Preaload Image
Claudia Ryan
2023 Fellowship Award Recipient

Claudia Ryan is an artist and painter who lives in Bradenton and works out of her studio at Spaaces, Inc. in Sarasota, Fl.  She was born in Washington DC, and grew up in Virginia, New York and Florida.  In the beginning, Claudia was a self taught painter, but in the 1970s she studied independently with the artist Robert Newman at Keene State College in Keene, NH. Claudia remembers Professor Newman as a reticent man, born in the Midwest, a shy, but very successful, highly recognized artist in every way. She once remembers him saying offhandedly that he had traded a painting of his for his daughter’s dental work!  Something else he said that impressed her deeply was that he’d studied with the painter Max Beckmann. (This must have been after Beckmann had immigrated to the US in the forties and had taught in St. Louis and New York. Professor Newman didn’t say where he had studied with him).

Claudia was transfixed on Early Medieval western art and the art of ancient Sumer, but also on the paintings of the Expressionists, and especially the Surrealists, and those Modernist painters she thought affiliated with those movements, the painters she knew of at the time, like  Paul Klee, Chagall, de Chirico, Franz Marc, Nolde, Kathe Kollwitz, and Beckmann.

Newman had his own studio in town. He worked in a somewhat non- objective, all over style, which was something Claudia, who had only worked in a narrative manner sometimes using hermetic imagery of her own making, was totally unfamiliar with. Newman would describe his work as “painting of signs and symbols”. He was very supportive of Claudia’s work, letting her use a room in an old building on campus for a studio to work independently and giving her serious, rigorous critiques. Her work grew enormously as a result of these permissions.

Claudia moved to Los Angeles in 1980 to attend Otis Art institute of Parsons School of Design, later transferring to California Institute of the Arts in 1981. She received a Certificate of Fine Art from Cal Arts in 1984.

Claudia supported herself and her art practice working in nursing as a CNA, which she continued to do after returning to Florida in 1987.  While taking a printmaking class at Ringling School of Art and Design one summer in 1990 she discovered watercolor monotypes, eventually creating several different series of large scale prints. A solo exhibition of some of these monotypes was given her in 1992 at the APS Gallery in Sarasota.  Examples can be found in the Archive section of her website,               

Claudia received her BFA in painting and printmaking in 2002 from Ringling. She went on to graduate with an MFA in Fine Art from the University of South Florida in 2006.

Claudia has had residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, in 1995 and 1997. She attended the New York Studio Program in 2001, and Frogman Print and Paper Workshop at the University of South Dakota in 2002. She was an intern at USF Graphic studio in 2003.

Claudia’s work has been exhibited regionally and nationally, and is in several private and public collections, including the Tampa Museum of Art and The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg.