Backstage

  • A portrait of the artist
  • Estep's rendition of the Oribe logo is made from soap and gold leaf
  • <i>Untitled</i> - sugar, drywall. Collaboration with Jessica Sanders
  • <i>Untitled</i> - cast skin, dying fronds
  • <i>Untitled</i> - black lipstick, linen
  • <i><i>Drawing Station 4</i></i>
  • <i>Untitled</i> - canvas, custom black lotion
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Ryan Estep

Dissatisfied with his job as a construction worker, Brooklyn-based artist Ryan Estep turned to art to fulfill his desire to unveil truths in the world around him…and never looked back. Estep paints with unlikely mediums like lipstick and drywall mud on linen to create existential works of art. We asked Estep to recreate the Oribe logo and he rose to our request with a sculpture cast in soap and gold leaf. Read on to find out more about Estep’s inspirations and personal style.

Give us a little bit of information about your art background. What spawned your interest in art?


Art appeared to me out of necessity. By the age of 25, I had realized traditional venues of expression never fully vetted the world around me. I was working as a construction worker at the time, and somewhere between fatigue and repetition, my mind began to wander. Art happened…and I haven't looked back.

How would you describe your work?


Describing my work has always been difficult. A work is successful when it stands uncomfortably before language…when it is able to communicate in a manner that I am unable to express otherwise.

Why did you decide to render the Oribe logo the way you did?


I wanted to create an object that paralleled our bodies’ rituals. The cold public domain of concrete contains the Oribe logo pressed into the corporeal materials of soap and gold leaf.

What or who has been the biggest influence in your art?


My background as a mundane working class kid from the Midwest provides an inescapable undertow of influence.

If you could work on a project with any artist—living or dead—who would it be and what would you like to do?


John Kelsey has my undivided attention at the moment. A hydra of talent, he's created a diverse condition of critique I really admire. I would love the chance to put a show together with him exploring the theme of guile.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever given? Received?


Given: "Who cares, just do it." Received: "Don't jump in that pit!"

How do you normally wear your hair? What's the sexiest way a girl can wear her hair?


I wear my hair short with a part. What I find sexy is small details: an odd braid, a hiccup during a trim that is now a badass asymmetrical bang. Organic weirdness is always appreciated.

How would you describe your style? Do you think fashion and art overlap?


My style is a Shaker interior—muted but purposeful. I do think fashion and art overlap. The borders of modern art dissolved long ago, and in a world where anything goes, I find myself increasingly appreciating the constraints of fashion to form and function.

Do you have any pet peeves about the art world?


I wish more collectors had guts.

Do you have any exciting upcoming projects we should look out for?


I just began a process of transcribing a small section of my DNA into a plant. I'm hacking an old CAD printer to use buffalo bone marrow as ink and there is a series of drawings I'll be doing with Hirudo leeches attached to my hand I'm pretty excited about.

To see more from Estep, click here for his portfolio.
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