Ryan Hewett was born in Natal in 1979. He is largely self-taught in painting, apart from taking art as a subject in High school. At school he did little painting, but worked mainly in pencil, producing very tight realistic studies, which he soon grew bored of. It was only a few years out of school when he came across works of certain artists that he was inspired to paint. He was blown away by the way they moved paint around the canvas. In a sculptural process, loose brush work that still pulls together. Painting is something that has followed Hewett. He never gave it too much thought, he remembers his best friend saying: “if all else fails at least we got our art to fall back on.” For a long period, he did not think about being an artist.
“I was so wrapped up in being young and having fun, partying was a big part of my youth, and almost my downfall. I really did not have much direction at all, but now and again I would isolate myself, and once again find myself sketching. There was a period where I lived in a caravan for a few months on a river outside Hermanus, by myself where I fished and sketched, before that I hadn’t picked up a pencil in years. Family and friends saw the work I had produced and were amazed I wasn’t taking it seriously. Shortly after that I began to paint, from there I realized that this is my gift and i was going to be an artist.”
In Hewett’s latest body of work entitled: “Awakening Series”, he explores the moment of an idea or a thought that leads us to a point of profound realisation or understanding. It is this rare ‘split second’ moment in our life that leads us to make big changes in our understanding of who we are and our relationship with the world around us. There is a wonderful expressionist style to Hewett’s work. He accentuates certain features he wants to highlight to the viewer. He uses a palette knife, applying paint very thickly onto the canvas, creating texture in his work, which appeals to all the senses, a signature trademark in his style. Ryan Hewett lives and works in the Natal midlands with his wife Shayleen and their young son Eli.