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Back Talk with Jay Ryan aka The Bird Machine

Juxtapoz // Sunday, 19 Jul 2009

Jay Ryan, the talent behind the prolific design studio The Bird Machine creates posters that play and interact with the viewer.



“Having fun doing my work means I wake up every day anxious to get to work. Playing with the images means I try to do something a little new with each poster”, says Ryan.


What would happen if a dolphin and a water buffalo competed head-to-head in bumper cars? What do you get when you assemble a motley crew of animals, sans gravity?


His imagery probes at the unlikely and is a pleasure to view. Get to know Jay Ryan/The Bird Machine and read his responses to our Back Talk questions below.

How do you feel right now?


Just a little bit behind schedule, a few pounds overweight, a couple bucks short and slightly unwashed.


If you could wake up in a different place tomorrow morning, where would it be and what would you do?


Maybe tomorrow I'll wake up in the same place I go to sleep tonight, which is in my bed, on the inside of the house, and not on the roof, or in the yard. If that happens, I will proceed with my day like a normal human, for once.


If you lost your creative skill, how would you see yourself making a living?


I'd become a creative director at an ad agency.

If you could punch one living contemporary artist, who would it be?


Guillermo Vargas, the asshole who let the dog starve to death in his gallery. I still might buy a plane ticket to go knock his teeth out.


Was your first kiss worth writing a song about?


Probably, and the song would include the line "too shy to make a move but OH MY GOD SHE'S JUMPING ON ME! AGH, MY NECK!"


At what point were you particularly happy?


When I rode my bike to work this morning, knowing that there was leftover birthday cake at the print shop, waiting for me.

No regrets allowed, but there must have been one?


Shouldn't have trashed my old Neil Blender skateboard deck back in High School. Or I should’ve have bought a second one. Same goes for the first Eric Dressen street deck.


What trait do your friends have in common?


They're all extremely good looking, and they suffer from a willful ignorance of what an ass I am.

If you had to evacuate your home or studio, what's the one thing you would grab?


My photo hard drive, which is stuffed full of scans of dozens of dollars and PDFs of enough food for a month.


Greatest love of your life?


Daylight, er... gravity.


What is your favorite vice?


Starbucks Frappuccinos. It doesn't take much for me to feel like I'm living large.

When you blow out the birthday candles, what do you wish for?


Everyone to leave for like ten minutes, so i can eat the cake by myself.


If you could play a character from a favorite film or TV show for a day, who would it be?


Mister Rogers, so I would get a chance to operate the trolley and make a big deal about changing my shoes.

Do you ever lie?


Always. Hell, this answer to your question is a lie.


Do you think viewers understand the intent of your work?


If they understand my intent, I would ask them to let me know what it is.

What virtue can you do without?


I looked 'virtue' up on wikipedia, and there are 120 of them listed, all of which I think are pretty good ideas. Of the 120, I think 'chastity' is probably the most over-rated.


Do you even notice when you're swearing?


I swear a lot, but only notice it when my fucking parents suddenly started fucking swearing too, in conversation with me. They picked up a bad habit from me, finally.

What has been your proudest moment?


When president Obama was elected.


What would you like to be remembered for?


Being a nice person, despite the smell.


How would you prefer to die?


Old, and explosively, after crossing the last thing off my to-do list.



Every image in one place


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