People Who Make and Do Neat Things-Kathleen Ryan

People who Make and Do Neat Things is a monthly interview in which each interviewee is asked five basic questions (who, what, where, when, why) and asked, not only to find an answer but also the question they wish to answer.

This month we get to hear from Kathleen Ryan, a senior painting major at Ball State University. Kathleen’s highly personal paintings combine elements of abstraction and image as well as tactile,textile elements, exploring the space between painting and sculpture.

by Kathleen Ryan

WHO are you?) I’m a work in progress.

(WHAT do you make?) I make greeting cards and wall warmers/decorations, or so it’s been suggested, I prefer the term ‘art’ though. My work varies a lot from representational to abstract. I enjoy experimenting with ways to abstract the figure, but mostly I use materials in different and “crafty” ways [i.e. sewing/weaving paper or fabric, suspending a painting with thread within a painting, or using materials and textures to trick the eye about the surface of the work.] I think it really lets me experiment with materials, color, form and texture, which are some big things that draw me into other artist works.

(WHERE do you go when you’re sleeping?) When I do dream I often forget them so I don’t really know. Sometimes when I wake up [or right before I fall asleep] I have solutions to my works I’ve been trying to resolve or new ideas. I’m glad that some part of my brain is always working, even if its in my unconscious.

(WHEN do you work (on your art)) I’m always working! The content of my work often comes from personal experiences. So I guess even when I’m not physically working on a piece (which seems rare), I’m preparing for future work by living… or looking/reading about art related things… or planning, I’m usually a big planner but I always leave room for “happy accidents” or complete change of direction in a pieces.

(WHY did you go into art?) I started to make art because that’s what every little kid does. Some how the school systems/society beats it out of us probably because they don’t support the arts as much as they should. I think I loved art and kept with it because I had a difficult time as a young child processing what was said to me and speaking coherently; art was a way for me to express myself and my frustrations which I would do for hours at a time after school usually refusing lunch. Yeah, I was that serious about my art, even at the age of 4. I guess it just became a part of me, and how I processed things, so I’d still be making art even if I didn’t got o school for it.

If you are an artist or person who makes and/or does Neat Things and would like to be interviewed, email your name, what it is you make or do and a sample haiku* to crlynch2 (at) gmail (dot) com.


People Who Make and Do Neat Things-Adam Houston

(Here it is! As promised! the first ever, bi-monthly interview with someone doing Neat Things.* Each interviewee is asked five basic questions (who, what, where, when, why) and asked, not only to find an answer but also the question they wish to answer.

This month we get to hear from Adam Houston, a senior painting major at Ball State University. Adam’s work ranges from highly illustrative drawings to near sculptural paintings using everything from traditional media to experimental substances such as tar and rust.

WHO would you never like to meet?
Clement Greenberg. It’d be really, really hard for me to enjoy a conversation with him, I think.

WHAT would you make if time/money were not an issue?
Well, my paintings tend to be small and inexpensive, just because of the way I’m interested in working, so really if I had an unlimited budget I’d probably focus on building a space: someplace to sleep, with studios and maybe a gallery.

ately I’ve been interested in architecture that uses recycled and reused building materials. I just don’t see much point in buying NEW things if there are perfectly acceptable used alternatives available and already made? I love the idea of raiding junkyards and warehouses to build my space: it’d be a treasure hunt of epic proportions.

WHERE do you do your best work?
NOT at home. In studios, under trees, at work, whatever. Just, NOT at home. Which, sooner or later, when studios are no longer easily available, I should work on changing. I either need to correct my studio habits so that I CAN work at home, or develop new methods of working that allow me to take my studio process anywhere. Either one has interesting prospects

WHEN do you think clearest?
I don’t. Ever. My mind is constantly buzzing and rarely focused, and more and more I’m realizing it’s a severe handicap that’s not going to get better. I just have to have the discipline to work through it.

WHY didn’t you say that?
I was small and shy and probably a little intoxicated.

BONUS- could you please write a haiku about the worst thing you ate this week?
I will never rid
my palate of bitter bug juice.
Rest in Peace, Spider.

Traveled down the road and back again (waiting for the paint to dry)

This Friday I had a completely lovely day off. Payday, a bike ride around Grandview

Grandview Ave.

