We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Rybicki and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
That there is no direct route to success and tenacity is the most important tool in my toolbox. It can be easy fall into a pattern of thought along the lines of “I could be successful if only I had X” or “I can’t make it without this piece of equipment…” but in looking back, working through or around obstacles no matter how has been the most important aspect of my process. If something doesn’t work out, reassess and find a new approach. If I can’t buy a piece of equipment I find a way to make it. There is always a way forward as long as you are willing to be creative enough to find it or try it. The road to success is often not clear or direct and you shouldn’t necessarily feel like you need to model your work on others. What looks like a clear and easy process for others may not be for you, so staying committed and driven while assessing what options are available to you will take you further than a plan that falls apart.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My work of late has focused on sculpture and furniture, when not making custom work for clients A minimal design aesthetic focuses on compositions that emphasize the richness and expressive merits within selected materials. I have an affinity for skilled craft techniques and enjoy using my work to highlight such skills in a variety of materials. From brass to concrete and wood to glass enamel, my work utilizes a range of craft techniques in order to produce material compositions that build upon each other to bring out the poetic qualities in each. Currently, I am exploring combining fine metalworking techniques from my background in the metalsmithing and jewelry realm at a larger scale to produce furniture elements or sculptures. The experimentation of trying to make a process such as enameling work at a new scale is exciting to me, and I hope will provide a fresh way to experience materials for their formal qualities when disassociated from their traditional jewelry use. The process to this point felt rocky and round-about especially several years ago, when I decided to switch focus from jewelry (which I was pursuing an MFA for) to larger scale work, but now looking back I am very glad to have had education in both such a skill-based/detail oriented field as well as the construction and furniture arenas. This combination of disciplines has provided me with a wide playground of skills and processes to play within, and am appreciative of the results I’ve had combining them.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
San Diego is lucky to covers such a diverse area, it’s hard to know where to start! I’d have to mix in some beach time, with some of my favorite walks being along the rockier stretches of beach, whether it’s Torrey Pines, or North of Del Mar Dog Beach, or even North PB/Bird Rock. Lunch would be great at any of the amazing breweries, with Modern Times being one of my favorites. There’s lots of great hikes in the area, so perhaps a hike at the Elfin Forest, or out at the Mission trails system would be fun. Then an evening checking out some galleries such as Bread and Salt with dinner near the water would be great to cap it off.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My family had been enormously helpful in aiding me in my studies, and my wife Amanda is not only supportive emotionally, but physically, working alongside me on various projects-she is a talented and skilled artist in her own right.