The arty interview: Rob Ryan

Good news! Rob Ryan's outstanding new show at Sims Reed Gallery in London has been extended until the 15th November. You can read my review of the opening night and the artworks therein here. Rob answered some questions on his latest works...

Where have your main sources of inspiration come from for the show? What has particularly inspired you?
I've been thinking and learning about very small things like atoms and very big things like the universe and of course being a human being (and obsessed with my own importance) how I fit into the space in-between. A lot of the work in this show has blossomed from the comfort I've found in my (and our) life's fantastic insignificance. Belief in only the existence of matter is incredibly liberating.

How has this body of work evolved since your last Show 'The Stars Shine All Day Too' at Dover Street, London in 2010?
Hmm, I don't really know about this. Maybe it hasn't. There are still a lot of themes relating to hope. I'm not the best person to judge this question.

Where did the title ‘There is only Time’ come from?
I wanted to make a clock (and I did, for the Chelsea flower show! It now lives in my shop) but I wanted it to let people feel less panicky about always having to feel as if they were filling their lives with event upon event of worthwhile things. The show's title come from that piece of work and are repeated in one of the major pieces of the show.

What is your process behind creating a show like this… do you start with words or pictures? Does the title come first?
I know it sounds ridiculous but I try and start by doing a picture I really believe. That sets the beginnings of a direction of the feeling for the show and the next picture strengthens that and builds on it and so on. Whether the words or pictures come first, that differs with each picture.

What aspects do you find the most rewarding and challenging in preparing for a show like this?
Starting on new themes and ideas that I know I can continue working on and developing even after the show has finished. The challenging thing for me is that I can keep trying to make things better, so the show is like the terminus at the beginning of a long train journey to fuck knows where... But of course, that's the exciting bit!

Do you consider yourself equally a writer, poet and artist?
An artist.

Which artists work do you admire? 
Titian, Brueghel and Stanley Spencer.

What inspired your new book, The Invisible Kingdom? 
The story is about a young prince that becomes a young king but runs away from his imposed responsibilities. Everyone wants to feel to be carefree and the master of their own destiny; how do you make that happen? What do you gain in the process, but then what do you sacrifice?  These are the questions that inspired the book.

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