Stepping into the surreal aspects of the human condition with Bryce Wymer
With a background in punk zines, psychology, and painting, artist Bryce Wymer talks us through the ways in which his offbeat visions come to life.
- Joey Levenson
- 2 June 2021
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
Step into the surreal world of Florida-born and Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist Bryce Wymer and you may find yourself surrounded by “figurative, anxiety-tinged narratives,” Bryce tells Its Nice That. Within Bryce’s impressively textured, meticulous, and colourful works are “bizarre, sometimes mundane humanist moments,” that Bryce somehow puts into cohesion with the fantastical elements of his varying mediums. “I spent most of my youth in the underground DIY punk scene creating zines, posters, and album art,” he says on what sparked his illustration and painting career. For Bryce, the edgy aspects of the underground punk zine scene were “transformative,” and it’s where he started to understand how “a single visual artwork could have many layers of resonance,” of which still rings true in his works today. But, the aesthetics and social messages aside, it was also the resourcefulness of the underground scene which influenced Bryce. “The financial restrictions from that scene have installed a limited palette approach to most of my works,” he explains. “It taught me to trim the fat... and get to what truly matters.”
The Social Realism movement also plays a large factor in Bryce’s ongoing source of inspiration. For Bryce, what took his attention was the way the movement “brought social progression to the forefront and kind of receded [artists] into the distance”. Across Bryce’s illustrations and paintings, we see how these particular elements map out in his own interpretation. Complex social issues are distilled down into singular nonsensical moments which display a stunning uncanny visual whilst holding a weight of subtext to them. In Prima Facie, Bryce says he was looking to depict the “multiple layers of self that we create to get us through our daily lives”. There are an array of overlapping elements and cross-sections in the piece which represent “the many layers of the human condition and the beautiful vulnerable aspects that lie beneath the surface,” he describes. Then, on the flip side, Bryce is quick to point out Beige Lanes, which was a “direct result of living through the pandemic”. The illusionary effect of the piece evokes a “sun drenched and idyllic” world, yet Bryce tells us this was to “draw a parallel between the implied safety of indoor life and the freedom and longing for being outdoors”.
As for the process, Bryce mainly attributes this to a process of sketchbooks. He says he fills “about three full books a year” and will typically sift through “these sketches for stories that I think need further inspection”. It’s hard to imagine that these expansive and large engrossing pieces once started out as simple sketches across the year, but Bryce finds it particularly interesting how they transmute from sketch to final piece. “There’s an intersection where sometimes the energy of an original sketch loses momentum once it is painted on a larger scale,” he explains. “Finding a balance between where a piece begins/ends is always a welcomed challenge.”
Ultimately, what’s key for Bryce is to keep experimenting with various techniques and media. While he keeps the “overall volumetric figurative style” to his works which give them that signature depth, weight, and gravity, Bryce has lately been working in two very distinct ways. For the graphic work, it’s been handled “almost like reductive sculpting,” he explains. “Broad sweeps of colour are laid down and then the figure or objects are carved out of the mass with line.” Then, with his rendered works, Bryce has found a more “additive approach,” which he describes “as if I'm wrapping the form with thin ropes”. Either way, Bryce has proven himself an exciting and unique artist that doesn’t intend to stop growing.
Bryce Wymer: AirBnB Solo Travel (Copyright © Bryce Wymer / AirBnb, 2019)