On the hottest day of the year so far we were VERY lucky to be invited to a sneak peek of a heavenly NEW collaboration between a&u fav, The Gro Company, and Rob Ryan at his East End studio. Tucked away in a backstreet just off the bustling Bethnal Green road we snuck through a secret wooden door and entered an oasis of peace and calm.
Rob’s airy loft studio is nestled in a row of cottages directly opposite his own home, he literally has a ten-step commute from kitchen to workshop.
Originally a fine artist Rob is now much better know for his screen prints and intricate paper cut-out work. We are big fans of his wonderful children’s books too.
Helping babies sleep safely for over 17 years The Gro Company have long been the go to sleeping bag baby brand. Using the Grobag as his canvas, Rob's utterly charming original artwork has been transformed into three different prints, across nine differing ranges. The designs, Summer Day, Spring Morning and Night Fall have been inspired by that special moment between babe and parent just before bed-time. ‘Now is the end of another day, it’s time to snuggle down inside your cosy nest. Tomorrow will be full of yet more fun and play but sleepy eyes and sleepy wings need lots of rest’.
After our interview we were treated to delicious cakes and treats by the fabulous Meringue Girls (yum). A real treat all round!
Grosung are priced from £26.99 – Grobags £36-£42. Available from Mothercare mid-July. Newborn to 36 months.
Q & A with Rob Ryan (questions by Jessie aged 12)
1). What would be your best advice for young artists?
I have always loved drawing. I used to draw for my friends at school and my pictures always made them laugh. I didn’t make any money from my art until I was 40 yrs. I never worried about getting any other job or how to get by. I was lucky that my wife had a job and we always seemed to manage. The most important thing is to believe in your work and what you are making. Try not to worry about it too much. Just believe in yourself and try and make the best art you can.
2). Do you ever find your working frustrating?
Yes I do sometimes. If I can’t get something done I'll stay in my studio until it comes to me. Normally I can be here all day then my best work comes to me at about 4/5pm. A big secret is to plan the work I’m going to do the next day so I know what I’m supposed to be doing.
3). In your artwork the language you use feels like you are talking to someone? Is there anyone that particularly inspires you?
I’ve been very lucky to make what I do my whole life, I’m free to do my own thing, this has really feed my appreciation of the world. We really mustn’t forget how beautiful and incredible the world around us is.
4). What is your favourite thing to draw?
Feet ! I really love drawing feet and hands.
5). Your work ‘We Don’t fly to the North’ seems to have been designed like a book? Do you believe all your pictures also have a story behind them?
I’m a very chatty person in real life. I love talking. My personality comes out in my work. I do have silent pictures as well as ones with words. I do love words though and I really like stories. I was told by my teachers at school and at art college that words in art are a sign of weakness but I have always been quite stubborn so I kept on using words.