'Styles' to the Nth Degree
As downtown Boone welcomes its May Art Crawl with open doors and hors d'oeuvres aplenty, the Nth Degree Gallery welcomes a special visitor to its guest list: Eric Franklin.
"An Eric Franklin Production: Styles" is the exhibition, but Eric Franklin's no ordinary person.
He's two people - artist and Nth member Jonathan Ryan and longtime friend Ryan Batten - and they've joined forces for a lesson in style.
Combining their unique styles (and their middle names, Eric and Franklin), Ryan and Batten have created a style all their own.
"I think (viewers) will be kind of taken aback at first," Ryan said, "just blown back a little bit."
Ryan's gestural brushstrokes and Batten's descriptive symmetry create a cumulative vision that's genuinely eye-catching, but gradual in its approach.
The work is divided into seven different styles, each a collection of several definitive pieces:
Clawstyle, Tigerstyle, Thunderstyle, Flipstyle, Ghoststyle, Cranestyle and Murderstyle.
Each style represents a different way they brought their collaboration to life, Ryan said, combining Batten's urban map-inspired grids and Ryan's organic, graffiti-esque color forms.
"We were basically playing around with our process and how we were working, how we do one painting, finish it, and start the next one," Ryan said. "But start it differently, combining the way he works and I work in a different way."
In Thunderstyle, for instance, Ryan has painted an abstract landscape, at least toward the bottom, as Batten's grid work rains down.
"It definitely changed and got a bit better as it went along," Ryan said. "We had a lot more ideas that just kept coming to us as we were working."
Like painting in sets. Instead of painting a collection of altogether different paintings, they decided to make several unique to each style, where even their placement on the wall is indicative of that style.
"We're treating each set as if it's its own painting, when really there's 28 pieces in the show," Ryan said.
And they have Eric Franklin to thank for it.
"An Eric Franklin Production: Styles" opens Friday, May 6, at The Nth Degree Gallery (683 W. King St.), starting at 7 p.m.