BY Erin Pfaeffle
School: The Sage School
Siblings: Younger brother Milo, 13
Styles: Artist of many mediums
There isn’t an art medium that Andrew Ryason can’t master. From his humble beginnings of drawing manga (a comic art form from Japan) with pencils during elementary school, to his recent creation of a leather and copper-riveted great helm (a medieval helmet), Andrew’s artistic ability is diverse and impressive. Sitting down to speak with him was like getting a semester’s worth of an art survey course in an hour. There is no doubt this young man has a colorful future ahead of him.
How long have you been an artist?
I first started to draw in 4th grade when my parents gave me some step-by-step guidebooks for drawing manga. From there I spread out and did things on my own. I worked on my technique for a really long time, just continuously drawing, drawing and drawing.
How did you get into it?
It really started with those manga books and since then I have taken numerous art classes, mostly through the Sun Valley Center for the Arts. When I was in middle school and high school at Wood River I would hang out in the art rooms and just draw.
Where do you practice?
I’ve had incredible opportunities to take classes locally, mostly through the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, and study with local and visiting artists. Otherwise, if I have a sketch book with me, I will sketch wherever I am. I also paint and draw in my room a lot, even though I get in trouble for that because I have carpeted floors!
What are the keys to being good at it?
Pencil, paper, and tons of practice! Take classes as much as you can, absorb like a sponge and learn as much as you can. Try new mediums until you are comfortable with one and then keep doing it.
What are your greatest achievements so far?
My greatest achievement is that I am able to get my schoolwork done. With the help of a tutor I have figured out a system of how to learn using art forms for memorization. School is rigorous and you have to be engaged and I’m proud of actually doing something in school.
Why is the Wood River Valley a good place for your skills & passions?
Art surrounds me, it’s literally everywhere. There are lots of artists willing to help you if you’re willing to ask them. It’s amazing what you can find in this tiny community—big opportunities with lots of interesting people to meet and learn from.
Any tips to for people new to being an artist?
If you see a piece of art in this community that you like you can usually easily find out who created it. Call them up. Ask them for help.
Who iare your biggest influences?
Currently the biggest influences in my life are spray paint artist Percy Fortini-Wright and local sculptor Tom Tiege.
What’s your favorite flavor ice cream?
Salted Caramel from Seattle.
Who is your hero?
My family. They deal with me, help me through things and give me tons of support.
What’s your favorite “kids” meal?
Mexican food and sushi.
Do you participate in any other hobbies/activities?
In the summer I am part of the Belegarth group of foam fighters (a Medieval Combat Society) and in the winter I ski with the Sun Valley Free Ride team.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess and Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
I listen to such a wide range of music that it’s too hard to choose.
Place you’d most like to visit?