Warrnambool's Karenlyn Ryan completes giant jigsaw featuring Keith Haring artwork


COMPLETED: Warrnambool's Karenlyn Ryan has been working on her 32,000 piece Keith Haring puzzle since 2011. Picture: Rob Gunstone

COMPLETED: Warrnambool's Karenlyn Ryan has been working on her 32,000 piece Keith Haring puzzle since 2011. Picture: Rob Gunstone

It's been eight years since Warrnambool's Karenlyn Ryan embarked on a journey to bring a Keith Haring artwork to life through a 32,256-piece jigsaw.

The puzzle includes 32 individual brightly-coloured images of artwork by the late American artist whose pop art and graffiti-like work grew out of the New York City street culture of the 1980s.

With eight bags containing about 4000 pieces each, the jigsaw weighed 15 kilograms and cost $450.

Ms Ryan said she worked on the jigsaw intermittently, with her partner Matt and her three kids Harry, Wil and Maggie pitching in here and there.

Then, after more than 3000 days, Matt and his children Chantelle and Emerson mounted the finished piece onto a wall of Ms Ryan's home - an old renovated hall that oozes charm and character.

"I started doing 1000-piece sections and then stored parts of the puzzle away when I wasn't working on it," Ms Ryan said.

"Fortunately, not one piece went missing.

Karenlyn and her family get the jigsaw ready to be mounted on the wall.

"The biggest challenge was sorting the colours out. There were probably 1000 pieces that were just yellow or black. I spent a lot of time just looking at the pieces."

Ms Ryan said she was sick of buying 1000-piece puzzles and finishing them too quickly.

"I thought to myself 'these are getting boring and I want something more challenging' so I started looking at the bigger ones but I knew I had to really love the design," she said.

"When I saw the Keith Haring one, I knew it was perfect. Like most great artists, he died too young and I've always loved his work so thought it would be amazing to have it on my wall."

Karenlyn Ryan. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Karenlyn Ryan. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Ms Ryan works at Warrnambool retail store Ishka, is studying a certificate in disability services at South West TAFE, and is involved in the All Abilities Choir, ZOO choir, and Nestles Rowing Club in Dennington.

She said when she started the puzzle, she also had young kids, so was often time poor.

"Sometimes I would do a little bit and then sometimes I would do a lot," she said.

"There was a little bit of swearing involved and there were times when I thought about just giving up but I've always been pretty determined to finish what I've started.

"It also got me through some tough times. I'm an over-thinker so it was great for my mental health to just be able to shut off."

Karenlyn Ryan chats about the 32,000-piece Keith Haring jigsaw.

The 'Keith Haring: Double Retrospect' puzzle by toy company Ravensburger was released in 2010 and was, at the time, the largest commercially-available puzzle in the world.

Ms Ryan joins Warrnambool's Ben Philpot in creating artwork through large-scale jigsaw puzzles.

In 2017, Mr Philpot completed a 33,600-piece puzzle with the help of his dad John Philpot. Before that, his last big puzzle included 24,000 pieces.