questions with Ryan p Young.


Ryan is new to chicago, and im happy to have come across him. he has a good eye for composition and the talent to back it up. not to mention he try’s to use as many different mediums as possible. and anyone who likes the toadies is a ok in my book. 




1. besides the long winter, hot summer, bad transit, highest sales tax anywhere, and a crazy mayor, why chicago?


Actually, what you just listed sounds like the perfect equation for an artist’s inspiration.

No to mention the plethora of opportunities that are available for an artist in this city.


2. you work with wood burning tools. you dont see that too often anymore. what is it about that medium you like?


It’s all about the wood. I thought I was done painting years ago and turned to design. After years of free lance design and hands on, mason work I was searching for a way to bridge the two (the sleek look of design and the raw energy of the man made). I don’t quite remember how or when it happened but I few years ago I discovered the potential of wood. But seriously, techniques such as wood burning, stenciling, wood cutting, and carving all allow for the canvas to hold more life than just paint. What I enjoy most with wood burning is the challenge to have a seemless flow of burning pen against the grain of the wood. I guess you could say I’m going against the grain. Once the paint is laid down the wood burning is forced to take a back seat making the wood burning work as more of a folky design aesthetic.




3. what’s playing in the background while you work?


Whatever it is it is usually an album. It’s sad to see how the art of the album is being lost through the use of iTunes and MP3 downloads. The first time I realized this was after wrapping up my “end of the year” project my freshman year of high school. I realized my stereo had played Toadies, “Rubberneck” on repeat during the making of the project. It’s nice to let yourself get lost in the mood of the album while getting lost in the art. The concept of the piece seems easier to find when your environment is not bouncing from a folk song to a hip hop song. That process leads me to unproductive madness. I recently have dusted off Perfect from Now On by Built to Spill- such a great album.




4. who or what has been the biggest influence in your work?


It was in ’03 that I bailed out of the Arts Institution to take a breather and decide for myself where I wanted to go with my art. The constant direction from one professor to the next all trying to take you under their wing and make you their prized possession was suffocating. It turned out to be the best thing I could have done. When I was able to breathe and figure things out for myself without a deadline put on my career I figured out what I wanted to do. Everything. I love being hands on and I love creating. I love using wit and I love being sincere. I especially enjoy being a part of the DIY era. But when I think back on that time it was Juxtapoz that really kept me excited. I really can’t give it to one singular artist, but instead the beast that is created by our entire generation of artists. There has been a lot of talk about this generation and its lack of voice, but the argument against this is everywhere. Take Shepard Fairy, Banksy, Ryan McGuiness,  Ron English, the list goes on. Whether you’re a fan or not, you can’t say there aren’t views being expressed. With the advent of technology and the advertising world we have more opportunity than ever to mess with the man.


rabid rabbits



5. what do you do to get out of a creative slump?


Again it’s a DIY world these days. When I feel slumped in one medium I move to a different medium for a fresh perspective. I’ve made furniture when I got sick of working on design, or a t-shirt when I was sick of painting. This world is becoming easier for those of us with a strong case of ADD to succeed. 


If I just don’t have any ideas or answers in my head, I try and take a break. I look up what’s new in the art world or write to clear my head. I like to hit up my favorite shop in my home town, Shake It Records. If that place doesn’t make you want to create you might as well be dead. 


6. whats your favorite non-art related book?


Usually when I’m packing to travel I grab Dharma Bums or Slaughter House Five, but since my recent realization to my ignorance of geography, I’ve grown fond of the Rand McNally Atlas. 




7. do you have any thing coming up youd like to plug?


Well, I’ll be on the panel for the June edition of Atomic Sketch held on the last thursday of every month @ evilOlive. My friend/colleague, Reid Radcliffe, and I are doing a show in Cincinnati where we reconceptualize the art of the pin-up girl. I’ll be in a show @ Tender Loving Empire in Portland Oregon called 4T. A show where 40 artists paint 40oz. bottles. There is something in the works for me to be throwing down some live art while Bus Driver throws down his rhymes in Cincinnati which I am super excited about. Also, you may have heard of this guy, Josh Lucas*, who is putting an illustrated book together joining local artists and writers together that should be coming in November. I’ll have a website, ryanpyoung.com,  up soon to fill you in on all the upcoming goodness.



thanks ryan,


*and no thanks to evil josh lucas for ruining a perfectly good name.



One thought on “questions with Ryan p Young.

  1. Ryan, you rock.

    Posted by Julia Haw | May 25, 2009, 12:58 pm

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