We had the good fortune of connecting with Kyle Richer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kyle, how do you think about risk?
When it comes to risk taking, I always try my hardest to constantly step outside of my comfort zone. With that often comes learning new things, trying new things, and of course being a bit uncomfortable from time to time. When I think about risk, I think about doing something that I know some people may disagree with or even I may have disagreed with in the past, but doing it anyways because I know it will in some way be formative and provide me with an experience I would not otherwise have had. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found myself less afraid of the unknown and have begun to try something just for the sake of wanting to experience some sort of change. Especially after the past year of experiencing a pandemic while simultaneously finishing my bachelor’s degrees and entering my professional career as a creative, I have been reminded how important it is to try something and not like it than it is to never try something at all. If I try something and didn’t like it, at least I was doing something and I learned something about myself. When I think about this in the context of art making and design, I think about how important it is that I always keep this kind of “I’m going to throw just about anything at the wall until something sticks” mentality that I have. I like when my work surprises people, evokes a feeling of nostalgia, or even makes them laugh. If I’m not constantly trying new things and pushing the boundaries of what my work can look like, I’m missing out on opportunities to evoke feeling and connection with the people who consume it.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As a graphic designer and illustrator, I absolutely love color, texture, and found ephemera. I love using already existing imagery that is completely removed from its original context and reimagined in a way that feels completely unrecognizable. I always say that if my home burnt down, the first two things I would grab before anything else are my scanner and my scrap box (box of scrap pieces of paper, photos, postcards, random pieces of trash I’ve found on the ground over the years.) I like to think what sets me apart from others is my overall curiosity when it comes to not only art making, but many other aspects of my life as well. I find that if I am not putting myself in new situations, meeting new people, and asking a lot of questions, I am not enjoying myself. In regards to making work as a designer and illustrator, I always need to feel inspired and there is no better way to get inspired than trying new things and questioning everything. When people look at my work, I hope that they can tell I am a very curious person, and if they don’t feel that way, I haven’t done my job right. Currently as an in-house visual designer and freelance illustrator, I am often working to boil down all of the thoughts and ideas I have collected both literally and in my head and apply them to a very specific look or vision, which at times can feel difficult when the thoughts in my head are much more fantastical than the work is asking for. With this definitely comes a good balance in my creative process because it trains me to sometimes boil things down and that sometimes it’s good to pull back and really refine, visually. As someone who graduated university into a global pandemic, my biggest challenge as a creative was being able to curate present myself all digitally and allow for the work I do to sometimes speak for itself when looking for career opportunities, which comes back to the idea of making sure my work always portrays me as an extremely curious creative person. The biggest takeaway from all of the mistakes I’ve made and lessons I’ve learned along the way is to always strive to challenge convention and always trust yourself. When building a brand or style, the person who knows what’s best for you is yourself. Being receptive to feedback is always good, but never feel obligated to do something or change based on what someone else says unless you really, truly believe it yourself.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am forever thankful to anyone in my life who has and always will be honest with me when I ask for feedback about work I am doing and the extremely creative and powerful women who taught me everything I know as art and design educators in my life. I would also like to thank illustrator Julia Rothman, whose work I saw in a gallery at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2016 and immediately inspired me to learn what it meant to be an illustrator and how I could eventually become one myself.
Portrait of myself (blue and green lighting) Photographed by Noah Tavares. (https://noahtavares.com) Credit is not required as I have rights to use image, but if it is able to be included that would be awesome!