We had the good fortune of connecting with Ryan Tesluk and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ryan, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
One piece of conventional advice that I don’t agree with is the notion that one can achieve success through hard work alone. Throughout my life, I have found that such efforts do not lead to favorable outcomes. Rather, what makes or breaks an individual’s chance of success is whether a person encounters at least one individual who likes them and has enough power and influence to give the former the break they need to get ahead. While many have respect for industrious individuals, not every benefactor will. Thus the preferences of the powerful make the world go around. Not love.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a biting sociopolitical artist who paints on magazine pages, maps, and other used surfaces. I also have an incredible studio space at the FM collective in Oakland, which I share with nine other incredible artists. My path into the art world, however, was an unorthodox one. Throughout my childhood and teens, I enjoyed drawing detailed fictional maps of a reimagined California. It wasn’t until I was 22, however, that I chose to pursue an artistic career. Through the help of my family and Milt Bullard, a Modesto-based art tutor, I found an excellent BFA program at Dominican University of California. It was during those four years that I gained a well-rounded education in both traditional and digital mediums. Upon graduating in 2018, however, I transitioned from mostly drawing to becoming a painter. As my first studio space was my bedroom, however, I found that I did not have the space nor environment to paint acrylic on canvas. I thus began to paint gouache on smaller magazine pages and maps. While I now have a large, separate studio space of my own, gouache and paper are still my go-to mediums.
The most difficult part of my artistic career so far was the first few years after college. Like many graduates, it was a challenge to adjust to the real world after spending most of my life in school. I was able to overcome this, however, by following a piece of advice from one of my professors. Steven Polacco, whom I had as an instructor for a few graphic design classes, told me to not dwell on the future and just make work. While those first few years were a challenge, I found that producing paintings on a prolific scale steered me in the right direction and led to my recent success.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The Bay Area has many places I would take a friend to. For superb japanese food, go to Kansai (in Oakland’s Temescal district). For a vintage arcade experience, visit to the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda to play their decades-old collection of machines. I also recommend barhopping among the dozens of beer gardens and watering holes in Downtown Oakland. This can be followed by dancing to superb house music at Halcyon or 1015 Folsom (both in San Francisco). I highly suggest visiting the venerable (and primarily BIPOC) Oakland first Fridays Street fair. Held during the first friday of each month near my studio, this amazing festival provides much needed foot traffic to nearby arts spaces and exposure to vendors that wouldn’t financially survive without it. Unfortunately ever-increasing police and fire fees charged by the city of Oakland could permanently cancel this cultural jewel of an event to be gone forever. I would highly recommend donating to it via this link: https://gofund.me/f2e9062c
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate this shoutout to my parents for believing in and supporting me in doing what I love for my career. I would not be where I am now without their love and devotion. I would also like to thank my amazing cat, Bob, for keeping me on my toes and comforting me during my darkest hours. He is living proof that there is still so much good in this world and that there always will be.
Other: TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@ryanimatingtheworld?lang=en