Ryan McGinness Charts His Childhood as a Skater and Illustrator

Ryan McGinnes was born in Virginia Beach, VA. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon College of Fine Arts, Pittsburgh, PA. He has worked as a Curatorial Assistant for the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA.  He lives and works in New York City. 
  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Question: How did your childhood influence your art?

McGinness:    Well, you know, because Virginia Beach primarily this skate and surf culture, it’s… a lot of the things that surrounds the people there are valued according to the brands, I guess.  And so from a very early age, I… from a very early age I was noticing how branding and logos and images on objects created or rather increase the proceed values of those objects and so, you know, certainly while I grew up at the beach and skateboarding, I was never really good at any of those activities but what I really… I guess was good at, to some extent, was kind of emulating those graphics and logos because I couldn’t afford the cool brand so I would make my own shirts and paint on my own skateboards and those objects in turn, almost ironically, became valued by other people and so there’s a… I started to understand how that worked and I wanted to assume that power and that’s what kind of leads me to my interest in graphic design.  And so from Virginia Beach, I was in Virginia Beach from kindergarten to 12th grade.  I went to study graphic design at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. 

Question: What did your parents do?

McGinness:    My father was primarily computer systems analyst and was also a stockbroker for awhile and my mother did a variety of odd jobs and she also made a lot of things that she sold, kind of crafts, you know, we had a garage full of jigsaws and sanding belts and tools, woodworking tools and so I was always in an environment of making things and creating things and furthermore making things for herself.  So a lot of my toys growing up were homemade toys, cars made out of chunks of wood with milk carton lids for wheels and things like that, yeah. 


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