakCliff, I knew I had to make more space for my artwork, for my dream. I realized that if I was ever going to make this dream of being a full-time artist true, there was no time like the present. I taught one more year before I went part-time teaching at James S. Hogg Elementary, two blocks from my house, and started making space and filling it with art! Since then I have painted multiple murals across the DFW area, from Bishop Arts to Deep Ellum to Fort Worth. Just over a year ago I painted my first mural out of state, in Oklahoma for Restaurant and music venue “Ole Red,” and shortly after my first out of country mural in Coyoacán, MX. This summer I am headed to Jackson Hole, WY and Times Square, NYC and can’t wait to see what its in store next! Here locally I am working on a mural project with some other wonderful artists at the new development called “The Hill,” off of 75 and Walnut Hill. Stay Tuned!

Murals, however, have only been a pleasant addition to the work I want to make, but I continue to have solo shows and sell my fine art paintings through Jen Mauldin Gallery. I studio with my best friend, Amanda Page, owner of Zephyr Floral, out of Tyler Station in OakCliff. When I’m not teaching and painting murals, you can find me there working on commissions, developing my new ideas, or hosting workshops and live drawing classes.

The rest of my life is filled with friends, family, travel, Dalmatians, and playing music alongside Amanda in our local band, “Sister!”

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I would say that I am shocked by how many surprises there have been along the road. 90% of the time, I’m just pining away and saying yes to things that seem like they excite me, but every now and then there are calls or offers or new connections that I just could have never planned or expected would be important or take me to the next place. It’s so important to pursue things that call to you or peak your interest because you never know where it’s going to take you. I never knew I would meet Glenn Ness in Oregon. I would never have met Jen Mauldin without making a piece of art for Art Conspiracy. I would never have painted a mural in Mexico if I hadn’t continued teaching. I almost said no to that mural in small town Tishomingo, OK, and it turned out to be my number one form of exposure this year and has already taken me to 2 other states.

Being an artist is not all easy and dreamy like some people think. It’s a lot of hard work with little immediate return. It’s a lot of painting things to pay your bills that you don’t necessarily care about or long hours in the hot sun up on a ladder somewhere. There are times of doubt that it’s too big of dream or too inconsistent. These are the times where my closest friends and my unbelievable family have supported me and pushed me through. This is one of the many perks of living and studio-ing with your best friend. She constantly reassures me of the progress I am and have been making and that I do have a unique creativity, something I think all artists question at some point. My parents have been the ultimate supporters of this dream, holding true and making possible what they promised my grandfather over 20 years ago. I’m so thankful for the support group I have around me and am so encouraged by other artists in this city.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Haylee Ryan Creative – what should we know?
Haylee Ryan Creative is the business I have been working towards since 9th grade, but I have just incorporated last year. I am a painter. I do commission fine art paintings, custom and creative from my own work. I am currently represented by Jen Mauldin Gallery where I show my work here in Dallas and is the platform for sharing my new work. I paint murals and love to add my art to space on a grand scale, whether it be figures, old nostalgic photographs recreated, or my recent botanical paintings of flowers and plants. My passion is capturing people and making memories stay alive through art.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
From the moment I decided to go part-time teaching, I have been saying that “you have to create space for your dream.” The only reason I have been successful is that I created space in my life for new opportunities to happen. My life was so full, so while I wanted this dream to happen and grow, I had filled up every second of my life with everything else. As soon as I created space, the more time, energy and creativity I had, and therefore the more created, the more my craft developed, the more connections I made, the more success I had. I encourage anyone to make that leap to make space for the things you care about, no matter what it is, your business, your hobbies, whatever means the most to you. There is no time like now. Well, there is no time but now. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still teach art part-time (because I love it AND) because I still need some stable foundation, so I am not naively saying to drop everything. We all need something to get from point A to point B. I just feel very lucky that my other job is something I care about and feeds my creativity.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Paxton Maroney

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