Name: Ryan Heshka
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Ryan, who or what made you become an artist?
I have been compulsively drawing since I was a young child.
I tried a few different careers in my adult years, but a love of image making and a passion for graphics, film, comics and other visual arts led me to seriously pursue a career in art and illustration.
Its almost as if I couldn’t get away from it: it came back and found me.
Can you remember your first artistic experiences?
No, but my mom recalls the moment when I became artistically independent.
She used to help me draw, but one day when I was around four years old I told her that she was drawing something wrong.
Since then I’ve been highly critical of my own art as well as the visual world around me.
What has influenced your artistic vision?
The list is varied. Comics, pulp magazines, movies (in particular sci fi, horror and B-movies), vintage graphics, architecture, fine arts, natural history, travel, people, childhood experiences, dreams. And the list grows every year.
I never stop seeking out new influences.
How many skulls are too many skulls?☠️just a reminder to get your entry in to the Mean Girls Club contest! I will be posting photos of the winners shortly after the 31st. 🕷image: cover detail, “Strange Mysteries” #12 (early 1950’s). #horrorcomic #skulls #meangirlsclubcontest #halloween #deadline
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Under “artists” I have to include many different disciplines, like industrial designers and film makers. Dali, Otto Dix, Yves Tanguy, Kay Sage, Orson Welles, Busby Berkeley, Ray Harryhausen, Jack Kirby, Basil Wolverton, Tarpe Mills, Bill Everett, Raymond Houy, Frank R. Paul, Norman Saunders, Margaret Brundage, Dr. Seuss, Tex Avery, Raymond Lowey. There are far too many to mention here. As well, there are countless uncredited poster and magazine illustrators who did fantastic work and are lost to history.
How did your style evolve over time and how do you define it today?
I’ve always been influenced by the popular art forms of the past (comics, graphics, pulps, etc.). So when I started to develop my illustration style in the late 90s, naturally my look stemmed from the mental inventory of images from that era. My early personal artwork from around this same period was even more rooted in these vintage images. But recently, I have been digging deeper, attempting to capture the spontaneity of dreams and feelings.
My goal is to surprise myself and the viewer with unexpected combinations.
I still hold onto elements of comics for instance, but am more interested in abstracting my influences.
What is the trait of your personality that we mainly find in your works?
Attention to detail.
What has been the moment of greatest satisfaction in your career till today?
Holding in my hands a monograph of my personal artwork.
I received advance copies this past August, and seeing this body of work published (only about half of the actual work I have produced) gave me a sense that what I have been doing over the past eighteen years holds together and has some sort of significance. The book will be released October 31st, and I couldn’t have chosen a better release date.
What’s your creative process? What techniques do you use?
Generally I do a lot of stream of consciousness-type sketching, mining ideas, capturing colours, forms, etc.
These various elements get culled together into more cohesive mental visuals, and sometimes they make it into a painting, sometimes they are shelved.
I am continually trying to work more spontaneously, doing less preliminary work.
The element of surprise is important to keep my work interesting to me.
Do you have a favourite series or piece of work that you’ve created?
I am quite proud of my “Romance of Canada” series created for the Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea Gallery (Milan, Italy) in 2015. Maybe it doesn’t all hold together the way I had hoped, but many of my favourite paintings have emerged from that show.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work and what is the most difficult one?
I think they are one and the same: the freedom of creating imagery.
The rewards and the frustrations swing widely, and there is an isolation that gets to me once in a while. But its what I am built for, and I know now that the aggravations of art are part of the day-to-day.
Countdown is on to get your entries in for the Mean Girls Club contest. I’ll extend the deadline to noon on November 1st. Thank you to those who have sent in their entries!! 🕷☠️🕷BTW, I received the PDF of the MGC graphic novel today to approve, and I’m pretty stoked. #meangirlsclubcontest #halloween #costume #cosplay #pinkdawn #pink #black #november1extension
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What are you working at the moment?
I am in the final stages of completing my first graphic novel, a 95 page epic entitled “Mean Girls Club: Pink Dawn”.
This is a follow up to my short Mean Girls Club comic, both published by Lowbrow (UK).
In a few weeks I look forward to returning to a series of large commissions for some Spanish collectors. That will carry my through to Summer 2018.
The projects I am involved in now are becoming continually larger and more spread out over time. The risk taking keeps me on my toes.
Any future plans or artistic dreams you can share with us?
Nothing specific… I would like to continue to explore large oil canvasses, and master this scale of painting.
I have done several large canvases in the past two years, up to around two meters square, but this satisfactory results at this new scale continues to elude me.
Ryan, what is ART for you?
Capturing the feeling of creating that I had when I was a child. No thoughts to whether it is good or bad, just the sheer joy of mark making.