Ryan Griffin, changeRPG

Jan 1, 2011


Ryan Griffin’s studio is located in a loft somewhere along the Los Angeles river.  Random radical parties sometimes erupt, spilling burnt-out performers and art damaged, half-naked celebrations across the gutter and into the street, spasmodic knives of light spreading out the doorway like a hallucination.  Inside the orange-lit metal and brick hums a group of global creators, writing, creating, experimenting with light and music and ideas.


Ryan works with light and digital tools, turning cities into his canvas.  An image that might have been painted or sketched 100 years ago is now translated to 2D via electronic vibery.  Traditional landscapes are forced through broken TVs.  Drawings are captured photographically through filtered sunlight.  Sketches make their way to the fourth dimension, drawn and completed live.

A few questions for my enlightened neighbor Ryan, who uses modern technology to stir abandoned houses, winking and grinning to life.:


Changing light series


What is the meaning of the title/ URL of your website, changerPG?

I always felt it would be fun to be a different person each day I woke up. So I’m changeRPG to change Radical Projected Ghosts, or sling Rhyme Propelled Grenades, or drop Real Polluted Gumption, on better days that I’m not measuring my rebounds, or role-plays, per game.

Acknowledged.  Many people challenge themselves internally—how does changeRPG unconsciously affect your life and work?

It’s difficult to pinpoint unconscious affects. I feel like could waste too much time trying to be serious or silly, changeRPG allows me to be both.



You use emerging technology such as projectors, digital sketchpads, double sided mirrors, and your trusty laptop to create your work.  Any specific reasoning for using these methods?

I see technology simply as another tool. The more direct, the more “the human hand” comes through the use of a specific technology, the more I feel I succeeded.

What influenced your evolution of this method?

Lately I’ve been really excited about the work of artist James Turrell, who’s basically constructing a temple to the celestial movement of light, and the nature of our perception of it, in an extinct volcanic crater outside Flagstaff, Arizona. I haven’t been there in person, but WOW, what I’ve seen so far just on the internet…wow.


James Turrell

James Turrell

Images by James Turrell

People see the image of your haunted house and laugh aloud.  They love it! It draws such a reaction.  Tell me about this piece: how you planned it and what happened the night you projected it.

The haunted house image came about when I was on a bike ride during the day on Halloween and came across this interesting abandoned, unfinished home nestled in a sleepy residential neighborhood amongst the rolling hills of Mt. Washington in Los Angeles. I wanted to do something fun for Halloween, so I came back at night to project/draw on this home. People blocking traffic to take photos, trick-or-treaters whizzing by, it was really great. I was creating it all there, and people got to see the process!

Ryans House

What’s going to influence your next project?

There is this stretch of the LA River, from Fletcher Avenue to the I-5 freeway, which is absolutely beautiful. It has a soft, exposed bottom so huge trees, grasses, palms, bamboo have been able to take root over the years. There are many species of birds and even large fish in the water. It has been a blessing and great place of respite for me. However now they (BJD, subcontractors from the Army Corp of Civil Engineers or glorified landscapers as they call themselves) are ripping out all the bamboo and cutting down all the palms in this area. Not many people know this is happening. I think my next project is going to confront the changes which are rapidly occurring on the Los Angeles River.

BikeriverGriffin biking along the Los Angeles River

In the spirit of changeRPG, do you have any optimism about the changes taking place on the LA river?

Yes, I do! Even though they are cutting down the bamboo and palms, displacing habitat for wildlife, I feel these changes could aid in the revitalization of the Los Angeles River, if the integrity of a diverse, natural, un-prescribed, un-controlled, accessible place of quiet is maintained.


A projection on the LA river bamboo (above) by Ryan Griffin (below).



And so the wildlife rages.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *