How did you get into making art?
My background in art comes from my admiration for photography. During my teenage years, I was very influenced by my friend, Tara Johnson (Visuals Director, Vanity Fair), who was studying photography with the School of Visual Arts while I was still in high school. Around 2008, she lent me a copy of Richard Renaldi’s “Figure & Ground” (Aperture, 2006) that influenced me to start using the camera with more intention and seriousness. By 2010, I was living in Portland, OR studying photography with the Pacific Northwest College of Art where I would build my foundation for art making. When I consider the pivotal moments of when I was becoming invested in art, I think about the hours Tara and I would spend talking about photographs as teenagers. Receiving Renaldi’s book was so important in developing my own visual language long before I would study photography.
What are you currently working on?
For the last decade I’ve been using eBay as my primary resource for collecting materials that I utilize in my studio practice that focuses on methods of appropriation and assemblage. Specifically, I collect vernacular photographs prior to the Gay Liberation Movement of the 1970’s to consider the dependency between photography and LGBTQ+ History during a time of invisibility for queer life. These images usually depict two or more men in intimate moments of embrace in photo booth prints where the role of photographer is in the power of the two subjects. I present these photographs with original eBay listings and postage materials addressed to me over the years in the form of installation and assemblage.
Alongside collecting vernacular photographs, I work with high school and college yearbooks that date prior to the Gay Liberation Movement of the 1970’s. I appropriate from the grid format of school portraits by using an empty 35mm slide mount to guide through the pages, finding moments where men are situated shoulder to shoulder, and create compositions from those discoveries. This process is similar to what I search for in the photographs from eBay and results in printmaking and installation.
I was inspired by the layers of meaning in the photographs.
Ryan Patrick Krueger
What inspired you to get started on this body of work?
My current project, “On Longing”, started when I was twenty years old and became invested in collecting vernacular photographs seriously. What inspired me to start this project was the lack of curriculum for LGBTQ+ History in the United States and how photography can be insightful to the ambiguity of LGBTQ+ History before the Gay Liberation Movement. When I first began to collect these images, I was inspired by the layers of meaning in the photographs, and how for me, they were visible of a male intimacy that was unfamiliar, sublime, and was the first time I saw a potential happiness and joy for queer life that one day could be obtainable with the understanding of this photographic object that held so much potentcy and hope.
Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?
I work specifically on long term projects while taking a broader approach to installation and presentation methods with my collection of vernacular photographs in exhibition form.
What’s a typical day like in your studio?
A typical day is bidding on eBay and having new photographs delivered to my home on a consistent basis.
Who are your favorite artists?
My favorite artist ever was Albert J Winn and his project “My Life Until Now”.
Where do you go to discover new artists?
Sharing other artists work with friends has been a great and important resource to discover new work over the years. Speficially, I enjoy supporting emerging galleries and project spaces such as Rivalry Projects (Buffalo, NY) and Melanie Flood Projects (Portland, OR) who program cutting edge exhibitions dedicated to photography.
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