Studio Chat with Ryan Wilde
January 13, 2022
Here at VE, we love to know what motivates an artist and how their life experiences impacts how they imagine and create their art. The VE crew sat down with Ryan at her Brooklyn studio, to learn the ins-outs of her practice.
Q. How and when did you decide you wanted to pursue a career as an artist?
A. I think I've always been an artist. My father is a painter and my mother did her undergrad studies in sculpture. Art has been the main topic of conversation in my family ever since I can remember. Even during my years working as a fashion designer, I considered myself an artist. The transition from the fashion world to the art world felt pretty seamless and natural. I always thought more about the objects I made rather than those who bought or wore them.
Q. What does your work mean to you and what does it represent?
Hats, hats, hats.
A. My practice is informed by and an extension of a career in millinery. I have repurposed the technical skills acquired as a hat designer to provoke a dialogue on the theatricality of gender and the role of costume in the development of female identity. In both my sculptural work and paintings, I try to bring perspective to the way identities are formed. Beginning with the consumption of imagery and visual cues, a woman, whose existence is considered in relation to the “other,” must harness the faculties of beauty, intelligence, or wealth in order to claim agency. Often by way of carefully crafting her appearance in an attempt to exert power, she is met with a paradoxical dilemma, as the outward expressions of women at any stage may be fetishized and objectified by the male gaze.
Q. When you wake up in the morning how do you decide what you want to create?
A. I always have several shows planned out in my head, so I spend a lot of time organizing those ideas and focusing on the next show.
Q. Are there any subjects or themes you are looking to experiment with in the future?
A. I look forward to playing with size more in the future. I have been experimenting with ways to scale up my work. Scale can have an enormous impact on the meaning and perception of art. I've been thinking a lot lately about what it could mean for the practice and how it could change my style of artmaking long term.
"In both my sculptural work and paintings, I try to bring perspective to the way identities are formed."
Q. What else is a part of your life and interests outside of the studio?
A. Since so much of my life is focused on my practice, my main interest outside of the studio is spending time with family and friends.