Author: Michelene Cherie
Projected Visions is the brainchild of visual artist Ryan Patrick Griffin. Over the years, he has shown his live freestyle projection paintings at several Frogtown Artwalks and other L.A. River-related events including collaborations with various musicians and projects for Friends of the Los Angeles River. Ryan is known to project his live art on storm drains, boulder fields, buildings and other monolithic spaces in natural settings. His 'paintings' respond to the location for which they are created, yet leave no visible trace, like a poem or a story shared through tangible light, lasting only for moments. Whether in front of an audience or through a camera recording time-lapse animation, the viewer is transfixed by and transported into the experience of Ryan's dynamic creative process.
Ryan showed his beautiful projected paintings under the 2 Freeway underpass along the L.A. River Bikepath at the 2018 Frogtown Artwalk and has been a popular attraction each year he has participated. He's been working on some interesting and innovative projects since we last saw him at the artwalk. We took this opportunity to catch up with him and ask a few questions about his process and what he has been creating lately.
Tell us about your background in the arts and how you came to work in the realm of projected light?
I have always been drawn to creativity in some form or another since a young age. I started pursuing the arts seriously in high school after a near death experience from a car accident. I used painting and drawing as a way to process the trauma I had experienced and aid in my healing process. I started working with projected light in 2008, I was going to this café where I would draw people on their computers, which was a somewhat new phenomenon at the time.
I noticed how curious people were of someone drawing, so I was looking for a way to share that creative process with people in real time. I experimented with a few processes, but then a light bulb went off when I realized I could use a digital projector with my laptop and pen tablet. From there I started exploring all the new ways I could incorporate this novel process into my practice.
What has been your favorite project or biggest achievement so far?
One of my favorite projects was back in 2013 for Scottsdale Public Art’s Canal Convergence. I created live projection paintings for three nights on this large scale building on the waterfront. I grew up in Phoenix, AZ so all my family and friends were able to come see my project. I remember feeling really thankful for that experience. One of my biggest achievements was in 2016 I had designed and built for the first time a studio loft art space with my partner Veronica. It was part of a larger collaborative project we had transforming an industrial space along the LA River in Frogtown into a creative project space. We had so much fun learning new skills, working together to achieve a common vision with group of amazing people. My biggest achievement during that time was figuring out how to install a toilet! But not just the toilet we had to layout water and sewage pipe and plumbing from the ground up. It may sound funny but it was the sweetest victory after having had to share a toilet for far too long.
"I recently experimented wearing inline skates on a basketball court to freely float and create in another dimension. I use applications that allow you to create strokes and forms in a seemingly infinite virtual blank canvas."
Can you tell us about any new projects and your process for creating the work?
I’ve been exploring new processes working in virtual reality. The experience is meditative and movement based and the results are akin to drawing/painting and sculpture. I use a VR headset that isn’t tethered to the computer so I can create in a larger area, moving my body in different ways to create forms in a virtual three-dimensional space. I recently experimented wearing inline skates on a basketball court to freely float and create in another dimension. I use applications that allow you to create strokes and forms in a seemingly infinite virtual blank canvas. I document the perspectives of what I am seeing in the headset and what it looks like from the outside to illustrate clearly this technique.
How have you been spending your time during the Covid-19 Quarantine?
I’ve been using my time during COVID 19 Quarantine in a number of ways. I’ve been composting at home for the past few years. I had built up a good amount of rich wormy soil. We have a little front yard, so I designated a small space for a garden. Using mostly sprouts I had saved from the food scraps we had composted I re-planted tomato, squash, beans, corn, onion, radish, etc. It’s rewarding to spend the time outside and tend to the plants. Besides my creative practice, I’ve been spending time outside by myself rollerblading. It’s been a somewhat daily practice/workout to get my heart rate up doing something I enjoy and to use my creativity in a different way.
You have participated in several Frogtown Artwalks over the years. Can you give us some impressions of your experiences participating in the artwalk?
I’ve always enjoyed contributing to the Frogtown Artwalks. They bring many people to neighborhood some who might not have ever been. Many people who might not have ever seen the LA River. I enjoy seeing that look on people’s faces when they realize that Los Angeles has a river and that it’s beautiful and relaxing that you almost forget the freeway overhead and the bustling city that cradles it.
For more info on Projected Visions, go to: www.projectedvisions.com
Follow on Instagram at: @projectedvisions
About the Author
Michelene Cherie is a Production Manager and Content Curator for The Elysian Valley Arts Collective. She works with non-profits, animal advocacy organizations and owns a boutique marketing and event company - Cherie Creative Company. In her free time, Michelene volunteers for several cat rescues in Los Angeles. More info at: www.cheriecreativecompany.com