Interview With An Artist: Ryan Ketterman

Ryan Ketterman is artist friend of mine from Jacksonville, FL. I first saw Ryan's work at an underground group show a few years back at the old Brooklyn Art Center on Forsyth St, Jacksonville, FL. There was alot of work tacked to the wall by young artists with- yes thumbtacks and some work on notebook paper...I think you get the idea ...but Ryan's work was different.

Right away, I gravitated to his quality of presentation as well as his style and subject matter. So much so, I had to meet him. So over the years, I've kept in contact with Ryan and followed his career.

Here's a little background:

For over ten years Ryan Ketterman has been experimenting with and perfecting his art of night and low light photography. He is drawn to the effects of light painting and motion which create a strong sense of surrealism, blurring the objectivity of time and place. The vivid colors and abstracted sense of solitude allow him to create images of familiar subjects with other-worldly results.

Ketterman has been based in North Florida for nearly a decade and runs a successful commercial photography business. He is also an avid surfer.

Besides being an excellent photographer with a pulse for the inner workings of the young vibrant scene of Jacksonville, he's a pretty cool guy too.

So to start my "Interview with an Artist" series, I asked Ryan Ketterman a few questions.

In your artist statement, it says you are an avid surfer. Do you ever photograph surfers or surfing? Does your love for surfing affect your work in anyway?

Surfing brings me to life! It really helps balance me out as an individual. Its a great exercise and a real test of your will. I do bring some elements of surfing lifestyle into some of my commercial work, but more often than not, if the surf is on I'd rather be surfing than taking pictures of surfing.

What is "light painting"? Please explain what the term means.

"Light Painting" is a broad term. Photography in its most basic sense is light painting. It's more commonly refers to using any light source to add accent lighting to your photograph. I've light painted with flashlights, strobe lights, LED lights and the head lights from my car.

I've seen a lot of Jacksonville photos but I can always pick out your work. What is the main thing you are trying to convey with your images/style?

I'm always trying to capture images that you really just can't help but stop and look at. The colors involved, the composition, the subject matter, and the time of day are all huge factors that I've worked hard at to develop a real sense of my own style. Using all of those elements I try to create an other worldly look to my images. I think that's one of the ideas that originally drew me to night photography.

Where do you see your art business in the next 5 years?

In the next 5 years I am aiming to be represented by a handful of respected galleries across the country.

What artist influenced your development as an artist and/or as a businessman?

I can't point to any one artist that has completely influenced me. I have been influenced by such a wide array of artists that have all affected me in their own way which has helped shape who I am right now as an artist.

I'll name a few people that come to mind though. Henri Cartier-Bresson (photographer), for his incredible sense of composition and timing as well as his quirky sense of humor and wit. David LaChapelle (photographer), for his beautiful photographs that have an unmistakable sense of color and composition. Hiroshige, the Japanese woodblock printer, for his compositions. I'm also greatly influenced by music. Patrick O'Hearn has always been among some of my favorite listening material for a creative mindset.

What artist influences you now?

I've gotten a lot of technical inspiration from Stephen Johnson, a landscape photographer. I also have been particularly inspired by a photography book called "Blunt" by Nigel Parry. Its a great book of B&W portraits. Of course, being a surfer, I'm always influenced by the ocean, one of the original works of art by the original Artist.

So far among your work, what is your favorite photograph? And why?

That's tough. I don't have one particular favorite. One of my recent favorites is "Beer Can Island." It is the first in a series that I am currently working on of a beautiful place I've wanted to photograph for years.

What's your next fine art project or show?

I'll be exhibiting at the Cultural Center of Ponte Vedra Beach for their Member's Show which opens Friday, January 18th, 2008. I'm also in the midst of setting up a shows with a couple of galleries for the not-so-distant future. I encourage anyone that wants to keep up with my art shows to e-mail me and I'll put them on my mailing list.

More of his work can be seen at

Feel free to leave a comment about this post by clicking on the "Comments" link below. All thoughtful comments are greatly appreciated.

Add to Technorati Favorites


Popular Posts