Artist Spotlight: Ryan Perkins

Ryan Perkins

studied sculpture, printmaking and graphic design at the University of Utah, and now works at the University’s Genetic Science Learning Center as a designer, illustrator and animator. He enjoys making goofy comics of anthropoid animals and screenprinting ice cream cones, and is super excited for the zines to come!

  1. What is your artist name?
    Ryan Perkins
  2. Which city are you currently working from?
    Salt Lake City, Utah
  3. What is your education, professional experience, awards, etc.
    I have a bachelor’s degree in art, and have been working as a graphic designer, animator, and illustrator for a decade at the Genetic Science Learning Center, a science website at the University of Utah.
  4. What is your personal creative background? (When did you start, what did you do? Where did it go from there?)
    I can’t recall a time I wasn’t drawing, and I just never quit!
  5. Who are your main influences?
    It’s tough to narrow down influences, but I find that I keep going back to Seymour Chwast, Henrik Dreschler, Julie Mehretu and Jillian Tamaki.
  6. What type of artist would you call yourself primarily? 
    Tie between illustrator and printmaker.
  7. What other types of art do you enjoy?
    I also enjoy building furniture and playing the banjo.
  8. When you joined Art Office, what did your creative practice look like? (What were you working on, how often, how well?)
    When I joined Art Office, I had a few project ideas in the hopper, and was working on them sporadically, but not with a whole lot of direction or intention.
  9. What are some challenges and strengths that you had at that time?
    As ever, I had deadlines creep up at my job, which necessitated additional work on evenings and weekends, making it harder to spend time on projects for Art Office.
  10. How did Art Office play a role in addressing those challenges and strengths?
    Art Office provided structure and accountability for off-work hours in a way that’s impossible to get on my own.
  11. What was one thing that stood out in your time in the program, that helped you in some way or showed you a new way of thinking about something?
    Art Office helped to make clear that breaking up a project into small pieces can make it much more manageable.
  12. What was your final project/presentation?
    My final work included a small comic book I screen-printed, a screen-printed map/zine of Iowa City bike routes, and a typeface.
  13. What tools has Art Office given you to apply to your daily practice outside the program?
    I actually learned to give myself credit for making continual progress I make on projects, even if it is slow—that did and will help me stay motivated.
  14. Name one thing you would change about Art Office?
    I wish that Art Office hadn’t been an entirely virtual program, but that was the fault of the pandemic!
  15. What are you working on now?
    At the moment, I’m working on a few different little comic books, some I’ll screen-print, and others I’ll print on the Risograph, a printer my girlfriend and I recently acquired.
  16. What are your professional/creative goals?
    With each project, I want to continue to challenge myself. I’d like to be surprised at
  17. What is your dream project?
    My dream project would be to produce a long-form comic book/graphic novel. The subject—i don’t know yet!
  18. Any plugs? Social media, events, collaborations?
    My most recent collaboration was with my friend, Kagan Breitenbach, who’s a composer and singer. He produced an album called Bloody Cabaret with a string quartet and a rock duo, and I created the album artwork (attached) and titles for the album’s film. You can see/hear it all here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1XB0NwYdug
  19. Where can people find you online?
    People can find me on Instagram at @bigfunslc, and on my website at www.ryanperkins.net
  20. Where might people find you on a Sunday afternoon?
    On a Sunday afternoon, you can usually find me either working on some art at home, or just lazing about, if the Sunday scaries have gotten me too bad.