Friday, July 14, 2017

No One Told Me Not To Do This by Jay Ryan

No One Told Me Not To Do This is a collection of screen-printed posters.  Most of the artwork was created to promote concerts but you don’t need to know any of the bands to appreciate the visuals.  The prints were made by Jay Ryan (along with collaborators) and he provides small descriptions of when, why, and how each piece came to be.  Think of the little placards that accompany paintings in a museum but clever and occasionally self-deprecating.  I’m no poster expert (my taste in visual art tends toward the “I know what I like” variety) so I contacted Jay Ryan and he was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.

How do you decide what makes it into the book and what doesn't?

It's hard to pick which prints to include in a book, since I get to make so many prints, but there are some which just make me happy or proud beyond the normal satisfaction of finishing a poster. As with all sorts of activities, some of these projects are just that little bit more successful (funny, beautiful, well-printed, clever, etc). I know that not everyone agrees with all of my choices for which prints were included.

What's the process for transferring sometimes large screenprints into the pages of a book?

The finished prints are usually 18 by 24 inches, though some are larger, and a few are smaller. I hire my friend Nathan Keay to take photos of the printed pieces on his copystand set-up. Nathan is a great professional photographer who shoots for the Museum of Contemporary Art and is quite good at shooting all sorts of artwork.

Have you ever considered illustrating something like a picture book for kids?

I certainly hope to illustrate children's books. My wife, Diana Sudyka, illustrates young adult novels. I've got an expansive idea which has been rolling around in my head for about seven years, which I'm trying to carve into a tangible narrative.

Is there a particular print that you think is a good example of your style?

The first print which come to mind as a good example of my style is "No More Disagreements Today", which I think we made in 2015. There are two mammals (maybe cats, maybe wombats) riding on bicycles, and they each are carrying a large taco. They look quite pleased. The image is visually dirty, has some movement, has a touch of absurdity, and includes both animals and bicycles. It's all there.

If you like this book, you might also enjoy 1000 Music Graphics, a collection of album covers, posters, and various music ephemera, available from the Virginia Beach Public Library.

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