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AFA Interview with Eric Yahnker and Ryan Travis Christian

After seeing Eric Yahnker and Ryan Travis Chistian’s collaborative work, “Wandering Bong Rip with Mariah Carey Features,” 2010, my laughter grew into a belly ache that could only be cured through the enrichment of this interview.

AFA: When did you both meet and was it a love affair from afar?

RTC: We met on the internet (does that count as meeting?) from the fecalface interview and i really liked his steez. I then met Eric in person in LA briefly over some beers and a studio visit in October of 2009, then I crashed on their (Eric & Ali’s) floor for the better part of a week earlier this year, they have a lot of cereal and whiskey. We got along famously, doing consecutive nights of karaoke.

EY: The first time I became aware of good ol’ RTC was after my Piano Man (For Guitar) show at Jack the Pelican in Brooklyn in October 2008. Julian Duron had done a review of that show for Fecalface, and shortly thereafter Ryan contacted me about doing a full interview. I think we stalled a bit until I had mounted my Naughty Teens/Garbanzo Beans show at Ambach & Rice in Seattle in June 2009, cause I thought it’d be good to show new stuff. In the meantime, I was checking out the shenanigans he was up to, whether curating various group shows or with his own increasingly confident work.

AFA: When you saw each other’s work, what was your first reaction? Did you both feel akin aesthetically as artists of the same medium?

RTC: I first saw Eric’s work in person @ the Next Art Fair here in Chicago, it was the ABCDEFG piece where Kenny G is there instead of G. It was a ray of light and hope in an otherwise boring humorless art fair. I was compelled to send him an email.
Feeling akin? No, more like inferior/inspired, I felt like I really better step up my game in a big way. And I did. Maybe akin nowadays, but not two years ago, no sireee.

EY: Of course, I always feel a certain kinship with anyone who takes drawing, humor, and towel snapping seriously. We finally had a chance to meet in person when he came out to L.A. later that year, and ended up crashing at my place. At that time, we discovered that not only do we both wear girdles for our ‘posture,’ but both our work comes from what I would deem an “animator’s sensibility,” and isn’t otherwise easily categorized. More than that, he’s just a good, generous, and thoughtful dude, and damnit, I’m plum alright with that!

"Wandering Bong Rip with Mariah Carey Features," By Ryan Travis Christian and Eric Yahnker, 2010 graphite and colored pencil on paper 8.5"x11"

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