Finding Kyle and My influences

I have discovered another contemporary artist that I am just in love with. I am slightly embarrassed to say that it was while I was watching decorating shows on hulu at midnight. The show “Good Bones” reminds me so much of my mother and I as a team. Now, my mother and I did theatrical productions, not renovate houses, but it’s the same kind of energy.

Anyway, Kyle Ragsdale made an appearance when the mother-daughter duo were looking for some original art and came to visit his studio, and uh- I reversed the video THREE TIMES trying to catch not only his full name, but all the art in his studio. I wanted to see IT ALL.

But all they said was “Kyle” and I was like, do I just plug into Google “Kyle + Beautiful Art + Indianapolis”? But apparently, yeah, that was all I had to do, because I found him.

Folks. I am loving his work. But I also really enjoyed this moment on his website, where he listed his influences. This long list, with no explanation. And, sure, he listed artists like Gustav Klimt, Gary Hume, and Fiona Raye- but then he also added, golf, Scrabble, The Royal Tennenbaums, and Bjork. I LOVE that. Especially as an autistic person, who often relates and communicates to the rest of the world through references from movies and popular culture. (Think Abed from Community.)

So, I wanted to introduce you to Kyle, yes, but I also wanted to make a similar influences list, with no explanation either. Influences to my art, my writing, my life in general. So take it as you will… again, no particular order, other than my ADHD inattentive brain.

My Influences

  • Harry Potter
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Texture
  • John Singer Sargent
  • Tricia French
  • Lizzo
  • Zooey Deschanel
  • 1960’s pop art and fashion
  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Paul McCartney
  • Georgia O’Keefe
  • Edward Hopper
  • Gustav Klimt
  • Pattern
  • Hannah Gadsby
  • Radiolab
  • Ira Glass
  • Justice/Responsibility
  • David Bowie
  • Penelope
  • Lady Gaga
  • Neurodiversity
  • Westerns
  • Star Trek
  • Puns
  • Compassion
  • Zombie/apocalyptic novels
  • Disney films
  • Carl Jung
  • Ironic covers of popular songs
  • Mary Blair
  • Margaret Atwood
  • My family
  • Ted Kooser
  • Mary Oliver
  • William Carlos Willams
  • Dolly Parton
  • Christopher Moore
  • Marvel Comics
  • Adam Driver
  • Sandy Powell
  • Emily McDowell
  • Dylan Thomas
  • Nolan Brothers
  • Franz Marc
  • Andrew Wyeth
  • Wassily Kandinsky
  • Jess Franks
  • Michael Carson
  • Anna Bond
  • Typography
  • Hurst Castle
  • Queer Eye
  • Inclusivity
  • Laughter
  • Warmth

And maybe… you? The people that I want to help. Always. You probably influence me the most.

Bad Pancake Painting

I’ve discovered a bit of hurdle in my want to start a new painting, post-diagnosis. I’ve put some undue pressure on being my most authentic self, considering how much I masked even in my art before the diagnosis.

Also, though, it’s because this painting is gonna be a “bad pancake.” The first pancake in a batch is always just a bit wonky, you know? So the first painting in this new style is gonna be the worst painting most likely- so I don’t want to waste a good idea on it. Know what I mean?

Here are the things I want to paint. By the end of this post, I am gonna choose my least favorite (they’re all good ideas) and just take a whack at it.

-neurodiverse abstract brain illustration- like a cutting for a slide, but…you know, pretty

-normalizing sensory accommodations self portrait- headphones and tinted glasses

-Tribute to Hannah Gadsby

-Tribute to Kenneth French

-A mish-mash of science fiction references that will drive nerds absolutely crazy.

(I stole this idea from one of my favorite illustrative artists, Joey Cho. I have the “Spock riding a raptor with Loki’s scepter on Dagobah” in my son’s bedroom. And I also have a print of the “The Three Little Pigs”. They remind me so much of Mary Blair, that I thought Joey was a chick for the longest time. I am not exaggerating when I say to you that I WANT ALL OF HIS WORK. ALL OF IT. I just want to swim in it.)

-Tribute to my grandmother

-Tribute to both my mother and father (Maybe a portrait?)

-portrait of my son or still life of some of his toys. (Normalizing sorting and lining up instead of ONLY functional play as well.)

-kaleidoscope/mandala of patterns and color- pretty but not necessarily personal

– floral still life with a more futurist geometric tilt like Jess Franks or Franz Marc

-pure abstract with cruciform composition or L-shaped composition

-a literal pancake

You know, I am still not sure… The literal pancake seems a little too tongue and cheek, even for me. Plus, I know it shouldn’t matter, but as a gluten free person I don’t want to torture myself with reference images of pancakes. Just thinking about it is making me hungry for maple syrup.

It will probably be a mandala or something pure abstract…

Either way, it’s time to get started. I will photograph the results to show you here, bad pancake or not.


The image is from some sketches I have been doing before I jump onto the canvas. This one is a self portrait with headphones. As I told Instagram, I don’t know why I keep doing self portraits. It’s not my thing, and not my most natural talent, probably why I keep trying to prove that I can do it.