The Etsy Blog

UK Edition: Interview With misterrob handmade and vintage goods

Where to start with Robert Ryan, a.k.a misterrob? This guy’s work has been on my radar for some time and when I came across his Etsy shop, even before I began blogging here, I was more than a little chuffed to note that this illustrious UK designer had joined our community.

The authenticity of both Rob and his work is so much of the appeal for me. There’s a magnetic realness at the core of his beautiful, often humorous, and intricate art, which I find absolutely compelling.

Rob has a website and a blog, and you can also visit his brick-and-mortar shop, Ryantown, at 126 Columbia Road, London, E2 7RG.

Tell us a wee bit about yourself.
I’m 47 and married with two grown up girls aged 21 and 18. I have been “going out” with my wife Lorna since I met her on my 18th birthday. I live in Victoria, which is in central London and have a studio in Bethnal Green, which is in East London. I ride my bike to the studio, which takes 29 minutes on average, and if I’m feeling lazy I’ll drive, which takes approximately 40 minutes!

How did you begin your foray into the world of creating art?
Believe it or not I went to Art School! For 7 years! But I always loved drawing and my first art world foray was when my dad used to give me the white card that came with new shirts he bought for me to draw on.

Educate us on your artistic methods: What’s the physical process like and why do you love it?
Well, I draw and write notes a lot. I make papercut pictures from them and then I screenprint onto paper, fabric, ceramics, etc. I love it because it’s what I do.

What inspires you?
Being alone, on my own.

Tell us about your recent experience hosting an open studio at the Pick Me Up Contemporary Graphic Art Fair.
Have you seen that movie They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? Twelve consecutive long days in a big room with no natural light. It makes me sound like a bit of a grouch, but chatting and being nice to people all day is one of the most exhausting things ever! A bit like your wedding day, over and over and over again. Having said that, it was fun too and the people (all 14,000 of them) who came to say “Hi” were very lovely without exception.

What’s it been like to work with brands like Elle, Vogue, Urban Outfitters and Paul Smith (to name but a few)?
It’s good fun generally!

What does an average day in the life of misterrob entail?
Well I get up, have a bowl of Shreddies and a cup of tea, wash, then get to the studio around 9. I have a coffee and start whatever work is happening. We have lunch at 12.30, which gets cooked in the studio. At the moment, ’cause it’s summer, we are eating outside and it is heaven. My hardcore team consists of my personal assistant Hazel, my printer Jackie, our studio assistant Libby and my wife Lorna — postmistress general and bookkeeping maestro! Plus other various interns and work experience people. We try to do the crossword at lunch, then back to work til about 6. Then it’s home to eat and watch TV. Sometimes we go to the pub or to private views of exhibitions but generally I’m too shattered.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Lorna and I have a nice collection of Tonala pottery figures from Mexico, mainly birds. I like them a lot.

Do you have any advice for artists starting out in their career?
Do whatever you have to do to keep on working! Work evenings and all weekends so you can pay to work in your studio all week. Don’t give up, my friends.

Anything else you’d like to tell us?
I love ten pin bowling, buying and DJing with old soul records, riding my bike and I love summer nights, spring afternoons, winter mornings and autumn evenings. Over and out!

Name your top 5 Etsy sellers…



rowneyart: Incredibly delicate handcrafting, leather painting.
Hand carved wallet with green woodpecker



barbarabearo: Amazing handmade dachshunds and bears.
Dylan the Dachshund



somethingshidinghere: Funny clever ideas.
Mustache envy badges



reapwhatisew: Nice hand-printed screenprints.
Dala hand screenprint



SallyNencini: Lovely colourful cushions.
Lambswool orange cat cushion




Many thanks to Rob for taking part! Check out some of his beautiful work in the Seller’s Items below.

Interview Posts | Artistic Endeavors Series | Shop Art | The UK Edition