"I never really stopped reading children's stories. I read them when I was 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20." Rob Ryan muses over his lack of a clean break with childhood, "there is something inside of me that always continued with looking at those kinds of things," he tells Crane.tv, seated within the surrounds of Ryan's Bethnal Green studio, he modestly describes as where he 'makes pictures.' Since accomplishing an MA in printmaking at the Royal College of Art, the highly acclaimed illustrator has been specialising in paper cuts and limited edition screen prints. A lifelong love of storytelling and straightforward approach to image-making has produced whimsical, accessible collections of work that appeal to many. His talents have already attracted the attention of Tatty Devine, Liberty's of London, Ernest Sewn, Paul Smith and Vogue, culminating in collaborations with enthralling results.
I can't forget and I never will. You smiled at me and from nothing something came. Now the world is new to me again. I will remember still you smiled at me and now I dream a dream of good.
As the discussion draws on the romantic element that is often attached to his productions, Ryan replies with a, "they relate to that maybe because we're all kind of after that really aren't we? Love is this thing that we all kind of aspire to receiving and giving, it's the one thing we're all kind of hungry for." The idealism in his designs verging on the quixotic, reveal admittedly a large enthusiasm of his -- if not a part of his persona. This essence is reflected when he mentions one of his most cherished images: of him and his wife sheltering in the doorway of a shop, shying away from the rain, "I just think that there was a lot of love put in the picture and it was just between two people and nobody ever saw it except from us because it was in our bedroom." When probed further, Ryan admits that he tends to produce pictures about the things he thinks about and much of his concerns revolve around people -- how you view other people, how other people view you, how you view the person you love -- to him understandably romance finds an outlet in that way.
Changing the subject, Ryan insists that he doesn't particularly see all his work as being "lovey-dovey,": "I think it's a bit broader than that, but people tend to focus on certain aspects of things and you get remembered for certain pictures." Excited by the poetic lines and chimerical paper-cut renditions of his imagination, we sigh and echo how it would be sorely difficult for us to forget anyway.
Text by Carmen Ho for Crane.tv
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