In September 2010, an unknown artist dropped off one of his original creations at the Westword office. The abstract sculpture depicts an open hand covered in different colors, shapes, textures and other miscellaneous items, including green plastic army men at its base. The sculpture was accompanied by this note: "The alien force that holds the planets, the soldiers of constant wars that bleed to the evicted from the cities and farms."
A phone number at the bottom of that note led to the artist, Ryan Metzler, who recently dropped by again to show us a new piece and talk about his work.
Metzler does not do art full-time; he's a groundskeeper at an apartment complex. "I've been doing it for about 25 years now, and I would love to do something else," he says. "I think that my creative process is very important to me, be it art pieces or landscaping. My eccentric thoughts are shown through the work that I do."
And sometimes in how he displays that work: In 2010 he tied some of his sculptures to his car and drove around Cherry Creek to protest the Cherry Creek Arts Festival.
His art can also take form in unconventional ways. "When I get a basic idea, through admiration of a subject, I begin with the rough creation, which many times changes to a more elaborate final piece," he explains. "For example, I started with a simple production of a motorcycle, but then the 'rider' became the focal point, changing from wild life of one type to another!"
The time involved in creating the pieces varies widely. "Actually, the process can last as long as it takes to drink a cup of coffee (large mug!) to a few weeks," Metzler says. "When I get started, I cannot seem to stop until it is at least in its initial form. I do admit to returning to the basic form and fine-tuning it until it reflects my vision."
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Despite his humble approach, Metzler still has big dreams for his art. "My crowning accomplishment would be to walk into an indoor or outdoor museum and see even one of my pieces being displayed! Just realizing that Westword did not trash my piece that I left on the doorstep (as if it was a foundling child!), but rather chose to put it in the lobby was a reaffirming event," he says.
"While it is necessary to work in the real world to afford parts and pieces, the main challenge is to work through restrictions of arthritic fingers not wanting to do what I ask them to. Be that as it may, I cannot put the work aside until it is able to tell me to STOP!"
His "rider" work, for example, is far from done. "I am pleased to say that my efforts are resulting in folks asking for more! Specifically, I will be working on a piece that may be displayed at the Federal Justice Center," he says. "My crowning achievement would be to go back to the 'rider on a cycle' concept -- only it would be a deer heading out of harm's way right before hunting season starts!"
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For more information on his work, you can call Ryan Metzler at 720-229-5659 or go to his website, www.metzcreatz.com.