"Ryan Cronin is a weirdo. Through and through. The real deal.
I moved to the Hudson Valley in 2003 because my wife and I had fallen in love with the bucolic tranquility of the region. It seemed like a great place to raise kids. But I worried that I wouldn't be able to find any quality weirdos.
I wound up shortly thereafter invited by a mutual friend to a party at the Cronin compound and couldn't believe my luck. Here was the best kind of weirdo, a SUPREMELY TALENTED weirdo.
Ryan Cronin doesn't paint for money or glory or acclaim. He paints because HE HAS TO. And his work has earned him money and glory and acclaim, but if it hadn't he would still be out there in his ramshackle studio slathering layers of Rustoleum onto 4'x4' wooden squares.
His work is deceptively simple, incorporating bold images and occasional provocative snippets of text. The Cronin that hangs in my living room is a window into an alternate universe, simultaneously familiar and surreal. A dreamlike quality permeates his style, offering fragmented, funky glimpses into our collective unconscious. I'm a huge fan.
This world of ours always needs more weirdos, but for now, thank god we have Ryan Cronin."
-Rhett Miller, Singer/Songwriter & Frontman for the Old 97s
“At a time when the world continues to be increasingly complex, Ryan’s work for me represents a more simple, raw and refreshingly honest application. It’s interesting how people often want to make sense out of a piece of art or a particular painting – they seem uncomfortable unless they understand it and make terms with what it represents for them – this is not how I choose to interpret Ryan’s work. I appreciate his unapologetic in-your-face style – it reminds me to take more time enjoying my own creative process and in turn rely less on others interpretations of the outcome.”
Eric Gullickson, Vice President and General Manager
You may have noticed ‘Expect A Bike Ahead’ lawn signs have been popping up all over New Paltz and the surrounding area. In fact, there are more than 100 of these signs but not because CronartUSA put them out there.
It all started with Art.
In September of 2016, Gaby O’Shea was struck by a vehicle and suffered life-threatening injuries. The New Paltz community quickly gathered around Gaby and her family and organized a fundraiser to aid in her recovery and to spark dialogue between motorist and cyclist regarding bike safety. Ryan Cronin offered to create a piece of art and sell it with a portion of the sale going directly to Gaby and her family. ‘Expect A Bike Ahead’ was born and was sold before the paint was dry to one of Cronin’s collectors.
Art for the world we live in.
Fast forward several months and Cronin was approached by the Bike Ped Committee and Gaby’s father, Stephen O’Shea asking to use the image for a project they had in mind.
Ryan Cronin agreed. He’s is a firm believer that art should be in and of the world we live in. It should be a part of our everyday experience, offering us new ways to view the world, and ultimately inspiring dialogue. Turning his piece ‘Expect A Bike’ into a real sign, felt like a really good opportunity to demonstrate this.
The conversation is growing.
Two years after creating the artwork, it has been turned in to lawn signs that people are seeing all around town, thanks to the support of O’Connor & Partners, PLLC. There are conversations all over social media and in the community; “What is this sign?”, “Where did it come from?”, “Where can I get one for my lawn/driveway?”. Some are appalled by it, others embrace it. Cronin is less concerned about people’s responses and is focused on how the image has created a whirlwind of good, bad, and ugly dialogue. In his mind, the piece has accomplished exactly what he intended it to do; get people to pay attention and talk.
The power of the ‘Expect A Bike’ painting lies in the act of collaboration with the community and the social by-product more than in the physical work itself— in essence, the social interaction is the art and the impact of the project goes beyond the original piece. We didn’t set out to create a sign but all of Ryan’s work is intended to strike a dialogue and conversation. We are very happy with the power of this piece to do just that.
Frances Marion Platt recently wrote the following article in HV1 showcasing the mural Cronin did to raise funds and awareness for 12 Months of Giving.
With his cartoonish, deceptively crude Outsider/Pop aesthetic and ubiquitous presence on our streets and in our shops and restaurants, Ryan Cronin might fairly be called New Paltz’s answer to the late great Keith Haring. If our town had subway stations for him to work in, his stuff would be there, for sure.
Equal parts appealing and baffling, his brightly colored, instantly recognizable Rust-Oleum paintings must be selling well, because the artist has added a philanthropic arm to his Water Street Market headquarters, Cronin Contemporary. The new initiative is called 12 Months of Giving, and the gallery has announced its intent to designate two local not-for-profits each year to be recipients of the artist’s charitable giving. In this inaugural year, the lucky designees are Go Doc Go, a Hudson Valley-based women’s health care initiative that establishes and maintains cervical cancer screening programs around the globe, so far including Ethiopia, Senegal and Haiti; and the TMI Project, which offers transformative memoir workshops and interactive performances that use storytelling as an agent of personal and social change.
To launch the campaign with appropriate hoopla, Cronin chose May 17 — the date of the Hudson Valley Gives 24-hour online fundraising marathon — to livestream the actual painting of his latest plein air opus: a vibrant mural of geese in flight, rendered on the west-facing exterior wall of Schatzi’s Pub at 36 Main Street in New Paltz. The event is over now, but the original Ryan Cronin artwork will remain up there for all to see, so long as the elements permit. Check it out next time you’re downtown. To find out more, or to add your donation to Go Doc Go or the TMI Project, visit www.cronincontemporary.com, www.godocgo.org or www.tmiproject.org.