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Interview With Artist Chris Ryniak

Chris Ryniak is one of those unmistakable artists that you could recognize his work a mile away. I can't remember the fist time I saw his art but I believe I first saw his pencil drawings of the crazy little monsters he draws every day. I was even more blown away by his sculptures. It's obvious he has a lot of patience and loves meticulous little details. If you love his work, and want more access to it, you should consider supporting his Patreon page . I hope you enjoy getting to know him a little better. 
When looking at your work it’s hard to define what you are, an illustrator, a sculptor, a cartoonist, a fine artist, a commercial artist, toy designer, etc. How do you classify yourself? How do you describe to people what you do?
I define myself as an artist when people ask what I do for a living, but it gets complicated when they ask to explain further.  I've had to learn every skill that's important to my business, but even that is complicated.  Basically, I design characters that exist within the brand that is Chris Ryniak in multiple forms across product and art categories.  I sculpt, draw, paint, design, mold cast, and whatever else it takes to support the brand.  

Your monsters are amazing, when did you start drawing them?
Thanks a lot!  I've been drawing monsters since I can remember.  I have sketchbooks full of them from when I was 9 or 10.

How long have you been drawing a critter a day?
I've been carrying a sketchbook and drawing every day since college, but I never showed it to anyone publicly.  After some prodding from a colleague, I began uploading them in 2011.  I usually do 4-5 new ones a week.  I'm over 800 at this point.

How did you get into sculpting your characters? What is your process in creating them?
I had been invited to some gallery shows that involved customizing existing designer toy platforms.  I originally just painted on them, but then began adding clay and sculpted elements to them.  Eventually I just started sculpting my own characters and was asked to sculpt masters for toy projects, the rest is history.

Have you always been an independent artist? What other jobs have you had and how did you make the transition to full time artist?
I began as a freelance editorial illustrator working mostly for magazines.  Since then I've worked as a newspaper designer, a college illustration teacher and for 12 years as a greeting card illustrator.  I've only been independent since Nov of 2015, and it's been the best decision I've ever made.   It took a long time of building up enough of a reputation that I could make a living on my own work, but I think I finally did it.

How long have you had your Patreon page and how is that going for you? 
This is my second year on Patreon, and it's going great.  It's much like my career though, without the cultivated following, I don't think it would have been as successful as it is.   Patreon is a wonderful company, I have nothing but good things to say about what they are doing.

What projects do you have for the future? Monster movies, amusement parks, lunch boxes?
Lots of projects from art shows, conventions to more consumer products and toys.  It's an evolving business and new opportunities are always presenting themselves, so the sky is the limit!

Any advice for artists who want to level up their art?
Work on it EVERY SINGLE DAY and don't make excuses.  The thing I keep hearing from young people is " I wish I was a good artist", but wishing never got anyone anywhere.  It takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice to get to where you want to be.  I would also stress the importance of pushing yourself to draw or paint or sculpt the things that are challenging to you, you can learn a lot from finding your boundaries.  Also, BE YOUR OWN ARTIST, there is a time and place for fan art, but don't make it your career.  Make your own mark and carve your own path!

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