Multimedia artist Ryan Evans has been expanding his vision over the course of the last few years. First, he captured my attention with the conceptual RedRoom, a 2015 instrumental album released on cassette. That project was followed in 2016 with if these walls could talk, an instrumental album of found recordings all from within his yellow house in New Jersey. That album came complete with a graphic PDF that enhanced the sounds. Now, one year later, after spending his between time by creating his own digital world known as The Lonely Menagerie, Evans is back with Key Seeker: an equal parts audio/visual/literary journey. On top of being a image-driven experience, Key Seeker is also a ten-part chapbook/novella complete with original music production. Inspired by fairy tales and video games from Evans's youth, Key Seeker crafts words for your brain, visuals for your dilated pupils, and music for your eardrums. I spoke with Evans about the creative process, his views on the project, and his evolution over the years. Be sure to read it before (or after) jumping into Key Seeker and plummeting out from the other end.
How long have you been working on this project?
I was starting to formulate the ideas while I was wrapping up my last album. So I would estimate a little less than a year or so. It feels like it's been forever because it's something that I couldn't stop thinking or talking about.
Your last instrumental album came with a PDF booklet, and this seems to be another step further in the multimedia package. Which style of art did you begin with?
I always drew as a kid, but I guess I would say I started with music. I went to school for graphic/web design and started to fall in love with color and composition in visual art. I started making my own album covers and loved the feeling of making each piece myself.
Which part of the puzzle was the hardest to make?
The most difficult part for me was writing out the story itself. It was something I never really tried before and I found fleshing out my story really tough. Each chapter is an allegorical take on lessons I've learned over the past three years or so. It was hard trying to formulate them into metaphors. Luckily my best friend, Jared T.L.C. is a writer in the truest sense of the word and gave me tons of guidance during this process. "To be a writer, all you have to do is write." I tried to keep his words as a mantra at the forefront of my brain. Starting is always the hardest part especially when its something brand new.
How would you describe this packaged project to a stranger on the street?
Key Seeker is a fairy tale for the digital age inspired by the likes of Ghibli, Zelda, and Paulo Coelho. I created it to help me remember important life lessons I've gathered on my path.
What do you hope your audience will get out of this?
I hope it will inspire people to look inward, search for their own personal keys, and to create something that is special to them. I've heard too many brilliant people say things like "I'm not creative." and I just don't think that's true. All humans are capable of creating something beautiful. You just have to figure out what's beautiful to you.
What's the rest of the year looking like?
I have some more stories and characters floating around in my head. I've been jotting down notes for a Sci Fi adventure comic. I just want to keep challenging myself to create interesting and innovative pieces of art that would make 10 year old Ryan go bananas [laughs].