My name is Ryan Steven Vihlen. I graduated from The Savannah College of Art and Design in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in Furniture Design. In 2012, I completed my Master of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design at SCAD’s Atlanta campus. Currently, I am working on various freelance projects while hunting for a full-time design position.
According to the Social Security Administration, Ryan was the twelfth most common baby name when I was born in 1985. This fact does not meet with my approval, because I want to stand out. I don’t want anything about my life to be common, I want to be unique. I place that same desire upon the design work I produce: whether it is furniture, or graphic design. My work is not a Matthew, or a Daniel, or a Michael… my work is a Cornelius or a Theodore. My work wears a bowler hat and muttonchops, charts unknown Amazonian tributaries and keeps up in all of the literary circles. What’s the use in producing a safe, expected response to a design problem? Show them something new! If you have to beat your head against a wall to rattle an extraordinary idea out of your brains, by all means get concussed.
I have a strong longing to place myself in some historical context. My deep interest in America’s history guides me to atypical approaches in my design work. Studying my country’s tale also allows a better understanding of who I am and what my role should be in that narrative. Who were the people that paved this path before me? How can I honor them? Perhaps, all that I can do is use my artistic skills responsibly to produce meaningful and unique designs that are true to my own identity — however I choose to define it.