Chameleon Contemporary Colour Artist Spotlight #5: Ryan Boultbee

Inspired directly by his architecture background, Ryan Boultbee’s journey into the art world has been swift. Refusing to be tied-down to one particular medium, Ryan experiments with various material and techniques. We spoke about his art career thus far, the works he has showing in the Chameleon Open, and how colour has played a big part in his work.

Nobbly,  Ryan Boultbee

Nobbly, Ryan Boultbee

Who are you, what is your primary medium, and what is your background as an artist?

I am Midlands based artist living in Nottingham. I don't really see myself as a traditional artist as I have no preferred medium. I try not to tie myself down to one. Instead, I experiment with different materials and techniques on a project-by-project basis. I feel following this free-approach allows me to be more creative in my work.

How have your life experiences influenced your artistic career?

I am very much at the beginning of my artistic career; I only started 8 months or so ago. Since then it's been abit of a blur. My prior studies were geared towards architecture and instilled an appreciation for light and form in my works. Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to attend my first international residencies in Italy, Germany, and China leading to key developments in my practice. Currently, I'm on a MFA at Nottingham Trent University working out where to direct my practice next.

Tell us a little bit about the work you've submitted to the Chameleon Contemporary Colour Open. What does your work aim to say? What inspired you to create your pieces of work?

My series of abstract prints and colour studies are inspired by iconic summer treats. They play with simple colour and shape relationships evoking emotive responses or even triggering nostalgic memories by drawing on consumer culture and advertising.

As pieces of art, they don't really say anything. Rather, they trigger thoughts or start conversations relating to the viewers experience. They prod the past and future reminding you of hot summers and sticky fingers.

As this exhibition kicks off against a backdrop of wind and rain the pieces serve as a reminder of those hot hot hot summer days. The stark contrast in weather seems to emphases the effect even more; you can literally taste those the colours. Artwork to make you salivate.

I was inspired to create work that would recreate the feeling of summer, even if it was  just for a second.

For me the pieces evoke the memories of the Great British summer, ice cream vans, grass on bare skin, sunburn, warm faces, pocket money, brain freeze, and indecision.

The Tastes like Summer collection was initially shown at the Open29 in Leicester during winter 2018/19. Since then, I have exhibited them across the midlands and continued to expanded the increasingly popular print collection.

“Tastes Like Summer” exhibition

“Tastes Like Summer” exhibition

What is your favourite part of the process? 

Playing with abstraction. Working out which are the key elements that have to be preserved to render the intended scene. Take away too little and you loose the image, provide too much and you loose the effect.

What, or who, has been the biggest influence in your practice?

Good question. Gosh. I've always been a big fan of Archigram, their conceptual works have always provided me with inspiration. I loved the work of Carlos Cruz Diez in relation to how we perceive colour, and in the same vein I recount reading Josef Albers Interaction of Colour whenever I revisit the work.

Describe yourself in 5 words. 

I thought with the theme colours would provide the best description:






You can see Ryan’s works “Sprinkles”, “Nobbly”, and “Tastes Like Summer” at the Chameleon Open. The exhibition runs from the 5th October to the 19th October. Opening night is the 4th October 6pm-9pm at Surface Gallery. Free entry for all.

Follow Ryan on Instagram @rlboultbee. Website: