Ryan De La Hoz

Nika Carlson
Ryan De La Hoz


In the 1990s, San Francisco created some noise on the contemporary art scene by spitting out talent like Barry McGee and Chris Johanson, artists whose influences lay solely within the common vernacular. Today, Ryan De La Hoz continues these themes by reconfiguring a pop aesthetic into thoughtful experimentation.

Describe your artistic path. Where you a doodler as a kid? Did you go to art school?

When I was a kid, I lived for Ninja Turtles and Batman. I drew that kind of stuff ever since I was little. In high school, I had a really great art teacher who gave me the freedom and courage to start making a body of work, and I just kept going from there. I went to art school very briefly and realised it was not for me. My path has been very slow and natural.

What artists inspire you?

Henry Darger, Tove Jansson, Ryan Travis Christian, Eric Yahnker, Brion Nuda Rosch, Chris Duncan.

Any contemporaries?

Some artists that are around my age and are doing great things are Gideon Chase, Devin Troy Strother, and Morgan Blair, to name a few.

Your pieces are quite varied. They range from mixed-medium installations, pen and ink drawings, photo collaborations all the way to a T-shirt. Do you have a favourite?

Installation has to be my favourite because it can contain elements of everything. Lately, I have been into making physical forms—work that can occupy the middle ground between the public and the wall in a gallery space. Video work is also something that I am looking forward to.

What do you want people to take away from seeing your work? I sense humour and innocence lying within loneliness and isolation.

I am inspired by what can happen to someone who breaks free from any form of oppression, physical or mental. I think that I make my best work when I am recollecting on a time where I may have felt lost or lonely and have since recovered. This mentality may be similar to the idea of listening to a sad song when you are absolutely content and happy. My life is anchored in a sense of hope—whether this comes out in the artwork is up to the viewer. I am not interested in telling people what to think.

Do you have any type of process? Is there a typical art-making day?

In my art-making practice, I just try and do what I feel. I usually get a concept ready by making multiple thumbnails on receipt tape, Post-it notes, etc. I refer back to them as a starting point when I get to my studio. I always, always start at night. If I am really excited about a piece, it can keep me up until four in the morning.

What would be your goal as an artist?

I would like to make things until the day I die. I would like to be excited forever.

Where can we see your work next?

Well, I am going to do some music video work for a new terroreyes.tv project. Recently, however, I've had a print come out through Museums Press as well as my new zine, entitled I Know You Know You're Not Living the Good Life.

We've been pretty serious. Why don't you tell me a joke?

Knock knock.

Who's there?


To who?

To whom.