Artist: Ryan Ball [q&a]

What a great honor to start off the week again with a featured artist. Again, I had the pleasure of meeting Ryan and discussing his work a bit in person. Furthermore, he was also kind enough to answer a few of my questions and allowing me to post the responses on the IUBlog. Ryan Ball is a really great guy making some really beautiful and inspired work. I spoke to him mainly about his series Hurry up and Wait but he has several other bodies of work up on his site so make sure you stop by and check it out. His artist statement for Hurry up and Wait:

In this photographic series, Hurry up and Wait, I am illustrating the mental struggle that one experiences during simple repetitive tasks. My interest with humans’ affinity for boredom comes from my own unrealistic lack of patients and an incessant urge to keep in motion. Repeated failures and unwavering daily routines fuel me to express bottled up frustration by creating universally accessible images.


[me] When you first started this work, when and how did you decide black and white would best communicate your idea?

I started into this work with intentions to shoot monochromatic film with the 4x5 view camera because I knew the power that certain color palates have on the emotional interpretation of art works and I wanted to minimize those variables and concentrate on lighting and tonality. More importantly, I felt that working in black and white complimented my intentions to create timeless spaces that are absent of contemporary references.


[me] Your austere environment hints at a modern world yet the notable absence of technology creates a apparent tension between what we see and what we know, can you elaborate on your choice (or a choice) of visual signifiers (or a visual signifier)?

[ryan] I chose to limit the presence of technology and instead employ physical activities to further the underlying theme of futility in my work.

The fact that technology exists to push water out of a shower head or move furniture from place to place is the very reason why it is absent in these images. Knowing that viewers will pick up on this tension will hopefully solidify the notion that my character is working against the world. This series, Hurry Up and Wait, is an exploration of human nature, touching on the idea that there is always something better around the corner and I find myself constantly taking one step forward and two steps back as a direct result of my own ambitions. This work displays an environment devoid of helpful devices which sometimes complicate life as much as they intend to simplify as we sometimes do in everyday life.

[me] Your work in the series "hurry up and wait" comes from a very personal place, the images and performance work together to create a deeply compelling series, has this led you to any new personal discoveries or in turn influenced other work in new ways?

[ryan] Working on this series has been extremely helpful in my outlook on the way I live along with putting my life under a microscope and exploring all of my frustrations and fascinations with physical activities. Having to be creative in devising counter productive problem solving techniques like in the image with the cinder block has inversely improved my productive behaviors in life. I am also more aware the creative methods of others and gaining insight on how our world is truly held together with duct tape and string. I find more and more that random objects interest me like they would interest McGyver in a life or death scenario. I was just about to mow the lawn and I fell in love with a patch of weeds.

[me] What's the current format of the series? Where can we see it?

The exhibition size is 16x20" Archival Inkjet Prints matted in 20x24" frames. About 10 images from the series will be shown in the Senior Photography Exhibition at the Enterprise Center in Ruston, Louisiana with an opening reception on April 30th at 6:30PM to 8PM. The series is also on my website along with work from other projects.

Really great stuff. Again, huge thanks to Ryan for wanting to be apart of my discussion series.

More to come so check back later...