Artist Ryan Keene
“In my youth I would watch my dad, knee deep in some small stream in Central Massachusetts, controlling a microscopic fly down the riffles over a pool he thought would hold a gem of mother nature. Smoke from his pipe swirling over his head chasing the black flies and mosquitoes away. His eyes narrowed and watched with anticipation and then with one poetic motion, tightening his finger holding the line close to his rod, drawing his left hand, holding the loops of bright orange streaks, down. The rod tip rising over head bending with the force of the beautiful rainbow trout that trailed at the completion of his line. Every aspect of his movement seemed choreographed like he practiced them in the basement every night. I sat in the wet moss with my button reel, a red and white bobber drifting to the edge of the waterway suspending a dead worm below the water. I wanted to be a dancer like my father, to have such control of something captivated my imagination. That was the day I asked my dad to teach me the art of fly fishing, just like my mom’s pencil in her sketch book, every line a practiced dance between hand and imagination. I felt like I was asking my father permission to dip my feet into adulthood, he smiled down at me handed me his 4wt Fenwick and started to guide me through the actions of a roll cast. As my dad taught me to fish, my mother taught me the poetry of drawing and watercolor. We would draw everything in front of us trees, mushrooms, birds, and fish interpreting life into line. My parents both taught me to see the beauty of the world and that happiness was not a fish in hand or a perfect drawing but the chance to chase such treasures.
My works try and grasp those last few moments of anticipation when you see a fish rising, dimpling the surface to take a dry fly. That electricity you feel in your whole body as you prepare yourself to dance. I take in inspiration from many aspects of our world, everything from street art to the freezing crystallized water on your windshield. The beauty of our world is never ending and I enjoy every day that I get to step into it’s palette and play along. I am originally from Central Massachusetts and Southern Maine but currently reside in Pittsburgh, Pa with my talented wife, two brilliant kids, and some ink- and paint-splattered pets.”