Ryan Patrick Martin
Location: Ridgewood, Queens
We first discovered some of Ryan's work in the Lower East Side shop, Objectify. It was in this store that we bought one of his rubber cacti. With the Daughter Runs logo also happening to be a cactus, we knew we needed it in our lives for all the right reasons. Ryan has a passion for not only creating but the process behind it all. He makes us all want to eat "breakfast in the desert". Read on to find out more about the wonderful world of Slopwop.
Photograph by Michael Busse
DAUGHTER RUNS: Why art?
RYAN: I’d be concerned to know where my energy would go if I didn’t have art as an outlet. I’m not exactly sure what form it would take but it probably wouldn’t be as fun. The process of art making is total freedom. No one is telling me what to do and the decisions I make typically do not have any consequences. It’s magic. I can sit down and start working and forget about everything else except what is right in front of me. At it’s very best, it’s the perfect world to live in.
DAUGHTER RUNS: What do you lend most credit to when creating?
RYAN: I guess I lend the most credit to the process of building. Painting, cutting wood, gluing things together, pouring rubber, making and solving problems. This is really where the fun is and I do my best to transfer that energy into the viewer.
DAUGHTER RUNS: Do you think environment plays a large role in creativity and ambition?
RYAN: Absolutely, but I don’t think we’re always aware of it. The studio environment affects things in a very direct way. The size of the space may affect the scale of your work. The people you share the space with may affect your comfort levels. The amount of sunlight, the way your tools are organized, wall space, etc. All these things are obvious ways our studio environment affects our work flow. But I think the environment that we choose to live our lives in affects our work in a much more complicated way. I’ve been living and working in NYC for 7 years now so I don’t have any other place to compare it to but I don’t think I’d be working as diligently if I had moved to a slower city. I feel like this city has turbo charged me and set me up to work with an equal amount of enthusiasm somewhere else.
DAUGHTER RUNS: What intrigues you about eggs and cacti?
RYAN: For me, the cactus evolved out of a joke between friends. We made a lecture video on the philosophy of drawing a cactus on your wall which explains most of our thinking and can be found somewhere deep inside the interweb. We began referencing and drawing them a lot and it eventually became the symbol for our music collective SHOW and SMELL Recordings. So it's a funny coincidence that Daughter Runs uses the cactus as well. It seems the cactus has brought us together. I guess what intrigues me about it is the attitude it exudes. A strong and prickly vibe with a beautifully structured body and color with the arms raised up towards the sun, what an image! It’s also this kind of exotic thing for me because I grew up in the farmland of Pennsylvania. The eggs are less romantic. I started making those mostly because of the nature of the material I was using. Silicone rubber can be colored and poured out into these blob shapes which I thought looked a lot like an egg white. So I put a sauced up yoke on it and realized I could make a bunch of these floppy eggs quite easily. Applying the sauce in different ways turns each egg into a uniquely painted object instead of a mass produced product where each one would be identical. They seem to be a good pair... like breakfast in the desert.
DAUGHTER RUNS: Who do you continuously find yourself looking to for inspiration?
RYAN: My friends and collaborators. Some of whom make up our collective SHOW and SMELL. I think it’s extremely important to join forces with like minded people so there’s a constant circulation of inspiration, feedback, and knowledge.
DAUGHTER RUNS: Consisting of a lot of different patterns and shapes, your work approaches both these things in what seems like a very simplistic way. Is this symbolic of a larger ideal?
RYAN: I use colors, shapes, and patterns as a language to communicate an idea. Sometimes the idea is very simple and obvious. Recently I’ve been making game-like paintings where the shapes and lines have a purpose and they interact with each other instead of just being strictly decorative. This creates a very simple narrative and I don’t think there’s a larger ideal. It’s a small moment that just is. On the other hand, sometimes my work can be a little bit more abstract and a larger ideal could exist but I think it’s different for each piece.
DAUGHTER RUNS: What is it about physicality that intrigues you into making tangible artwork?
RYAN: In a gallery context, the audience perceives anything in the space as this thing they can’t touch. It doesn’t really matter what it is. A pile of trash is just as precious as a painting on the wall. So I’m excited about what Objectify is doing because it sort of breaks this idea down and gives people a chance to touch objects that would be considered “fine art” if it were on a pedestal in a gallery. This gave me a reason to create the rubber cactus and eggs. I like the idea of people taking them home and maybe there cat plays with them or something. Or like, somebody takes a rubber egg and playfully slaps somebody else in the face with it. That’s fun stuff! So yeah I don’t know I guess I’m more attracted to the idea of somebody seeing my work from all sides and interacting with it because that’s how I saw it when I was making it. I build all of my stretcher frames for my paintings out of found wood. I want people to turn them around and see how it’s put together. I think the textures of something and the way it’s built is just as important as the painting or sculpture.
DAUGHTER RUNS: I feel like your paintings could be seen on the carpet of some 90’s rollerblading rink while your music plays on an arcade machine. Super nostalgic vibes going on there, is this something you’re aware of?
RYAN: Wow, thanks for that image! I’d really like to design a roller rink’s carpet and make pinball songs now. I haven’t thought about those places for years. Roller rinks and bowling alleys. I remember going bowling as a kid for birthday parties and the place reeked of cigarettes, that would never happen now. But yes, this 80’s and 90’s nostalgia is something I’m aware is in my work. I didn’t live through the 80’s but the equipment I use to make Slop Wop’s music has which may explain the vintage quality it has. My music and visual art live in the same world and tend to inform each other. This is something I’ve been thinking about recently. How many of my decisions are being influenced by 90’s cartoon aesthetics? I guess all those days of watching Rocko’s Modern Life and eating Gushers were productive after all.
DAUGHTER RUNS: What is the last film you watched?
RYAN: I just watched this movie called Tapeheads with John Cusack and Tom Robbins. I can’t believe I’ve never seen it! It’s a weird flick from 1988 about two guys who move into an artist’s loft and start making DIY music videos. There’s a lot of really great moments.
DAUGHTER RUNS: Favorite album right now?
RYAN: Probably Lightning Bolt’s new album Fantasy Empire. They have a really unique way of making these insanely heavy caveman metal moments sound really colorful and light hearted.
DAUGHTER RUNS: What is the best meal you’ve discovered within the past month?
RYAN: Tuna salad and a pickle on toasted pita bread with an orange on the side.
DAUGHTER RUNS: What does “Daughter Runs” mean to you?
RYAN: It means there’s power in sharing ideas and fostering a community!
all photos © copyright Ryan Patrick Martin