February Artist of the Month Ryan Lytle


Artist Statement

"Whether it is pets, in nature, films and cartoons, or mythology, I have always been drawn to animals. As a kid I had an extensive stuffed animal collection. These fascinations of animal archetypes, images and myths have resurfaced as visual vocabulary in my work. My sculptures are primarily created through the process of needle felting. There is a comfort that is embedded in the nostalgic material. Needle felting is done by compressing raw wool with a barbed needle into a form: Every area is stabbed hundreds of times with a single needle until the desired density is formed.  This medium allows me to sculpt works within a surreal space that is both disarming and inviting.  My figures are animal based, however the pieces are about people. The animals are anthropomorphized to reflect the way we as humans interact with each other and ourselves as we navigate the world." Ryan Lytle


Artist Bio

Ryan Lytle (1987) is a sculptor born and Raised in the Hampton Roads, Virginia area. He earned a B.A. in Studio Art from Christopher Newport University and his MFA candidate from the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art. He currently is interested in the process of needle-felting and how the medium can provide a nostalgic comfort reminiscent of his extensive childhood stuffed animal collection.



My sculptures begin with a wire armature. I work from reference photos and anatomical drawings to build the support frame; this is the longest part of the process because if there is a mistake in the underlying structure it is very difficult to correct it later on. I then stuff the armature with poly-fil, or in the cases of larger pieces I attach chicken wire to the frame and wrap the outside with quilt batting, then wrap the whole thing up with yarn to contain it. From there I needle felt the surface. Typically, I will use raw, undyed wool as a base layer and to build up areas. Then, I add the color and surface details, and finish with a watered-down fabric stiffener to seal it if needed.

To See Ryan's collections CLICK HERE