Rob Ryan biography in Biographies from the artzine on artrepublic.com

Rob Ryan is a highly acclaimed illustrator specialising in incredibly detailed paper cuts. His work is the result of the painstaking hand cutting of delicate papers. These intricate works are either sold in paper cut form or developed as limited edition screen-prints, or transferred onto a variety of media including china, fabric, jewellery and cards. In the last few years he's quietly become a household name!

Rob Ryan was born in 1962 in Cyrus to Irish Parents. He has a fine art background. He studied Art Foundation at Birmingham Poly, Fine Art at Trent Polytechnic, and then a Master of Arts in printmaking at the Royal College of Art.

Rob’s cutouts were born from his sketch books. At the time he wasn’t managing to do a lot of printmaking as he didn’t have a printmaking studio, so he was doing a lot of writing in his sketch books. He wanted to do something new and started these paper cutouts, with cut out words, not really knowing what he was doing. 

Rob’s medium doesn’t lend itself well to improvisation. His process is normally to make notes in sketchbooks and work the picture out there, then draw it out on paper and cut it out. He doesn’t work from photos and he uses 15 or 10a Swan Morton scalpel blades. Apparently he used to accidentally cut himself quite a lot! For things like show invitations he uses laser-cutting techniques.

Rob leans towards the decorative, there are lots of borders and flowers in his work. He has a love for post-war pre 60s English illustration and Eric Gill has been a big influence on his work. He also likes the 19th century romantics, like Caspar David Friedrich. His work is often nostalgic, sentimental and romantic, exploring timeless themes  such as love and loneliness. Words are an important aspect of his art and he has said, “It’s like being a writer, you have to make up stories, almost put yourself in people’s shoes and imagine. “

He has illustrated numerous books and album covers, including John Connolly’s novel ‘The Book of Lost Things’, Dara Horn’s novel ‘The World to Come’, and Erasure’s album ‘Nightbird’. Ryan’s first book, ‘This is For You’, was first published in 2007; it consists of a fairy tale told through his paper cut-out art.  

Ryan’s intricate and beguiling paper cuts have acquired a huge public following, and have appeared in collaborations with high profile figures in the fashion world including Lulu Guinness, Tatty Devine, Liberty of London, Ernest Sewn, and British fashion legend Paul Smith. Rob’s artwork has featured in Vogue, Elle, The Guardian and Stylist. He has done the Liberty’s Christmas window and a big campaign for the Japanese department store Daimaru. He was included in the major show ‘Slash – Paper Under the Knife’ at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York in 2010.

The Guardian has described Rob Ryan as "The artist spreading a little love around our homes."

Here is a fantastic little interview with Rob Ryan talking about the different themes he explores in his work -


Read our editorial featuring Rob Ryan:

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All of the Words in the World (Silkscreen Signed Limited Edition of 175) by Rob Ryan £750 €953 $1245
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