The wit and wisdom of Rob Ryan

ACHICA Living chats to artist and paper-cutter extraordinaire Rob Ryan to find out the inspiration behind five of his fabulously quirky prints…

'Can we? Shall we? One day very soon. Let us go away together. Just you and me. Can we? Shall we? Call in sick one day and travel to the sea and hold hands all day. Can we? Shall we? Eat our sandwiches on the train. Get drunk on fresh air and come home tired and never tell anyone...ever' (Above)

‘This print is always in demand as I think it strikes a cord with so many people,’ says Rob. ‘I created it around three years ago. It was written for myself and my wife, Lorna. I don’t have a 9-5 job, but I do have a business to run and everyone wants to get away sometimes and leave it all behind and enjoy being with somebody. Even just for a day. It can be a message to yourself or to a loved one. Have I ever done that? Yes! My children, Maria, 21, and Barbara, 18, are at university now so after 30 years of being with my wife it’s a nice adventure to be alone again with her. We’ve recently taken a weekend place down in Sussex – I love those seaside towns such as Hastings and St Leonards. It’s very relaxing, but then anything is after London, right?’

'All of the words in the world are worth nothing if we cannot be together' (Above)

'This was a charity piece I did for the British Heart Foundation, which I made as a paper cut and then produced as a screen print,' says Rob. 'Hearts feature in my work a lot as I love their shape and the way they can work as a metaphor. Not so long ago people used to think that the heart does the same as the brain in the sense that it controls the mind, and some people still believe there’s evidence that it controls more than just pumping blood around the body. I like the idea of the heart being a place that you store things – a depository of emotions - hence the doors in this picture. It’s a very simple idea about two people letting each other into their lives, secrets, dreams and hopes. It’s ironic that I’m talking about this in 100s of words really as the message is simple – we can talk about it all day, but the words don’t mean anything unless we are one.'

'This bell will ring when I am cruel to you and make you cry'

‘I did a whole series of pictures with bells on them,’ says Rob. ‘A lot of inscriptions on bells are overtly obvious so I thought it would be nice to feature ones with everyday comments on them. This is the one sad one out of the lot, which says a bit more about you for picking up on it! I also did ‘This bell will ring when from nothing something comes’ and ‘This bell will ring when your boiled eggs are ready’ etc. I’m trying to tie in the emotionally intense with the everyday and I’m glad the print has made it onto a washbag with jolly colours. These are all things that make up our everyday lives.'

'You can still do a lot with a small brain'

‘This is my semi-official motto!’ says Rob. ‘It’s almost my excuse for everything. If someone turns around and says ‘that guy's work is all a bit romantic – it’s not high art etc’ I can turn round and say ‘well at least I’ve done it. It might not be the greatest thing in the world, but I’m doing my best.' A lot of people don’t do things because of the fear of starting and being judged, but no-one does anything very good the first time – you have to practise. This is meant to be an inspiring, positive message to all those people out there too unconfident to get started doing something new. I’m saying ‘come on, you have to start somewhere’.’

Rob Ryan Limited Edition print for Haiti 'We are all part of each other and this is my promise. I won’t pass you by and I won’t ignore you and look the other way. But I’ll help you build your nest again. This is my promise'

‘I wanted to do something to raise money for the Haiti disaster when it happened, but I was really busy,’ says Rob. ‘So, I thought I’d wait until a year after to remind people. With charity pieces I think it’s nice to theme it so its relevant to the subject and this piece is all about rebuilding lives and helping other people, done through the metaphor of birds building each others’ nests. I could have picked any picture and run off a print, but I wanted to do something a bit more relevant to the situation, and about the very nature of helping and giving.’

The Rob Ryan Limited Edition print for Haiti prints are £200 and are available online at Etsy or from Ryantown

To view Rob Ryan's portfolio and find out more about his shop visit Ryantown (pictured below)

There's a Rob Ryan promotion at ACHICA today! Check out which items are in the ACHICA promotion here

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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor