Creative Spotlight // Shaun Ryken

This digital artist metaphorically represents real life events to create these fantastical creations that will blow your mind.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Shaun Ryken. I’m a small town graphic designer that has worked on my passion since I was 12 years old. I started my adventure online using tutorials and forums to help advance my skill. Graphic design and Photoshop aren’t the only skills I have under my belt. Believe it or not, I actually started my online presence doing photography with small editing adjustments.

How did you get into this industry?

The adventure into this industry started in high school. I was a photographer that started to get my name out there in the design industry by designing the covers for the yearbook and pushing my passion. Taking every opportunity in front of me, regardless if it was a hard challenge, has pushed me into the industry position I am in today.

Your work is often fantastical and out-of-this-world, how do you come up with ideas and concepts?

My ideas and concepts come from a random space that I have in my head. I’m not really sure how to explain it but my mind has always developed and created new imagery and ideas. I also balance my imagery with life events in a metaphoric way.

So for my piece above, I was speaking with a close friend about how we don’t burn bridges but rather simply pick them up and move them. When you metaphorically burn a bridge, it makes it harder for someone else to come along and clean up the mess rather than build a new bridge. My mind works well when balancing thoughts with visuals, which allows me to create the pieces I do today.

Did you have a mentor or teacher?

Although I have had many amazing teachers in the media industry, I’m mainly self-taught. My teachers always pushed me towards hitting bigger achievements and reaching my goals, which have influenced me today. I have had multiple teachers and mentors that introduced me to the most professional ways of doing things and how to organize and sort out my opportunities, for which I can’t thank them enough.

What inspires you?

My audience and the artists around me inspire me to create every day. I go through a mental illness of an anxiety disorder and having that passion towards design inspires me to get through it. Looking at buildings and the world around me kicks my visual thinking into high gear and allows me to create the visuals that I do. We have the ability to make the impossible look so possible.

If you could work for anyone or anywhere, where would you go?

My main goal is to work for myself. To expand my passion and to inspire those who are either experienced or not experienced. If I could go anywhere it would be behind my laptop crafting my passion. I want to go far in life with my experience and artwork. Although… travelling the world would be nice!

How did you come across Palette Gear and adapt it to your needs?

Palette Gear and I connected a long time ago on Instagram. We chatted over the pros and cons of the software and I instantly knew it would improve my speed and ability to edit.

I use Palette Gear to produce twice as much content as a regular Instagram influencer in design, which helps me expand my online presence dramatically. Without my partner in crime Palette, I wouldn’t have the audience and speed I do today.

Do you have any tips and tricks for other graphic artists getting started with Palette Gear?

Getting started with Palette is something that you need to just hop into! I first put all my regular keyboard shortcuts into action and voted certain features off the island. I use my Palette mainly for brush settings now. I find that in Photoshop manipulation it really helps speed up the blending process, which is what I put a lot of focus on in my visuals.

Anything else that you’d like to share that we didn’t touch upon already?

I suffer from severe anxiety disorder. I let this impact my work and craft every day but not in a negative way. I used to tell myself all the time that I wasn’t the best in my field and realized that it’s not the way to go.

I now focus on my passion and what makes me happy. It’s not about the likes or the follows or the number of people who are inspired by you. Are you inspired by yourself? If you’re not, try it out and your entire visual experience will change.

Mental illness is an issue we have today but it’s because we are so focused on so much around us. If we can simply bring that focus back onto what we are passionate about and focus on what we love rather than what others love, you will see yourself achieving so much more.

Follow Shaun Ryken on Instagram and Twitter for more out-of-this-world graphic art, and check out his website here.

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