I see each of my paintings as a dense collection of layered missteps guided by a single underlying intention. In most of my work, I’m attempting a semi-realistic interpretation of an imagined environment, employing realism and abstraction in a way that gives the impression of a scene on the verge of collapse. The photographic source material I use serves as both a jumping off point and something to fight against. I’m constantly making sure to glean from the source only that which resonates with me and dispose of the rest so as to avoid slavish depiction. The ideal result is a faint echo or a total reconstruction of what is observed, anchored by recurring themes of nostalgia, my own existential anxieties and the corruption of human memory. I view the painting process as a form of self-examination – the end product’s value lying in the thoughts, emotions and memories I’ve projected onto the objective source.

My sources include both photographs I’ve taken and found imagery, used individually or combined into collages using Photoshop that I then reinterpret through paint. I’ve also built small-scale models for some interiors – something I’ve had a lifelong fascination with and that lends a scene more realism than a digital collage may allow for. I currently paint mostly with oil and occasionally oil pencil – applying the paint with all kinds of brushes and a variety of squeegees for blending and mark making. I also use masking tape to pull up paint and cut Scotch tape for edge definition and masking.

Mike Ryczek graduated from Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts, in 2006 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration. He lives and works as a full-time painter and designer in Boston, Massachusetts. Ryczek’s work was selected for a juried exhibition at the Danforth Art Museum in 2015, and it has been featured in Art Maze Mag and by the Jealous Curator. BOOOOOOOM has twice given Ryczek’s work its Editor’s Pick award. He is currently represented by 13Forest Gallery in Arlington, MA.