Below is an interview done with Australian Graphic Artist Shane Ryan. He was kind enough to answer some questions and sent a long some samples of his work. I hope you enjoy the insight into Shane’s work and his mind. Be sure you check out the four pieces of his art that he shared with us at Horror Addicts within this post.
Q1. As your website states you have been creating your works since you’ve been able to hold a pencil in your little “claws”. Can you remember what that first drawing was and how did your family react when you showed it to them?
A: I can’t recall one specific piece really, as far as I remember all my drawings were of a dark nature, the fact that everything I’d draw was horror related did cause some concern for my parents when I first started, but lucky for me they knew someone studying to be a psychologist, after he told them they had nothing to worry about I was free to draw as many horrible images as my little dark heart desired. The only people who took some convincing I wasn’t a Michael Myers in disguise were my school teachers. Can’t say I blame them, when you flip through my old school books they start with pages full of school work, page by page though the school work was gradually consumed by collages of monstrous creatures and hideous scenes of horror, to them it probably appeared as if I had been possessed by evil spirits, in truth I just had an overriding passion for art and not much of a liking for Math’s and English class.
Q2. People wait for that moment when they get confirmation that their work is being excepted by a broad audience. Do you remember that moment and the image?
A: For me it was a series of events which sealed the deal, which have only taken place over the last 5 years. Firstly winning an open fantasy art competition that was open Australia wide, considering the event was aimed more at fantasy art rather than horror I must admit I was quite surprised when I received the call the next day that I’d been picked for the judges award, next was being featured by Fangoria and finally having my piece Chaos Factory accepted into the group show Damned II in the U.S. Having my work in a group show with so many renowned dark artists’ including one of my early inspirations (H.R.Giger) was the icing on the cake.
Q3. During your career have there ever been moments that you felt like this was the wrong line of work? If so, what kept you going, and what is the job you would be doing? If never an issue what has kept your drive alive?
A: In the early stages it was honestly fairly daunting, there was a number of times I questioned whether I’d made the right decision pursuing a career in the arts or not, it’s got to be better than working as a labourer in construction though and that’s what I was doing before I started art full time. What helped me to keep going is overtime I’ve come to realize that making a career from your art is like a long steep climb up a treacherous mountain with many wrong turns and pitfalls. I’ve learnt to accept that the highs and lows are all part of the game so I tend to not let the negative parts get to me and just concentrate on hiking up that mountain, at least through trial and error I’ve got better at choosing the right path most of the time and learn’t how to avoid the pitfalls a bit better.
Q4. As you work on your art do you find yourself often having to correct an error, or toss a piece out as the image does not go the way you want?
A: There’s always things that need to be adjusted as you work to bring the whole piece together, all the elements of an image need to work as one and this sometimes calls for quite a bit of tinkering before you nail it. I started drawing using ball point pens and from that developed the handy ability to be able to change or cover up my mistakes or make any changes I need to, most of the time anyway. On the rare occasion I find myself working on a piece that I feel isn’t going to work the way I planned I either try and take it down a different path which is how some of my best works have been created or I keep it and use it for reference for when I attempt the piece again, it’s an artist’s mistakes that teach them the way to do something right after all so it’s always a good idea to keep them rather then throw them out, plus it gives you a better idea of how your work is evolving if you keep it all, the good and the bad.
Q5. As you grew up did you have artists that you inspired to follow?
A: Earlier on I had many artist’s that inspired me including H.R.Giger, Todd McFarlane, Clive Barker to name a few, as I started to experiment with my own style and techniques more in my early teens I began to make a conscience effort to not be influenced by other artist’s and over the years I’ve made it a priority to develop my own unique visual voice rather than allowing my work to be influenced by others.
Q6. Have you been able to meet any of these artists over the years?
A: Unfortunately not in person no, being based in Australia there’s not a great lot of opportunity to. I have met and had dealings with many peers and industry people online through social networking and aim to catch up with a number of them in person when I eventually hit the U.S. hopefully sometime soon to work on some film projects that are possibly on the horizon.
Q7. Where do you get your inspiration from for your artwork?
A: I take inspiration from a whole range of things including, music, films, criminal psychology and news reports. But again I try not to draw concepts that are influenced to directly by whatever has inspired the piece I’m working on, I try to use forms of inspiration to set the mood of the work without being a direct influence on the piece. Although I don’t really find I need to take inspiration from outside my own imagination these days, I guess you could say after three decades of conjuring up horror images I have more than enough macabre imagery stored away in this imagination of mine to use it for inspiration.
Q8. Due to the dark imagery you create has there ever been a case that a work has brought you, or possibly a fan to have nightmares?
A: I quite often have dreams of zombie outbreaks and killer hill billies but I’d have to say I draw more from my dreams then the other way around. I had a dream with some really bizarre creatures the other night actually that I’m going to use, I’ve done a few sketches of them but as yet haven’t got them quite right, like I said their bizarre and not like anything I’ve drawn or seen before. As for a fan having a nightmare about my work I can’t really say I’ve heard of any, perhaps none have lived to tell the tale.
Q9. Do you as an artist have a dream job, or showcase you wish you could have?
A: I’d love to host a haunted attraction over ran by my dark creations here in Australia, there’s next to no haunted attractions here and there should be I say, plus seeing my work bring the fear factor up to 11 first hand would be awesome. My life time goal is to eventually build up a horror company covering all forms of creative horror, art and design, film production, music, figurines. As for show cases I’d love the opportunity to one day have an exhibition at Giger’s Gallery nothing else would be that.
Q10. If you could write your own eulogy, what is the one thing besides your art would you like to be known for?
A: I’d like to be remembered as someone who helped get other people get into the industry and also for introducing the world to a number of unknown horror artists, including my nephew, when it comes to art he’s definitely following in my footsteps, he’s going to be better than me one day I can see it. I’d like to leave a bread crumb trail along that treacherous mountain path (art career) for him to follow. Basically I’d like to be known as someone who helped people turn their dreams into reality, that’s a legacy I’d like to leave.
Q11. Lastly any little secrets you want to share, like maybe you have a secret love for My Little Ponies or other cute type of things?
A: Do they make Living Dead Ponies? Honestly I’d say about as cutesy as I go is Ren and Stimpy, that’s about as light relief as I need. Other than that it’s Horror, horror and horror for me, always has been always will be, does that make me a Horror Addict?
Where to find Shane on the Web:
Gallery and store at www.graphichorror.com
Available for all types of horror art projects, film, music, posters, anything as long as it’s Horrible.
Contact with enquiries through the site or