Welcome to Dripper World: Sam Ryser on the reflective process of collating your works
Following the release of his works with Sacred Bones we chat to Sam about his approach to works which toe the line between art and graphic design.
- Lucy Bourton
- 3 March 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
In between playing in bands for years, artist and designer Sam Ryser has been busy creating an immense back catalogue of works toeing the line between art and graphic design. A heralded creative amongst his peers, his collection of artworks has now been collated together in a door stopper of a book released by record label Sacred Bones, with a title that adopts Sam’s artistic title, Dripper World.
Originally from downtown Brooklyn and now living and working out of Queens, creating visual works is a practice Sam naturally gravitated towards, recalling how “I used to get back from preschool and draw a big monster per day in my parents jewellery studio,” he tells us. “I’ve stuck with it ever since.”
Still embodying a wholly natural and distinctive approach to making work today, no matter whether it’s a record sleeve, poster, t-shirt or even skateboard design, the artist’s work is uniquely expressive in both its mark making and character design. “It all depends on the project,” adds Sam on this approach, “but I usually have tried to start with the most important information – usually the lettering – as a sort of bird's eye view of the image,” he explains. When it comes to sourcing this lettering Sam spends time scouting for type, often collecting sticker letters from stationary, hardware and dollar stores, “and keeping my eyes peeled for Letraset sheets and typography reference books,” he says. “Sometimes I download fonts from the internet if I can’t find them, but it never quite feels the same as cutting and pasting.”
Hovering above in his bird's eye approach, illustrational elements are added later, coming “into play “like the details of any scene that might emerge from ‘zooming in’ with a camera,” Sam describes. These details then loop across and around typographic elements, drawing viewers into the many characteristics which fill Sam’s works. It’s this approach which not only makes the artist’s pieces so unique, but is what caught our eye too in being so cohesive despite having so many factors.
The opportunity to create a book of his works to date came via Sam’s part playing in bands, leading him to meet Sacred Bones’ founder Caleb Landry-Jones. “I guess the idea started a while back because Caleb pitched it to me when they started making books,” Sam describes. “I told him I needed time," he laughs. "But here we are!” The actual process of making a monograph of one’s own work is an understandably daunting and reflective experience, or as Sam puts it: “Honestly, it was fucking nuts.”
Electing himself as the creator of the entire book, it was left up to the artist to curate, archive, photograph, scan and layout every image, “whether or not it finally made it into the book,” he explains. With all of the imagery then decided, the artist had a helping hand from Sacred Bones’ in-house designer, helping “with some nitty gritty facilitation, but taking all the work and whipping it into book form was yours truly… so yes, absolutely a reflective experience.”
So reflective in fact that when we ask Sam what’s he planned for the year ahead he adds, “not to be corny but, finishing this book has felt like the end of a chapter,” he tells It’s Nice That. “It represents a time where I had put my eggs in a lot of different baskets. For now, I would like to take a breather, say yes to less, and focus.”
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.