Ryan Travis Christian

The underside of America

Ryan Travis Christian (he/him) was born 1983 in California, USA. He currently lives and works in Chicago, Illinois.

Inspirations

In the 1990s Christian was part of the rave scene in California, where he grew up. He partied, and used the experiences as a way to understand a side of American subculture.

In their words

Christian lives in Northern Illinois: “I’ve stayed in my comfort zone, that’s for sure. Why be some nobody in New York when I can be the fuckin’ King of Warrenville?"

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Collaborations with Ryan Travis Christian

Avant Arte and Ryan Travis Christian have one upcoming collaboration.

Practice overview

Is American society a complete travesty? Ryan Travis Christian makes monochrome cartoons that ask precisely that. His illustrated scenes are cynical and funny. Most of all, his work is inspired by his experiences of small-town countercultures – from raves and skateboarding to underground music. Christian is also a huge champion of old, hand-drawn cartoons. Rubber hose animation is a notable influence. This is the classic, hand-drawn style of cartoon seen in programmes like Mickey Mouse. For Christian, modern-day digital animation is wholly distasteful. He keeps things analogue in the studio too – carefully creating his intricate drawings with charcoal and graphite on paper.

Satire is at the heart of Christian’s cartoons. He flips the American dream on its head. FLIRTATIOUS EAGLE (2021) pokes fun at nationalism. The eagle – a symbol of American patriotism – has its anus transformed into a hypnotic pattern. Christian also uses recurring characters throughout his work. The silly caricature from DOGS ON ACID (2022), for example, appears many times. He sees these characters as being “facets of his personality”. Christian's art is always odd and uncanny – which is exactly how he sees American culture.

“America’s sexual hangups have done noticeable damage to its citizens. My drawings are not just sexual, but also rule breaking, petty crime.“Ryan Travis Christian