Written by: Jo Ann Lee Breaux Duggins
Cover Photo by: Maxim RyazanskyFull Name: Robert Ryan
Currently Residing: Asbury Park New Jersey
Currently Listening to: The Sun Ra Myth Science Arkestra
I have a thing for symbols. I love it in my literature and I love it art. I love Robert Ryan's work because he incorporates so much of the things I love which includes elements of mysticism, symbology and the metaphysical. Although the content is appealing in his work I find his use of bold color and shading stand out just the same. His work reminds me of the old school carnivals...like what you would see at Coney Island. HIs pieces incorporate the mystical, but don't dwell in the dark, they come from a different place and time. He has a deep understanding of his philosphies and you can see it in his creations. And he's just a kind hearted guy! I'm happy to present Mr. Robert Ryan and his spectacular work.
You are an all around artist, from music to painting to tattooing, which one of these is most prevalent in your life and how do you center your energy on these?
I believe or at least hope that music would be present in all and everything that I offer. I used to try to compartmentalize Tattooing, Painting, Music, My Personal Life, Relationships, Etc. I think now I'm comfortable enough to let all these things interact and act as one.
Your work definitely portrays your philosophies...do you go outside this realm or do you see yourself as this "type" of artist?
I study a lot. Esoteric research, The Occult, Vedic Philosophy, Egyptology so on and so forth so that appears in my paintings. I try not to get too preachy or stand on a pulpit. The more I learn the less I even know. So I just try to share these things that I'm covering and are presenting themselves to me.
How do you go about the creative process of coming up with a piece? What sparks that initial idea?
Anything and everything. Dreams, Music, Daily interaction, Conversation.. I also seek the council of my muse as well as the spirits of certain Plants, Animals, and Fungus.
How did you become a tattoo artist and how long have you been doing it?
I got really lucky and had some good friends invite me into it. I served a formal apprenticeship for two and half years and have been tattooing for 11 years from that point forward.
What's been the most interesting piece you've done?
Its hard to say for me because I have always worked in really busy environments so a lot of the work blurs in my small mind. I also have to think of points of interest. Like mind blowing on a Social level,? Philosophical Level?, Personal Level ?or Aesthetic Level.? If you get them all working together now that's an interesting tattoo! Sometimes my most interesting customers get the most common tattoos and on the flipside the folks who try to get the deep meaning tattoos are pretty damn boring.
What do you love most about the art you do? What do you wish to convey to your audience?
I love the crisis and resolution. As Thom Devita says "Pulling it out of the fire." The happy accidents to me are pretty exciting. I'm trying to convey Confusion, Confusion, and Confusion. 7)What mythological creature are you most intrigued by and why? "The Child of Chaos" or" Child of the Void" He is the sepent with the lions head. The son of Sophia (wisdom) She was ashamed of her vile creation and wrapped him in a cloud and created a throne for him within the cloud. The isolated child of chaos knew not of anything else and thought of himself as the one true Divine being -God. Here's where the set up falls into play. The Yaldabaoth becomes power mad and the unknowing follow him only to be defeated by the Angel of Light. That's a very brief synopsis of a very complicated story. I just love the lyrical content at play there. Plus the visual image of the winged serpent with a lions head!
You do a few musical projects...which one are you most into right now and what is your role?
I just got back from playing some shows with Harmonize Most High. It's a free form music collective. We just put out our first album. It is a pretty amazing project with some seriously devoted musicians. I play a bunch of different instruments with the band, Guitar, Harmonium, Setar, Bouzouki, Saz, Etc. Everyone in the band are multi instrumentalists. Check out our album titled 'Babylon' on the Portuguese imprint Ruby Red Editora.
What artist is turning you on right now and why?
Thom Devita up in Newburgh cranking out incredible artwork everyday. He used to tattoo on the Lower East Side. He was basically squatting in his building, Tattooing illegally. He was also connected to an outsider Urania church. His flash was on wooden grape crate slats! Thom is a true visionary who influenced some of the best in the tattoo business. We all owe him a lot.
If you could write a greeting card what would it say?
"Honey I'm sorry I Pissed the bed.........Again XOXOXO"
If you would you would like to enter Robert's world of art and tattooing, you can visit his site or you can tell him how much you love his work on his MySpace page.
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