Ryan Higa

Wahiawā, O‘ahu, b. Hawai‘i
Media: Painting

My first step is compiling information. Whenever I see or hear something that is visually or conceptually interesting I try to make note of it. I’ll either do a quick drawing, take notes, or take a photo. This is an ongoing process and doesn’t have a set time frame. This stuff sits around until I’m ready to use it.

The next step in my process is going through and reviewing the information that I’ve taken note of. I sift through the materials and pick out a few things. I look for things that are still interesting to me and start to look for connections between the stuff. When a group of things get to know each other I try to hear what they’re saying. This is when the initial idea for a piece begins. This step happens semi-regularly every few days or weeks.  It depends on the time of year.

The third step in my art process is drawing. While I do drawings throughout step one and two, this drawing is more focused and refined. The various personalities, shapes, colors and ideas are still in negotiations with me each other but at this point there is much less talking and more doing.

The fourth step is fabricating the work. By now all of the elements have come to an understanding and I physically produce the piece.

The final step is when someone other than myself experiences the work.  I hope that the viewer is able to see, hear, and understand what is being said. While I am able to start the work, I feel that it needs to be completed by the audience. It is their understanding of and conversation with the work that makes it done.

Learn more about Ryan's process and project in his blog post.

Recipient of the Roselle Davenport Award for Artistic Excellence and the State Foundation for Culture and the Arts Recognition Award