Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The Wonderful work of Rob Ryan

I have been a fan of Rob Ryan's beautiful and intricate papercut designs for many years now and have been lucky enough to visit his shop 'Ryantown' in Shoreditch, London. For my 30th Artist Feature I wanted to interview someone who is especially inspiring to me and who is also the first male creative to be interviewed for the Petal to Petal Artist Features.

To describe Rob's successful career to date, his familiar designs can be found on ceramics, textiles, homewares, jewellery and paper goods. He has also written and illustrated three books and has collaborated with brands such as Liberty of London, Tatty Devine and Vogue. Rob is an incredibly inspirational artist and his stylized and detailed papercuts are instantly recognizable and have influenced an entire generation of papercut artists. But there is and will always be only one Rob Ryan...

1. How did your business come about (and when did you start)?

Straight after college I immediately found a cheap studio I could afford and shared with someone I studied with. This made me feel like I was an artist. Not working from home on the kitchen table. I got up and went to the studio for 9 o'clock every morning, I established a work routine. In the evening and at weekends I worked in a cinema to pay my living costs.

2. Can you give a quick insight into your working method? (ideas, techniques, etc.)

Technically all my work starts with drawing, mainly in lots of little notebooks scribbled into on the middle of the night, then it slowly gets transformed into papercuts, prints or ceramics in the studio. 

3. What has been the hardest single obstacle to your life in design (apart from a shortage of time, which seems to be universal amongst creatives!)?

Like anybody else, I get distracted - I play music and I go on the internet. Time management isn't something I'm particularly great at but I mustn't be that bad at it because I do lots of projects. The main focus for me is a deadline, if it has to be done by a certain time then I'll try and do it. The hard part is trying to juggle all of my self-initiated projects around those things, like designing new products for my shop. 

4. How do you stay motivated? What inspires you?

I find inspiration by looking and thinking everywhere I go all of the time. I carry a notebook on me and if something comes to me or I see something that triggers an idea then I make a note of it because if I didn't then I would forget it immediately. 


5. What has been the icing on the cake for you as an artist/designer?
The year when I finally made a living out of just purely doing my own work.

6. Who do you admire (other artists/designers; other people generally) and what/who are your biggest influences, past or present?

The photographer Tim Walker. The American artist/illustrator Maira Kalman.

7. Describe your creative space

I have a studio and a shop in the East End of London where I do my work, I have a screen printing studio and a kiln for ceramic work.

8. What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Don't eat yellow snow.

You can keep up to date with Rob's work here...

(all above images are © Rob Ryan