Published on August 1, 2016. Interview by 2016 Summer Intern, Nicki Sheffield: Ryan Trott is a Charlottesville based artist, illustrator and educator who participated in the 2015 annual New City Arts Artist Exchange.
Ryan is our seventh and final featured 2016 artist in our second annual 7x7x7 Series, which asks 7 questions to 7 Charlottesville artists and published once a week for 7 weeks.
If you had a free afternoon in Charlottesville what would you do or where would you go?
I would walk the Monticello Trail with my wife and baby, go thrift shopping, and drink lots of coffee.
Describe your artistic work in 7 words.
Simple, graphic, fun figures, and objects.
Who or what inspires your current work?
I’m very inspired by the artwork of my students; I teach elementary art. They have a sense of freedom that is very exciting. I particularly love seeing them draw ordinary things like shoes and tables from memory. There are a lot of great artists and illustrators working currently that I love - friends via the internet and amazing people here in town. Ken Horne and Sarah Yoder locally, Emma Crockatt and Marcus Oakley across the sea to name a couple. I find inspiration in art that is simple, colorful, and lighthearted. Also children’s book artists - Remy Charlip, Dick Bruna, Frank Asch. Lastly I would say that my recent artwork is inspired by symbols and logos, commercial signs, and things. Charlottesville has some great hand painted work on vans and buildings, I love the clean lines and simple forms.
Consider one painting or drawing you’re working on right now. Give us a snippet of your routine— from start to finish, what goes into making it?
I’ve been sketching more which is helpful, normally I would just dive into a painting or drawing without any preparation. I don’t like to draw in pencil first, I start with marker or paint. This can make the process kind of a tightrope walk that can fall apart at any time. Lately I’ve been working with acrylic paint markers, the big ones are great, it is kind of like drawing with paint.
What have you learned about yourself as a person through the experience of making art?
I like to work quickly, I’m not a perfectionist but I have really high standards for my own work. A lot of the things I tell my students are things that I need to hear as well - sketch first, take your time, don’t lose interest, see things through so that they are the best they can be!
What would you like to see happen in Charlottesville to better support artists in our community?
I would like to see more open, free interactions and communication between artists. It would be nice to have more places, gallery spaces or nontraditional environments for art happenings of different types.
What is currently on your studio/work desk?
I usually work at home, so I would say my son’s books - Goodnight Moon!
The opinions expressed in this interview are solely those of the artist and do not necessarily represent the policies or positions of NCAI.
Ryan Trott is an artist, musician and elementary art educator living and working in Charlottesville, Virginia. His work focuses on making connections between education, children’s art, illustration, and collaborative and conceptual art.