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Home BLOGS Mini Interviews Mini Interview: Ryan Christian

Mini Interview: Ryan Christian

Written by Trippe   
Wednesday, 09 July 2008 05:10
He's our Chicago correspondent. He's curating a show at our gallery. Let's see if the kid can draw.
We get a lot of great emails from a lot of talented people introducing us to their work. From time to time we'll be sharing their work here in our mini interviews segment... To be considered for a mini interview send a few jpegs to: mini(at)fecalface.com *Make sure the images are at least 600 pixels in width.

Age? Location? Website?

Still tender @ 25, I stay just a stones throw outside of Chicago, and this is my "website" for now, it might as well be analog because I don't think anyone looks at it anymore, http://www.studentfinearts.com/users/21, someone should make me a website.

Tell us a bit about your current work.

Muppets, funk bands, old photographs, things that have been faded by the sun, distortion, weed, the darkside, rappers, motion, old cartoons, outer space, pinecones, motion again, fistfights, danger, animals, being young and tight, frequencies, bloods and crips, dark chocolate, history, dueling, monsters, whiskey and big hands... and so forth, a standard range of influences from a white kid born in the US circa the early 80's.

Conceptually I am really over the place and I would like to hone in on that a bit more, but I am not to worried, I am having a lot of fun making stuff and finding things out here and there so I figure that will happen in time.... I'm pretty good now but by the time I am 30 or so I should be a stallion.

Walk us through the process of creating a new piece.

I am always kind of subconsciously keeping eye out for things; a photo, something someone says, an interaction between people, an object, a memory, group activities, music, or a good story. I'm not even sure of the criteria I use, but if I find something sticks in my mind like that, there is usually a drawing made afterward that tries to utilize whatever idea I have stumbled across, it's not always a winner either.

I mostly use Google for visual research; I like the idea of myself being restricted by the collective digital public's notion of a word or a phrase.

I never sketch and I make it a point to not envision my finished product until it is a finished product. I found that counterproductive. Sometimes my finished product IS a sketch, a lavish one though.

After that it is pretty straightforward, I get my paper cut and my pencil battalion sharpened up and try to work it out on my own. My studio is in my parent's garage, so I get interrupted a lot. I smoke too much while I draw and I watch these two birds chase a chipmunk a lot.

Tell us about the above piece... what medium is that?

That's my good old mechanical pencil. It's a sad little blood red thing, with some really crusty tape on it.

That one kind of happened out of nowhere. I was drawing them so delicately and kind of fading everything out, gently tickling my paper with the tip of the graphite. I also (accidentally) found a way to bring out that subtle inlaid grid matrix within the paper which I think has a really nice effect combined with the really light drawing technique. I am going to mess with that a lot more.

Who are they?

Shit, I don't even remember. Is that bad? Some funk band from the seventies. What's important is that they dressed super silly in white leather, and such, with gold chains and big boots and their chests all out there, and then they would go down to the beach and hang out, and they were super fucking cool about it.

That stuff is so far removed from my own actual experiences, in everyway possible; it makes it really potent to me visually. Like, these dudes telling jokes to each other in Miami back in '81, all rich and fancy free, is just another of the infinite realities that I will never experience. This is a somewhat of an idea behind some of my work as of late. I know a guy who seriously fantasizes all the time about being Indian Jones, like if he had to choose between being that or himself, he would gladly jump ship.

I found that image by googling "afro" and then again in an issue of Waxpoetics and then I felt the need to do something with it/to it... Why did I kind of wish I was those guys when I was 10?


WU TANG CLAN! Also a lot of ridiculous booty electro stuff, Lightning Bolt, Fleet Foxes, the Hood Internet, No Age, all things Ninjatune, early Apocalypse Hoboken, Ween, Clouddead, Smog, Neil Young, OCDJ, Chic, and it goes forever, I have a very healthy selection of music in the Itunes.

Day job?

Oh dear, I don't really have one of those right now. I pretty much draw, write emails, ride my bike, go swimming, cut the grass, and go to Cubs games as my day job. I spend a lot of time lying around in my studio and sighing. It's a hard life to lead. I'm broke as fuck.

I work for Western Exhibitions a few times a month and sometimes I help other artists do annoying projects that they don't want to do themselves. I need a real job; I so do not want to pay quarterly taxes. Plus! I am going back to school next fall and my lady friend and I are opening up a gallery space in Chicago between now and then.

You contribute a lot to Fecal Face... Who are some artists you'd love to interview?

Sterling Ruby, Tony Tasset, Maurizio Catalan, George Condo, Paul Noble (8 years on one drawing?? sheesh) Peter Doig, the guy who invented fireworks, Pierre Huyghe, Claire Sherman, Robyn O'Neil, Cory Arcangel, TL Solien, Lamar Peterson, I should try to interview those people. I have some hot ones in the works.

Tell us some upcoming projects you have coming up... and about the show you're curating @FFDG!

I am working larger now (in the 5x5 ft range), I have some in progress that I am excited about, so once I finish those I suppose I'll try to find somewhere to show them later on... I am kind of laying off of exhibiting for the moment, in hopes I can make a body of work that'll turn your knuckle black. I am doing the whole sports training montage thing right now, only in the studio. Maybe I'll try to sleep with a lot of industry people.... Besides that I am helping Chicago sculpture pimp Ben Stone put a big, pink, stoned-looking octopus, trying to make love to a bagpipe, on top of a building in the hood. (Grand and Pulaski)

I'm also working on a full color zine called the Lonesome Dandy Quarterly, it most certainly isn't quarterly though and at this rate it will be done by the next time Gilbert and George have a retrospective in Milwaukee or when the Triassic era rolls around for the second time, whichever comes first... Also, this month a nice article comes out in The Comics Journal #291 about the work of Neil Whitacre and myself.

And the FFDG show! Ahhh yes, my first serious curatorial endeavor, which will feature paintings, drawings, video, and sculpture by these fine folks, Scott Anderson, Alexander Kvares, Eric Lebofsky, Frank Magnotta, Josh Mannis, Amy Mayfield, Erin Morrison, Mike Rea, Casey Jex Smith, Geoffrey Todd Smith, and Neil Whitacre. It's called West! Wester!Westest! And will be opening on October 3rd. You should go, we'll get crunk.

Your famous last words?

Hmmm, considering that my last words will probably be spoken on a hospital bed from my emaciated self on a bunch of pharmaceutical drugs, it will probably be random, nonsensical and anti-sentimental. It will probably be something like "pretzel town", a big final letdown, ill go out with a real pfffffff, like powder, not the movie guy powder, but powder powder. My poor wife. {moscomment}

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