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POW Chats: A Conversation With Artist Chris Ryniak



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Chris Ryniak is a long-time illustrator of mini monsterized characters and big-eyed cute and creepy things. We recently had a chit chat with the artist discussing his first POW release "Mothpup," and much more.

Hey Chris. What were your early childhood career aspirations? Did they include illustrating tiny, beloved and bug-eyed creatures?

Early on I just wanted to make cartoons, but once I started watching monster movies, all I wanted to do was make monsters.

"MothPup" is your fourth release with POW and your first cut-to-shape project with the team. Can you tell us about this release and who this little guy is?

"Mothpup" sprung from one of my daily drawings that I post on social media. The original drawing is of him just below a light bulb, looking wide-eyed and mesmerized. I think "Mothpup" is just a monsterized version of a baby moth, full of curiosity! I saw a post on the Prints On wood Instagram showing some cut-to-shape prints they were testing out and commented how much I liked them, then Erin contacted me to do one!

Years ago, good friend of POW, Jeff Soto, actually interviewed you for FecalFace.com. That was really cool and refreshing. How did you and Jeff decide to have him interview you for the publication?

Jeff has been a good friend of mine for a really long time now. We kind of came up in the same galleries in the early 2000's, but only saw each other when I was out in LA. I know Jeff knew the Fecal Face folks, so I think it was their idea. It's still the best interview I've ever done, I think because he knows me so well, so he knew what to ask!

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When you are beginning on a piece, what are the routines, practices or rituals you engage in before getting to work?

GET OUT OF BED! I start working on my drawings every day before I do anything. A lot of days, it hurts to do it, but it's like any exercise, you have to do it because you know it's good for you. I think what works best for me is to just get to it, no matter what I'm doing. Thinking too long on projects often slows me down, so I try to just keep moving. I grab some clay or a pencil and just start working.

Can you describe what your studio/work space is like?
I actually have 2 now. The new studio upstairs in a brand-new addition to my house that I share with my girlfriend and collaborator Amanda Louise Spayd. It has vaulted ceilings and 16 linear feet of custom work tables along one wall for us to work side-by-side.I do all of my design work, business operations and initial sculpting in there. The other studio is my messy basement workshop where building, molding, casting and painting get done. I need a lot of space because I'm often working on multiple projects at once that require different media.

Where is your attention focused on these days artistically? What are the main projects taking up your time?

Mostly sculpting, molding, casting and painting. I have 1-2 big gallery shows every year and it takes 4-6 months to complete the work for each one. The molding and casting process is tedious and time-consuming, so I have to really plan ahead. The rest of the time I spend drawing, working on new merchandise and toy-designing.

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Who are you aside from being an artist? What are the other adjectives or descriptive words that make up your character?

I'm a Dad and BBQ-er. I'm anxious, hungry, relentless and often complaining about my aching joints!

What individuals -- who are not artists -- are you inspired by in this era of your life? 

I'm a big fan of Adam Savage, who is more of a maker than an artist. Guillermo Del Toro has been someone I've admired for some time. He's also an artist, but he's a director, a fan, a big kid, a visionary and has a huge heart.

What are you most looking forward to this summer that has zero to do with work or creative obligations?
Walking down the creek with my kids and catching snakes and tadpoles!