AUSTIN, Texas — It’s certainty heating up here in Austin – and so is our next guest with her art, passion and her invention of ‘StripTok’ – Say what?!
Let me explain.
On a blistering hot Thursday afternoon, I set out to Halcyon on 4th street to meet up with our next artistical gifted guest.
Please welcome, Ryan.
What You Need To Know
- Commissioned Artist
- Can beat you in basketball and Fortnite.
- Invented ‘StripTok’
By the time I arrive from my five block bike ride I’m already dripping In sweat. I head inside and see Ryan sitting at a table in the corner with Electric Jellyfish tallboy in hand.
“It’s been a day; I needed a beer” She says with a smile.
I decided to join her on her beer drinking excursion – I grab a can, sit down and we get into it.
“I was born and raised in Houston, and I went to school in Arkansas for PR – but art has honestly always been my passion even from a young age” Ryan describes. “In college I started an art business. I was in a sorority, and everyone saw me painting in my free time and wanted to buy a piece – from there, it sort of just took off.”
This newly curated business started to grow.
“It went on like this for about six months where it was really just word of mouth – then a friend said I needed to make an art focused Instagram and initially I was like hell no” Ryan explains with a laugh. “Finally in 2017 I decided to make an account, built a website, made business cards – and started running everything myself for these past six years or so.”
If you haven’t checked out Ryan’s Instagram or TikTok – now’s your chance. Her art is unique, abstract and most importantly – a vision into who she is as a person. Oh, by the way, did I mention she invented ‘StripTok’- Want to know more?
“So, I made this video for TikTok where I started off saying ‘It’s time to strip’ but I’m not talking about me, I’m talking about stripping old paint off the table I work on.” We both laugh out loud. “I had no idea it would blow up the internet”. The video Ryan is talking about has over 14 million views.
Being an artist is about expressing yourself through your work and sharing that with whoever it connects with. Social media has provided all of us the ability to find fun ways to reach audiences – and sometimes that’s what’s needed for others to see the value of what we create, like in Ryan’s case.
I wanted to know more about what inspires Ryan.
“Inspiration for me constantly changes. I get a lot from pop culture and modern art” Ryan explains. “I love the use of color and texture. Clothing architecture and music is the best way to describe it – similar to what you would see on Hypebae’s Instagram”
So, what’s the future look like?
“The end goal is to do art full time again – I did it full time back in 2021 for 6 months, but the starving art lifestyle was hard. I really want to wait till it just flows and I can have fun and be relaxed vs. being stressed about making sales to live.” Ryan describes. “I started painting and doing art for me originally and it’s a plus that so many people want to buy pieces from me – maybe one day I’ll do it full time again, but for now I enjoy juggling art and my day job”
Ryan has shipped art to all 50 states and has sent pieces to London, Austria, Canada, and Switzerland to name a few. As Ryan hinted at previously “Social media has done wonders for me.”
We pivot to look deeper at what makes Ryan, Ryan.
“I grew up very conservative Christian. I was taught if you’re gay you’re going against Gods will– but my older brother actually came out when he was in college” Ryan explains. “But at that time I thought I was still into guys – but that changed freshman year of college when my friend made a move on me and I was like – oh shit, I like girls” Ryan describes with a smile.
“From there, I had friends from high school and college who didn’t approve and would say I’m sinning and going against gods will if I engage in these activities, and I tried to fight the feelings I was having for years. It’s unfortunate because I lost some friends through this process – but, my parents have been supportive and I bring my girlfriend around them now and it’s really sweet” Ryan explains. “Like I was saying, loosing people I was close to was hard – but I feel like I finally found the people who love and support me most.”
We close in typical fashion.
“Trusting your gut and making time for yourself is extremely important. The biggest thing I wish I did for myself at an earlier age was to listen to myself and what I want and what I want to do with my life vs. the noise.” Ryan explains. “It’s hard in this day and age to look at social media and what everyone else is doing and compare that to our life – whenever I re-center myself – through painting or even when I came out in college – it all happened because I listened to myself.”
As a fellow creative, Ryan’s story is inspiring – the creative process can be tedious, and I’ve found that anytime I’ve tried to force anything – it never turns out good. Art is about flowing, feeling what your body feels, seeing what you see – and letting all of this come to you in a natural, organic way. Ryan embodies this. Her work inspires. She inspires. She paints what she feels and listens to herself.
In life, it doesn’t matter what our destination is – it’s different for all of us, what’s important is to paint the canvas the way you want – we all have blanks templates, we just need to take that first brush stroke and let the art we create for ourselves, flow.