Ryan Trimble

 Ryan Trimble

Ryan Trimble


So... tell us about yourself. 
I'm basically a middle-aged man who's still unsure of himself and the world but more or less ok with that. I'm married, have three children, and moonlight as a part-time copywriter. I enjoy coffee, tea, tobacco, beer, and chocolate, and I sometimes follow a vegan diet, sometimes pescatarian, sometimes carnivorous. I explore the wilderness as often as I can, usually via a bicycle, and can often be found in a natural body of water, in a pair of cutoffs. I like to read. I try to combine black-and-white film photography and writing to tell true stories.

Did you study art in school?
As a college student, I studied philosophy and rhetoric. I still, for the most part, study these things. The study of philosophy has perhaps been the single most valuable undertaking of my life. I pursued it on whim, at the age of 35, after becoming disillusioned with the American Dream.

I don't think one has to study art to be an artist, English to be a writer, or business to be a businessperson for that matter. Such compartmentalizations are limiting. I think a person is better served, and can better serve his fellow humans, by pursuing his inclinations. It's all one can really do, anyway. Even our best choices are but darts thrown blindfolded, at targets we think exist. And you don't know whether a hat fits until after you try it on.

Do you have any favorite books on art, creativity, the business of art, process, confidence, etc.?
My favorite book on writing is "Writing With Style," by John Trimble (no relation). It's a required text for most freshman English courses. I've studied at least a dozen other guides on the art of writing nonfiction, and to my mind not one compares.

When it comes to photography, I study little. I recently read and enjoyed, in sections, Susan Sontag's "On Photography." Alas, it's a work of literature, not photography. Really, when it comes to images, I simply try to observe the world and put myself into places and situations I'm drawn to. Then I release the shutter. Sometimes I get lucky.

Who are some of your favorite artists? Favorite Utah artists?
My favorite writers are Joseph Mitchell, David Grayson, David Foster Wallace, Friedrich Nietzsche, Edward Abbey, Hunter Thompson, Everett Ruess, Thoreau. Call me sexist.

I don't have a favorite photographer.

As far as local artists, I particularly appreciate the work of photographer Ryan Muirhead, painter and tattooist Daniel Duckett, and sculptor Jake Buntjer.


Continued below...

Why do you make art?
I make art, I suppose, to cultivate a relationship with myself. With the unknown. With God. Is there a difference?

Ever struggled with motivation or a creative block? What's you're trick for pushing through it? How do you make the "blank canvas" submit?
Creative work is always a struggle. Writing is tedious as hell. And trying to capture that "decisive moment" photographically is time-consuming. I don't know that I have any tricks. I continue to do both because the alternative—not doing them—feels empty and pointless and more unbearable than the inconvenience of doing them. And sometimes, when you approximately represent your intentions or sentiments—because you never fully do—it feels real good.

How do you balance time between making art and marketing art?
I no longer market my writing or photography. I did, though, for a couple years, mostly through social media and local galleries and whatnot. But I'm no longer interested in making money via art, so no need to market. Today I try to make a living as a regular employee so I can write and photograph what I wish, share it how I wish. I still intend to submit writings to publishers, photographs to galleries, but I see that less as marketing and more as distribution.

Do you have any other thoughts, questions comments etc. that you'd like to share?
I know it sounds cliché, but follow the heart. When following the heart begins to feel erroneous, like maybe you veered off course, play and experiment. Just keep doing that with whatever project you undertake. Something will materialize, maybe.