Ry An died when he was 23, claiming to have had an out of body experience in the process. He spent the next 11 years traveling throughout rural Japan, painting nearly 1,000 landscapes outdoors. There were earthquakes, landslides, flea-ridden rats… He caught on fire in an unheated apartment. He was hit by cars while cycling - the 4th occasion inducing a bout of temporary amnesia. Soon after agreeing to marry his former Japanese teacher, she became abusive. He painted outside as much as possible, but decided to leave Japan when she repeatedly threatened to/ attempted to kill him. Ry An returned to the United States in 2012, hoping to bring a more narrative element to his art by pursuing an MFA in Illustration. He struggled to complete this program, however, after a loved one was nearly murdered by her jealous ex. Several months after she then disappeared, Ry An learned to use junk-mail & other unwanted paper as a sculptural form, as these recycled paper sculptures failed to trigger the same psychological traumas as 2-dimensional art did. In time, Ry An began using these sculptures as models for a new series of paintings featuring vulnerable animal characters trying to escape from a dangerous dark forest.
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