Interview – Ryan Zogheb – Belgrade Art Studio Online Residency


What made you decide to become an artist?

My earliest memories of wanting to become an artist are when I was around six years old, and I was watching my sister prepare and create work for her undergraduate art school applications. I remember seeing her paintings and being so amazed and hoping one day I could do something like that. More recently, my motivation for being an artist is that since I am a more reserved kind of person I feel that my paintings are able to communicate things that I cannot so easily verbalize.

How do you come up with an idea and what is your working method? What are the things which catch your attention?

My work is very reflective of situations around me and what I am going through at the time of creation. I work primarily with self portraits and view my work as a bit of a journal to track emotions. I always work within series, and since the process of painting is very important to me, I allow that process to take control of where my work flows. After the first painting of the series I just follow along onto the next painting with what I feel I could have improved the last time. Things that stand out to me that I typically try to improve as the work progresses are; if my work is conveying an emotion and captured how I felt while creating, and if I captured the 3d aspect of a portrait onto a 2d surface.

What do you hope to capture and convey in the pieces you create?

I hope that my work conveys and relates to viewers the range of emotions that one can feel during the process of painting or process of going through anything. As a series of my work would progress, I hope viewers are able to see how I work with a repeated subject matter and find my own way of improving it.

How has your work developed since you began and how do you see it evolving in the future?

How do you feel about being involved in an online residency program? How important is it to stay connected with the international art community?

In the past I have typically worked only in small scales of around 9”x12”. With this residency I feel as if I have the freedom to try working large scale even if it does not end up working out exactly as I planned. Being in an online residency also allows me to experiment further with digital processes I had learned during lockdown of the pandemic when I did not have access to as many mediums as I do today.

What are your thoughts about the theme ‘artist on standby’? Tell us a bit more about your project…

I experienced most of my undergrad during the pandemic, so all of my studio classes went virtual, limiting our access to all of the studio equipment we were used to. Artist on standby to me is showcasing the way artists were able to adapt to those circumstances and find or create new ways of working. For my project I’m hoping to find a way to blend the digital practices that I learned during the pandemic with traditional oil painting.

What do you want to achieve before things return to normal if it is to happen? Any future plans/projects?

I am hoping to get my masters in painting in the upcoming years so I feel this residency will be a great place for me to get feedback and aid in preparing my portfolio for applications, and will be a great place for my work to evolve fur. And before things return to normal, I hope to see more ways that other artists adapted during the pandemic and learn more about the tools they used in order to do so.