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Ryan Helstern is a multimedia artist working under the moniker of Smolik living in Toronto, Canada. His work fuses iconography, popular culture and art history into a unique artistic vision of self identity. Within Smolik’s world, recurring symbols and figures - skulls, roses, women, greyhounds and religious icons - combine to depict the rich tapestry woven into a persons identity. His sometimes frenzied paint strokes play carefully behind the layering of references and juxtaposed elements used to build each portrait.


A studied viewer can witness Smolik paying respects to Twombly, Caravaggio, Basquiat and Joyce Pensato within his work while also catching references to MF DOOM, New York and 90’s skateboarding. His work has been exhibited in solo and group shows in Toronto, New York and Atlanta.

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