We had the good fortune of connecting with Ryan Robinson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ryan, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
This question is always a funny one to answer, because I never actually planned on starting my own business. When I was in college in 2017, I began to paint a lot more in my free time, mostly for my mental health and to take my mind off the craze of college. I lived in a sorority house at the time and my friends and other girls in the house would see me working on a piece and be like, “Hey! I want one of those!”. So I’d sell it to them for like $20 (lol). It was really just a chain reaction from there. More and more people started reaching out for custom paintings, so I decided to take a small step forward and create social platforms for “Ryan Robinson Art”. This made it a lot easier for me to spread the word about my work, and I ended up selling about 300 paintings in my first year, which was completely unexpected. A year later, circa 2018, I really started to take myself and my business more seriously with a website, business cards – the whole works. However, even 4 years later, the word “business” is still funny to me, simply because I started painting canvases with no buyers in mind. It’s truly just a plus that people out there love what I create and want my work in their homes. At the end of the day, it’s crazy to think how far this little business of mine has come and I’m so thankful for this journey and the community it’s built for me.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Getting to where I am today in my art career has not been easy. One of my biggest challenges in my 23 years of life has been my mental health. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember, and it was this that led me to start creating more in college. I desperately needed an avenue to escape the world and meditate, and luckily, I rediscovered art at one of the darkest times in my life. Creating became my medicine and I quickly learned to channel my negative energy out with a paint brush. Throughout my art career, it’s been hard not to compare myself to other artists. However, I’m always humbly reminded that I started this for myself, not because I wanted more money or wanted to become a famous artist. Art has saved me and painting does for me what words simply cannot. Each stroke and color in my paintings stem from my curiosity and long-felt fascination with the universe and connection to life on Earth. I see a different picture or idea in each piece and I desire for the world to see what I see through the lens of art and aim for my work to challenge people to think bigger.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love being outside, and one of my favorite places in Houston is the Buffalo Bayou Park. Since my youth, Houston has seriously revamped this park, creating more trails, bridges, etc. I would for sure take my friends here for a morning walk with a great view of the downtown skyline. Afterwards I would take them to brunch at The Dunlavy, one of my favorite restaurants down by the Buffalo Bayou Park. I went here all the time when I was in high school. For anyone that’s new to Houston, I also like to take them to the Galleria. I personally hate the Galleria because it’s always so crowded with people and traffic, but it’s fun to take friends there and see their reaction to the gigantic shopping chaos that it always is. I also absolutely adore the Heights area, specifically 19th street. This would definitely be a must. I roamed around this area with friends all the time when I was teenager. This area is packed with great thrift shops, coffee shops, restaurants and art galleries.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There have been numerous people (educators, friends and family alike) that have led to me to where I am today. I wish I could list out every single name, however, I truly wouldn’t be where I am today without my family. Most of what I know about art I owe to my mother, my two aunts, and my grandma. Each one of them is so artistically inclined in their own way, and growing up really close to them in Houston, I grew my own inclination towards art at a very young age. Throughout my youth and even still today, it has been them that have continued to give me advice, show me techniques, buy/lend me art supplies, and push me in the right direction. I don’t know where I’d be without their support and guidance.
First cover photo credit to Sarah Burger Photography. 4th photo with blue marble painting credit to Sarah Burger Photography.