Thursday, August 30, 2012

Interview with Danny van Ryswyk

q)Introduce yourself, name,age, location.

a)My name is Danny van Ryswyk, 40 years of age. I am a Dutch surreal artist living and working in the historic heart of Amsterdam.

q) Can you describe your path to being an artist? When did you really get into it?

a)You don't 'become' an artist, it's not a profession like a computer programmer or construction worker. You are born with a talent just as you are born with a sexual orientation. It is something you are. But it needs an incredible amount of dedication to develop this talent. Been born with a talent does not mean that you can lay back and relax, it is not an easy life. It also means that I am very one-dimensional in my talents and interests. This is what I understand and do best. And I try to survive from within these boundaries. In the early 90ties I started working as a full time illustrator, specialized in Photorealism. I did an incredible amount of packaging illustrations of fruit, cookies, candies, you name it. The deadlines in the commercial field are always tight and never far away form been totally unrealistic. I worked so hard for so many years that I started to develop serious health problems like chronic stress and RSI. How bad they might seem, it was important that it happened to me as I needed to wake-up and understand that I was going the wrong way and was completely destroying myself and my artistic integrity. It was then I began to investigate how I could do the things I always wanted them to do, tell my own story instead of telling the story of a cooky manufacturer. 

q) Describe your ideals and how they manifest in your work.

a)My ideals do not manifest in my work. I try to have as little ideals and goals as possible. It is important to
stay away from such illusions. We humans have a habit of always looking at tomorrow and have these future dreams. It is important we live in reality and not in illusions. The fact is, we never know what might happen just a second away from now.

q) Is music a part of your studio time? What do you listen to?

a)Sure, I listen to a wide variety of music styles. I highly prefer minimalistic dup techno like Basic Channel, and electronic ambient music like the works of Thom Brennan, it's hypnotic.

q) How would you describe your work to someone?

a)Obscure surrealism. My work is best described as a fuse of absurdity, melancholy and Victorian portraiture.

q) Influences?

a)My UFO encounter I had when I was a kid. This has a very important influence in my life and work. This was the point I became interested in anything which is said to exist 'above and beyond' nature.
I have a large collection of books about paranormal and extraterrestrial subjects. I love 19th century photography, especially hoaxed ghost 'spirit' photography from that period. I just love weird things and odd antiques. Dreams.

q) Describe your process for creating new work.

a)I have a mental image of an idea and I work from there. I never make a sketch, it takes away intuition. I start in ZBrush, which is three dimensional software. It is a complex program that allows the artist to 'sculpt' it's subjects in virtual reality. It works almost like real clay and gives an incredible freedom of expression. This is where my idea gets form and shape. After finishing my 3D-sculpture I import it in another three dimensional software program where I set-up light, camera and texturing. At this point everything comes together. Then I render the scene in high resolution and this is brought over in two dimensional software: Photoshop. In Photoshop I start to paint and manipulate my render for as long as needed to complete the right mood and obscure atmosphere I am aiming at. The whole process from start to finish takes many weeks to complete.

q) What advice do you have for artists looking to show their work?

a)Dedication, do something different. Stick to yourself and work from there.

q) What are you really excited about right now?

a)A holiday. I need a beach, a blue hawaii cocktail and some sunshine. I spend too much time in my studio.

q) What do you love most about where you live?

a)I live in the historic heart of Amsterdam. It is a very crowded place and lots of weird things happen here!
Amsterdam is beautiful. It is a big 17th century museum with a strange mix of tourists, yuppies, locals, laid-back people an lunatics. Amsterdam is never boring, you can go to a nightclub or wander in the small streets. Drink a beer on a bench and look over the channels, visit a museum and see the works of Rembrandt. 
I have traveled all over the world, but a place like Amsterdam is unique.

q) Best way to spend a day off?

a)Spend the day with my girlfriend, exploring the city, have some coffee, go to the movies and having a diner.

q) Upcoming shows/ projects?

a)I am working hard on new works all the time.

q) Where can people see more of your work on the internet?

a)I don't keep track of where my work is published. All new work is published on my site.
There is an upcoming book of Dutch artists where my work will be published in, I recently got
published in an San Francisco based art magazine called Sex + Design, art blogs like you contact me, lots of good things are happening!

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