Who Painted That?

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henry’s mural on the Sloop Tavern at NW 54th & Market Street, Ballard (Photo: Alethea Myers)

If you live in or frequent Ballard often, you may have seen exterior walls filled with brightly-colored, whimsical creatures and wondered, “Who painted that?” In many cases, the answer is the prolific muralist/ artist Ryan Henry Ward, who signs his work simply “henry”. His outdoor canvases adorn buildings in Ballard, Fremont, West Seattle, Crown Hill, and beyond.

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Raccoon with banjo on Value Village’s store, 8532 15th Ave NW in Crown Hill (Photo: Alethea Myers)   His pink walruses on Axis Automotive building, Ballard (now demolished). (Walruses photo courtesy of seattlemurals.org)

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West Seattle home’s sea life at 3425 39th Ave SW. (Image courtesy of seattlecurbed.com)

Although henry has been artistic all his life, he painted his first mural only 8 years ago when a bar owner who admired his work asked him to cover up graffiti on the side of his building. A Ballard News-Tribune article drew more attention to his work. After a career as a social worker, the Puget Sound Business Journal mentioned henry ran a successful landscaping business with his brother. He had to stop, due to a spinal injury.

At last count, Ryan Henry Ward has painted around 200 murals since 2008 on different business buildings & homes: automotive, thrift store, children’s nursery, taverns, among others, and now works on commission. One of his mythical creatures, a sasquatch, is sandwiched on a fence between the Sip ‘n Ship store and Golden Beetle Restaurant, a ½ block east of 20th Ave. NW on Market Street in Ballard. His work has had a positive influence on the Sip ‘N Ship, according to Matt Beavers, the shipping manager for the past year. “We have people from all over who notice the mural first and it touches them in a way, from the heart”, he said. “Because once they see it, they’re drawn into the store.”

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Sasquatch (and bird pal) between Sip ‘n Ship and Golden Beetle on Market St., Ballard (Photo: Alethea Myers)