For me, the journey may have just recently begun, but yet I feel honored to have been able to contribute, with my artwork, towards the conservation movement. Throughout my youth, I was inspired by my ocean conservation heroes, and the passion they expressed; to protect and save what precious life which lies beneath the waves; individuals such as Sylvia Earle, Wyland, and Guy Harvey, to name a few. However, I soon came to realize, living several hundred miles from the nearest ocean in the heart of the landlocked midwest, the sea was more of a fantasy, than a reality, to most. The ocean was often merely thought of as a vacation destination, rather than a valuable resource. But, I wanted to show my home town, and every landlocked area, that the consequences of their actions do indeed spread beyond the borders of their region; that every state, in one way or another, is a coastal state. We all rely on the oceans, no matter where we call home.
The focus of my word has always been the natural world; more specifically the underwater world and the stars above. Although the two subjects appear quite different at first glance, take another look, they may be more alike than once thought. Both the oceans and celestial world have been called ‘the last of the frontiers’. We’ve look up to the stars since the beginning of man, and looked out to the ocean with curiosity not too shortly after; but it’s strange to think how little we know about these realms which shaped the world as we know it today. To most, they’re out of reach, and often, their mere existence is known to us solely through the pages of a book or within our imaginations. This inaccessibility sparks curiosity and wonder. And so, I wanted to take expand on this curiosity, as it has struck me as well, and combine the two subjects into one; offering a glimpse into worlds we have only just begun to discover.
To this day, the greatest influence and source of inspiration to my work remains the beautiful underwater world. They say “there is another world, but it’s in this one”; and they’re right. As a SCUBA diver, when you take that first stride off the boat platform into the waves and sink below the familiar surface, immediately you feel the overwhelming sensation that you’ve left the world which we call home and have entered into somewhere new and mysterious, yet alluring. To me, that’s one of the greatest treasures the ocean holds. It’s almost as if we become a child again, entering the world for the first time. Everywhere we look yields discovery, gives rise to beauty, and inflicts us with sense of wonder. From admiring the intricate beauty and dazzling colors of a reef community, to the indescribable sense of reverence and awe which builds within while in the presence of a fourteen foot tiger shark, there’s nothing on earth quite like it. I wanted to bring this beauty back from my undersea experiences, showing the world the absolute awe of this foreign world.
“… the sea, once it casts its spell, holds one it its net of wonders forever.”
Ryan Sobel Bio
Born and raised in Garfield Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, I have always had a great interest in nature and the arts. My love for art began with simple pencil sketches. As a child, frequent trips to the local zoo and parks near our home became routine; with pencil and sketchbook in hand, I would arrive back home with a plethora of doodles and drawings of the various wildlife I had encountered each day. To be honest, I had actually disliked painting as a child. I saw it as sloppy, and for a while, I stuck to my pen and pencils. Until one day, something compelled me to give it a try. Soon, I had fallen in love with my paints and brushes, leaving behind my sketchpad for canvas; painting nature and wildlife, soon to be joined by another subject, inspired by my captivation with astronomy.
I have had many inspirations for my artwork, however none have been more influential than my travels. My family has always enjoyed traveling, seeing new, and awesome, places. Exploring the sandy white coasts of the Gulf of Mexico, the rocky shores of the Pacific, and everywhere in between. And from this, I believe, is where my love for the Ocean began.
Then, is my fascination with what lies above the endless expanse of the sea; the stars. Although these two subjects may seem very different to be combined, they are actually quite similar. Both the oceans and space are some of the last two frontiers which we know of. People may look up at the stars each night, or look out across the ocean each day, but it’s strange to think how little we know about these places. They’re out of reach to most people; and often, their mere existence is known to us solely through the pages of a book or within our imaginations. This inaccessibility sparks curiosity and wonder. And so, I wanted to take advantage of this curiosity, as it has struck me as well, and combine these two into one, offering a glimpse into worlds we have only just begun to discover.
Through my art, I want to show others the world as I see it; show them the beauty, and give them a desire to preserve it. For if I can lead someone to see beauty in mere dyes and brushstrokes on a canvas, then possibly they will see that this fascination is real. Just waiting to be discovered by each and every one of us.