Ryan Milner - Mini Interview / Studio Visit

Recently, Phone Booth Gallery had a chance to sit with Ryan Milner, the artist responsible for the widely popular "I Kill the Bus Driver" print, and the successful solo "Tastebuds" exhibit last year. He gives some insight into his experience freelancing, inspiration, and gives a look at what we can expect from him in the near future.

PBG: I know you are quite multi-faceted as far as the use of different mediums, in fact, your website is useofmedium.net. You are now a seasoned acrylic and oil painter, graphite and charcoal, and are even formally trained in airbrush and spray can art among other things. What is your medium/ media of choice lately? How has your experience with different mediums affect the way you currently work?

Milner: Hmm, graphite and acrylic has been a favorite of mine for a few recent projects. I love the basic expression and gesture a pencil adds to the mix (ball point pen is cool too), you can move so easily from rough to finalized images, I love it! In fact any kind of dry media is great because you don't have to worry about drying times, color shifts, etc. I've found thats invaluably important in freelance. I've been using "Tombow" brand pencils since college, they have a great feel and consistency, plus the lead gets super dark. Recently I've found using graphite with acrylic has been a great combo. I've using acrylic for a lot of wash work, blocking out elements, then using graphite to render out different things. Haha, I always find myself going back to painting though, you just can't beat the feel of a brush. Freelance has been a huge proponent in my choice of mediums, you'll discover quickly that you can't take a couple days off work waiting for oil paint to dry. Its been a blessing by forcing me to find mediums that work well and fast. The computer is a great example, Photoshop, Illustrator and Adobe Acrobat has helped me expedite my working time tremendously. I just remind myself there all just tools of the trade to get the job done in the best way possible. While it feels great to be well rounded when it comes to media, you never stop learning. Its always great try a little of everything, paint, pencil, digital media; See what works well alone, fast, or in combination--never be afraid to take risks!

PBG: You currently are making your living on your artwork. This includes fine art ventures, as well as doing freelance design. How does your freelance play off of your personal work, and vice versa?

Milner: Its been a very arduous task living off freelance art, however, its been the most rewarding in my life. There's nothing quite like being paid to draw, paint, or participate in any creative craft. Its tough, but you roll with the punches. I'm learning the value of having boundaries between my personal work and freelance, but its a continuing balancing act. Its hard not to let your bread and butter pursuits get the best of your personal work. I always try to remember why I'm doing this and how its working for me. I try not to get caught up in the thought drama of, "is this good enough?". Freelance is not fine art and vice versa...at least not yet :) There will always be personal pressure to preform in the face of past, present or future success. I take my work seriously, but not to seriously. In the words of my friend and illustrator Joe King, "freelancing is just a job, you do it well and you move on." I think that when it comes down to incorporating personal work into my freelance, my style will always work its way in, it can be modified or masked, but will always be there. Working freelance definitely makes me appreciate my personal work on a whole new level. With time becoming more valuable (esp. these days) I need that break to do my own artwork, it keeps me sane, when that begins to piss me off, I go back to work hahaha.

PBG: Music and movies usually have a big influence on the way an artist works. Are there any bands or movies that have been particularly inspiring in your work?

Milner: So many movies have had influence on my work, music too! It helps me get lost in what I'm doing and just work. Although I tend to work more efficiently to music, I'm a big fan of movies, pretty much everything. The only rule I have is not to put something in while Im working I haven't seen before, haha or nothing will get done, thats why I've seen every movie in my collection at least a dozen or more times haha! It sometimes depends on the project Im working on. I must have watched The Shining around 5 or 6 times while working on my piece for your show, hahaha! I will say that Im a HUGE Batman nerd! The Dark Knight never left my dvd player for a good few weeks and was inspiration for my latest "Henchmen" print series. For music I tend to be really selective, I dig, instrumental or movie scores. Anything mellow for background noise, seems like I'm always listening to a lot of Tom Waits, but recently MGMT and Kings Of Leon, haha sometimes I'll work in complete silence for hours at time...

PBG: Who is your favorite artist in the art world right now, and for what reason?

Milner: I'd have to say JC Leyendecker is the latest on my top 10. The guy was a dynamo with painting and character gesture. Of course my personal dream team is still Sebastian Kruger, Phil Hale, Joe Sorren Glen Barr and Sorayama, although the list is really endless...

PBG: Last year, you had an exhibit with Phone Booth Gallery of your "Tastebuds" series. What can we expect for your next solo show in October?

Milner: I've been considering a followup to Tastebuds; however, working through this horrible economy has given me a lot of perspective and new direction. I'd say beautiful violence is a good descriptor. I'm also planning on getting back into silkscreen, so expect some new prints along with the "Henchmen" series to drop later this year!

1 comment:

  1. That's a mighty fine light box there. Nice work Ryan.