(completely for fun- no angry motorists or long hours at the APCMAB to face at the end), got a SECOND library card at the Grandview library (that’s right. Two library cards. Fear and tremble at my awesome borrowing privileges), and had some of * Jenis blackberry sweetcorn ice cream AND finished the third and final installment in the Star Wars trilogy I’ve been reading.

Oh wholly craft.

I als0 went to my first art opening here in Columbus, at Wholly Craft!, which, still makes me laugh inside every time I pass it. (Mostly because in my head I say it with a strange pseudo-swedish accent for some reason…?) The store is fantastic and filled with the kind of wonderfully awkward crafty things necessary to my life, such as bacon magnets, aprons with attached beer cozies, and gender-bending paper dolls.

The show itself, put on by CAW:Creative Arts of Women, was all about the right to vote (holla!). I stumbled across an article about the group and the show in The Other paper the night before and having done some googling decided a) I wanted to be their friend and b) I wanted to go to see the advertised performances if nothing else.

My notes/doodle from the evening before say it all:

social anxiety: 1
deodorant: -10

Still, the performances were worth going for.The second was just plain fun, involving a rendition of “Thank You for Being a Friend” as sung by Tina Turner, Elphaba, Betty Paige, Joan of Arc and Adam Sandler’s ‘Lunch Lady.’ The first was a dance piece by Coco Loupe, and was worth the entire awkward, sweaty mess of an evening. It all took place in the storefront window on the left, making me think about display, image, ‘for sale.’

I’ve read/seen several videos of ephemeral art, but it was way different in person. The interaction for the audience for one, but also the weird way in which Coco became both a person and an object during the performance. I’ve been thinking a lot about performance, especially the past year, and it was pretty grand to see a piece in person. Definitely got a few of the ideas that’ve been in my brain percolating.

And speaking of performance, I highly recommend you check out Marina Abramovic– ‘grandmother of performance art,’ maker of beautiful things and moments and all around bad-ass.

And in work related news, customer confidence hit a new high today when a gentleman doubted my ability to count past four.

*seriously, if you only go one place in Columbus, please let it be Jenis. It’s beyond good. And they do good things. And they always play good music. And I love them.


Opening went well! And check it out, I’m in print-

The Artist Within will feature “Auto.Bio.Graphical,” the work of Caitlyn Lynch, a recentgraduate Ball State University.

The show reflects the three common themes in all of the pieces: Auto — as in self (about me/my life) or as in automatic, spontaneous, up to chance; Bio — as in all narratives come from my own life, and Graphica — because each piece is either a drawing or contains illustrative elements.

Opening reception for her one-woman show of watercolor

and ink drawings will be 5-8 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.”

(Full article can be read here.)


old child young child feel alright*

Ventured westward this past week to the Berkely/San Fransisco area to visit my Aunt B and her partner Janet. Saw two FO’REAL Eva Hesse sculptures, ate tasty/interesting/responsibly-grown things, spent an entire morning here, and just generally pretended any and all real-world grown up things, i.e. gainful employment (???)  didn’t exist for one last time.

Also, me. My camera with easily accessible macro-lens. Reunited and it feeeels so goood…

Also also: First Thursday tomorrow downtown! Including my opening at the Artist Within! (right down the road from the Heorot…Where you will probably find me post-show.

Upcoming Show – Auto.Bio.Graphical

Remember those ‘good things’ I mentioned coming to Muncie in July? Three words – “FREE” “PUNCH and “COOKIES,”  (three very good words), available at the Artist Within in downtown Muncie, July 1st. 

building frames for a series of drawings

Oh, and the tasty treats will be provided in conjunction with the opening of Auto.Bio.Graphical, paintings and drawings by yours truly, focusing on themes of autobiography, narrative and chance.
(Just dropped off the work, feeling more ‘grown-up’ than is probably merited.)

While most of it’s older, from the past year or so, none of it’s been shown outside of class critiques or my parent’s living room, and this is the first time I’ve sought out a venue, organized and framed my own show outside of the comforting bosom of academia.


the finished product

...times nine. thank you obsessive compulsion.

Here there be pictures. And stuff.

Finally put some undergrad work up! Also cleaned up the site itself (plain

is the new fancy)

Also getting pretty okay with soon being able to separate ‘undergrad’ from ‘current’ work

Also it smells like rain. There’s no reason you need to know this, but it’s still pretty grand.