I remember meeting this guy at an opening at Rare when it was back on 14th Street, probably around 1997 or 1998. I think he was handing out matchbooks or stickers with his puking guy icon and the word, "art" on it. Maybe. Memory is a funny thing. I think he was working at PopSmear Magazine at the time, and we spoke on the phone a few times. He put me on his mailing list, so I have some cool early postcards from him, including a metallic foil invite to the book party for "Flatness is God" that happened at B Bar. The party was fun, and I bought a book, which was originally published by Soft Skull Press (now defunct.)
I remember one phone conversation we had, where I was trying to garner some sage advice from him, and he was telling me about this book project he was working on, that is was pretty intense, and how I shouldn't get so caught up worrying about making gallery art, or getting into the galleries, etc. I was extremely impressed and inspired by the first book, and have a growing library of his publications, a few prints, and at least one tee shirt. Most recently found the issue of Arkitip he was in for half-off at the Staple clearance space down on Ludlow. I passed up buying the Peter Saville issue, which was a lot cheaper, because I wanted/needed the McGinness one.
His show earlier this year at Deitch Projects filled me full of wonder and laughter; how cool is it that he gets to make work that is so much FUN and that I find meaningful as well. I have the press release and some notes I made about that show and maybe someday I'll get around to writing something more substantial about it, but I am certainly happy to have the Arkitip catalog for it.
Was reminded all of this when SwissMiss posted a video of him working and talking about his work on her blog. The video is from Upper Playground, SF-based art/design/fashion collective, or whatever they would like to be called.
Ryan McGinness is interested in creating a new vocabulary for everyday symbols and icons through context and composition. Using layering, repetition, and juxtaposition, his complex pieces construct worlds within worlds. With his massively intricate silk-screened paintings, sculptures, and installations, hes able to blur the division between design, pop culture, and fine art. Ryan McGinnesss artwork has appeared in numerous books, magazines, and exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe.