Have you ever heard the phrase “Some people are just born with it”? It seems unlikely to be born with an incredible talent, but for Ryan Jacque, it’s absolutely true.
Ryan Jacque, a Western Massachusetts artist, remembers drawing from as young as the age of five. While coloring with crayons could be seen as a leisure activity to most kids, Ryan’s early hobby followed him from high school, all the way to college. Now at the age of 46, Jacque continues to create unique, award-winning works of art. What can be found in his portfolio is a collection of stunning, nature themed art pieces and portraits of anything from New England to beloved pets. The meticulous detail and care taken in each piece is evident to anyone lucky enough to be viewing his work. After suffering a setback following a near-fatal outdoor accident in 2008, Ryan has left the past behind, continuing to create astonishing pieces.
Ryan practiced his artwork nights and weekends while working in roofing and carpentry for 13 years following his time spent in college. It was in September of 1998 that his work began to gain more recognition. Ryan shared, “I was accepted into Leigh Yawkey Woodson’s Birds in Art in Wausau, Wisconsin. It is a juried art exhibit focusing only on birds. Since then, I’ve been accepted 12 times as of this coming September. I could talk all day about what that exhibit means to me, what it has done for me and so many artists and bird enthusiasts around the world.”
Ryan has enjoyed being a part of the Yawkey Woodson’s Birds in Art show so much, he calls it his favorite accomplishment, and with good reason. “My wife and I went to the opening weekend of the show and met many artists who I had looked up to for years. It was also the first time I had met one of the museum’s Master Artists, Robert Bateman, who I’m proud to call a friend now.” That meeting led to the creation of a portrait Ryan completed of Bateman that can now be found in the Robert Bateman Centre in Canada and on the back of the 2014 Bateman calendar cover. He glowed, “There are no words to describe what that felt like.”
The work of Ryan Jacque is exceptional, and that takes the right supplies and a great deal of time. “My work is pencil on hot press watercolor paper. I always use a needle sharp tip so it’s not exactly fast, but it is the way I enjoy working on it. I choose heavier paper because I never know how long an original might actually take, could be planned on 20 hours and ending at 100 or more.”
While Ryan often creates art from his own inspiration, he happily accepts commissioned projects from time to time. “Commissions are what I really enjoy doing for several reasons. My overall goal is to take a customer’s idea and make it look better than they thought or expected.”
He prefers to meet and photograph the subject of which he will be drawing (which he shared is most frequently a person, dog or horse.) “I prefer this way because I know they will not have seen it before and it’s completely original.” However, some of his commissioned work is done with a reference photograph from a customer because of barriers such as distance or that the subject has passed away. As Ryan expressed, “All I can do is the best I can do, and if they are happy with the end result, I’m happy.”
Artists often choose their favorite works not for their visual outcome, but for the meanings behind them. The same can be said of Ryan, who shared that many of his pieces are sentimental for their personal stories. Among these favorites is his work, “November Sky.” “I’ve written more about this drawing than anything else I’ve done because the location, subject and that time in my life is always on my mind, even now. In fact, I’ve thought a lot more about the location and the subject than the drawing itself. This particular buck and the ridge he stands on is what first got me into the outdoors, deer, wildlife, bird watching and hunting. Whether that’s good or bad news to share, that’s the most honest thing I could say about it.”
Coupled with the joy of creating artwork, one benefit of being an artist for Ryan is how many fantastic artists he has come to meet over the years. He values their ability to have work that shows who the artist is without featuring a signature. “That is what I look for in my work. If the theme or idea of the work has been done, I generally lose interest in even starting it, even if it is a very popular theme. My feeling is that I’d like to be excited to get to the drawing and have that same feeling every single time. Or what is the point of going to the studio?” With every piece Jacque has created, it’s evident that he looks at each piece from a unique and personalized perspective every time.
His resume is as expansive as it is impressive. Just to include a few accomplishments, Ryan’s original work “End of Summer” was featured in the September/October issue of Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine. He is also the two time recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant. In 2013, he received the Special Merit Award from LightSpaceTime’s 2013 Figurative Art Exhibition. His original works entitled “Autumn Chill,” “End of Summer,” and “Stoned In” were purchased by Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum for its permanent collection. His resume is found on his webpage and is ever growing.
With such an impressive portfolio of work, where will Ryan go next? He has a bright itinerary planned for the coming years. His main plan? Bigger and better.
“The goal is to bring my camera and pad to Wyoming, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado (generally Central US) or anywhere bison, elk, mule deer, pronghorn, wolves, grizzly/brown bears can be seen over the next ten years. I’ll be more than excited if that can happen someday. If I make one trip in the country, it will be Wyoming.”
No matter where on the map life brings Ryan D. Jacque, he knows where his goals are. “I’d like to keep producing the best work I can make or the best that the given time allows.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE WORK OF RYAN D. JACQUE
AND TO LEARN MORE ABOUT COMMISSIONS, PLEASE VISIT
HIS WEBSITE AT WWW.RYANJACQUE.COM