Saturday, January 4, 2014

In Memoriam: Ryan Distelrath

5in x 7in / Inks on Bristol / 2013-2014
After ending my work week today, I finally delivered a belated Christmas present to Ed and Pat (the parents of my late friend Ryan.)  I've known them for well over a decade now since I first met their son.  In turn when I moved to Clarksville, Ryan introduced me to damn near every local friend I have now outside of a few artists.

I've wanted to draw a portrait of Ryan since he first passed away little over two years ago but I probably wasn't ready.  I wanted the picture to be fun and capture his spirit- I wanted it to be something he would like.  Ryan turned me onto comics, music, cult movies and all sorts of pop culture consumption which kept us up many a night through hazes of smoke, drink and unforgettable laughter.  You can spot references to Mystery Science Theater 3000, Yellow Submarine and Donovan's Mellow Yellow Album in the illustration.  I felt my buddy laughing while I was sketching psilocybin mushrooms in a portrait for his parents where Alfred E Neuman's brains were exploding out of a mug of beer!  I could see him grinning ear-to-ear when I gave it to them.  Good thing they had a son like Ryan who was very open about his idea of a good time and never held back from anyone.  He was fearless and I cherish the memories I have of him standing on top of the world with me.

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