We had the good fortune of connecting with Kaylee Ryan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kaylee, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I pursued an artistic career because being creative has always been my favorite outlet for my ever-overthinking brain. Creating is the one thing that makes me feel like me. Sometimes I forget who I am or start to compare myself & get down but when I’m working on a project it all comes back & I am proud to be me. Being able to create a business that people love, know & support and being able to share those feelings through my creations with people who just get it says it all. Being able to make a living & support myself through my creativity is an absolute dream. I’m not completely there yet but every time I make something, every art show I attend, I get one step closer to really establishing an artistic career for myself. So rewarding, so humbling, and such a good reminder that you can achieve anything you out your mind to!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
It’s hard to put a name to what I do, I don’t just paint, or draw, I do everything in between. I jump to anything creative and love to try new things. Although, I’m not very good at learning, I usually have to just do things my way until I get the hang of it, (which can be frustrating, but I like to do things differently). I’m definitely a mixed media artist. I incorporate paint, as well as drawings but I always say my hot glue gun is my best friend because I’m always adding random collected trinkets, cutouts, and textures to my work. My bigger framed pieces are usually very collage like but I do have a few drawn and painted pieces as well. I collect gold frames from thrift stores to finish my works off or cover them in resin. Most of the items I use in my collages are thrifted or reused. I feel like my work always stands out against others because there’s so many different aspects going on in a well thought out arrangement. I can’t stick to just one thing. Making jewelry is probably my most favorite creative process. The options are endless. I make earrings out of a wire base & beads, I make bracelets, necklaces (long mala like adjustable pieces with tassels on the ends, chokers, and more), and have recently been experimenting with belts & waist chains! My mother gave me all her old jewelry making supplies, but I’ve recently been getting a lot of stuff from Recreative on Santa Fe here in Denver. I use wire, chains, gemstones, clay beads, plastic and glass, collected charms, shells, you name it. As of lately, I’ve really been developing my own, noticeable style and I’m really proud of how well made my work has been recently. I’m continuously learning and coming up with new ideas when it comes to jewelry, that’s my favorite part about it! I also began my sewing journey this year after my mother gifted me a beginners machine. So far I’ve been repurposing thrifted materials but I soon hope to be creating garments from a scratch! I feel like I have a very unique style & eye when it comes to fashion and I love to incorporate that into the items I make! I’m a big pattern girl, and I LOVE color. Like I said earlier I’ve always been creative since I was little, but I never thought it would become my main purpose in life/ who I identify myself as. I’m from a very small town in Iowa where there is an art community but it’s very small and very specific. Not a lot of room for the things I was doing or the direction I wanted to go in. I had three jobs, was always partying, wasn’t focusing on the right things. I moved to Denver in January of 2020 to be with my lovely boyfriend & to really launch my career as an artist. Being here is so inspiring. Everyone has their thing that they are good at and sometimes that can be intimidating for someone like me who is constantly comparing herself, but I try to remind myself that we’re all artistically unique. Everyone I have met through art here has given me a reason to keep doing what I’m doing and to be proud of it. It’s really reassuring that I’m in the right place and I’m doing exactly what I am meant to be doing! Moving to Denver was one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made for myself and for my art career. I have grown so much in many ways but especially in my craft. I’ve only been here for a little over a year but I’d say I’ve made a pretty good name for myself. It’s a good start! Since being here I have had many art shows, I’ve jumped on one that occurs monthly at GVM studios on Colfax, where an incredible little community has been built, and I am forever greatful to be a part of. I started my Etsy and have made 12 sales, I’ve made multiple album artworks for my boyfriend & friends, I got an iPad and began to learn procreate & illustrator, and I started sewing! I don’t think much of that would have happened if I was still back home. Moving away from my friends and family was very hard and it still is every day, but the growth and artistic drive I have now would not have been achieved otherwise. I am an artist. I now introduce myself that way. I now believe it. I new feel it. I now see it. I AM it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I mentioned that I moved to the Denver area in January of 2020. That was unfortunately just a couple months before the pandemic began in the US. My experiences while being here this year were definitely restricted due to Covid & I sadly have not been able to do as much exploring of the area because of that. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a wonderful year here so far, I’ve met many wonderful humans and found a few cool places regardless but I know I’m just not getting the full experience I had hoped when I moved. That being said, I wish I had more to offer for this question!! One of my best friends is actually visiting next month and I have a few things in mind. I LOVE the Rhino Art District area. The murals are beautiful and the vibes are just exciting there. There’s some awesome bars and coffee shops in that area that I’m excited to experience eventually. I stop at Crema Coffee down there fairly often. Also, Improper City is such a cool place! They always have food trucks, there was a little fashion show/sale and music one day I went there plus they are a coffee shop/bar (two of my favorite things) so I’ll totally be taking my friend there. Santa Fe has some lovely antique stores and art galleries. I love Recreative, the recycled art materials store over there. The Denver Art Collective is also so much fun every time I’ve stopped in, they always have something new. The Room of Lost Things is also super intriguing. They have a lot of witchy oddities. Some of my favorite restaurants are City O’ City, Sputnik, & Watercourse, for veggie options. I’ve recently came across the Honey Elixr bar & the Retro Room. I’m super excited to check those out!!! It’s cold now but I’d like to take my friends on a little hike while they are here. A few places I have explored in my time here are Genesse Park, Red Rocks, Lair O’ The Bear, and Garden of the Gods. 🙂 The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am so incredibly thankful for every single human who has supported me in any way possible on my artistic journey, but I specifically would like to shout out two very important & influential humans in my life. The first one being my mother, Deb. She has been so supportive of my creative journey since I was little & I have to give her credit for being the one who got me started as she was always doing something creative. She is a wonderful painter & started her own jewelry business when I was young. She now collects vintage glass & resells on Etsy. Check her out @thatretrovibe. I love her so much & would be absolutely lost without her. Secondly, my boyfriend Alex is the sweetest, most supportive & motivating human that has ever blessed my life. He is so creative and has supported me since before we were together. He inspires me every single day and constantly pushes me to be better and challenge myself. He always reminds me that I can achieve anything I want & to go get exactly that. He produces his own music under Mythic Rogue. Go give him a follow! I love you both more than words can say. Thank you for being my inspiration & for always believing in me.
Other: Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/thegroovygoodwitch
Hailey Sunshine Jessica Pacheco