The eXTra finGer

...''He was counting on his fingers.One two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven.Eleven?Had he been born with an extra finger?''...

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Location: Italy

...& visit my web sites: Claudio Parentela's Official Site ''Claudio Parentela:Contemporary Art with a Freakish Taste!'' Lights&Shadows Disturbing Black Inks


Friday, December 11, 2009

Interview with Ryan Oliver

q)please tell us a brief info about yourself.

a)My name is Ryan Oliver, I'm 32 years old and live in Bristol, England. Originally from York in the north of England, I have lived in Bristol for the last 10 years and have a studio at 'Spike Island' where I produce my work.

q)Tell us about your humble beginnings, When did you you first realized that you wanted to be an artist?

a)I was creative from an early age as was my twin brother. With a mixture of sibling rivalry and parental encouragement I never considered any other alternative than a creative career.

q)Is your artistic background self-taught or did you go to college to study?

a)I went to college and university (University Of The West Of England) studying illustration. Although honing my technical skills, the course taught me was that I didn't want to be an illustrator; finding the client based nature of illustration restrictive and stunting creatively.

q)What are your tools of the trade and why?

a)I work with photomontage/collage, using high fashion/lifestyle periodicals as my primary resource. Collage by it's very nature is disparaging of it's source material and the 'beauty/perfection' constant in such publications is the target for my practise. The images, predictably banal, superficial, objectification of the the female form are torn from their origins and juxtaposed with strenuous misalliance to invalidate beauty's all important symmetrical balance.

I feel it's critical at this point to make my position clear; I'm not a crusader or a feminist, though, I share similar concerns. In regard to my source material, I'm neither alarmed nor offended and have admiration for the many artist's/technician's and their ability to create such visceral images; to which my work owes a debt of gratitude. I merely make observations and don't believe it's an artist's role to answer questions, but to raise them.

q)Who or what gives you inspiration on your morbid art?

a)Well, I wouldn't describe my work as 'morbid'. As I stated previously, my work defuncts the beauty/perfection constant so by default the resulting images must be monstrous. Because photomontage/collage is rendered from second hand material inspiration is offten responsive and countering to what was presented originally.

q)What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?

a)Because my work is responsive to fashion/media, it's mutability presents a new aesthetic for me to manipulate whilst the repetitive nature of fashion assures that the same concerns will always be present. I remain motivated because i strive to be a better artist.

q)Which of your works are you the most proud of? And why?

a)I'm proud of all my work; the fact that it's still intact, that I didn't destroy it, shows that I think it's worthwhile. All artists are essentially egotists on one level, we're all saying "look over here, look at what I can do, I have something to say!".

q)What contemporary artists or developments in art interest you?

a)The Chapman brothers, Thomas Hirschhorn, John Stezaker, Linder, Mark Flood, Wardell Milan, Fay Ray, Francine Spiegel, Jonathan Meese, to name but a few.

q)What are some of your current projects?

a)Strange that I speak so disparagingly of my Illustration background as my current project is a commissioned piece for a music album cover. The piece is for a British group called 'Audio Bullys' and the release date is around mid January 2010 I believe.

I'm also continuing my own practise exploring reoccurring themes.

q)how do you spend most of your free time?

a)In the studio.

q)We really like some of your pictures, how can we get our hands on them? Do you sell them? How?

a)You can contact me directly through my website and email me at to discuss such matters.