Each week we ask a Seattle artist to answer 11 personal questions. Last week, Susan Melrath. This week, Ryan Molenkamp!
WHY ARTSYO DIGS RYAN MOLENKAMP:
Ryan’s work is darkly beautiful. His abstracted Northwest landscapes are full of catastrophe: erupting volcanoes, cracking rocks, flash floods.
Ryan has lived in the Pacific Northwest for most of his life, and he remembers being 3 years old when Mount St. Helens erupted just a few hours away. Fear of Volcanoes is a nod to the enduring impression of that early experience.
ELEVEN PERSONAL QUESTIONS:
Where is your studio? I have worked in all sorts of spaces, from a 6′ x 10′ raw, dank windowless single door “pantry” space in my friend’s basement apartment, to a loft studio that was right above the peanut sellers for Mariner’s games, but these days I’m working from home on First Hill, taking over the dining room and spilling paint all over my carpet, but don’t tell my landlord that.
Native Seattleite or transplant? I’m PNW born and bread, with a short stint in wild Alaska. I’m from just north, Lake Stevens, where much of my family still reside and where I go swimming whenever I can.
What’s on your studio soundtrack? I could write you an epic novel about the different bands and music I’ve listened to through the years, while painting madly for hours – how it has become such an important part of my practice, how influential it is upon my work, but no one wants to read that, right? Instead, lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Ratatat Vol. 2 Mix Tapes (especially the songs with Biggie on them), The Walkman, Come, Slow Magic, Still Corners, and so many other things…I’m presently listening to We Were Promised Jet Packs as I write this line.
I will add that there are, occasionally, these moments, typically when listening to some instrumental rock like Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky, where I lose myself in painting and the sound and am almost on autopilot…not to sound too ridiculous, but in those moments everything else really does drain away.
Who is your art history crush? Oh my – I’d say Lee Brontecou and Peter Doig, but they are both actively making art works, as is Gerhard Richter, whose writing has been a big influence – but if we are truly talking about a bygone era, then Pieter Bruegel, aka Bruegel the Elder, not that I would want to date him, but damn, the imagery of those works….this also reminds me, I need to watch The Mill and the Cross, in which no less than Rutger Hauer plays Bruegel.
What is your favorite Seattle summer activity? Sitting around a campfire with a bit of drink, having hiked up some mountain that day. (I guess that’s more of a regional activity, but what other cultural city is so close to such things all the time?)
Where is the best coffee in town? Mexi-coke
What is the last book you read? Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art From Egypt to Star Wars by Camile Paglia – good stuff for anyone who wants a nice, entertaining and clean and highly opinionated summation of art history – kind of a cliff notes of art history.
What is your most treasured possession? My young, growing art collection – don’t make me choose a favorite! Although, Jennifer Zwick’s Self Portrait as an Effing Cheetah always brings a smile to my face.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had? Stripping peeling paint off of houses on an extended ladder 25′ in the air, by myself, and encountering a yellow jacket nest up there.
What super power would you like to have? I wouldn’t mind owning Super Woman’s Lasso of Truth, that could come in handy.
What is your favorite piece on Artsyo (that’s not yours)? Brown’s Bible by Guy Laramee – now you know what to get me for my birthday.
See more of Ryan Molenkamp’s work on Artsyo.