Cullen Ritchie

At Least The Roads Are Paved, 2019

At Least The Roads Are Paved is a series representing locations from my hometown and childhood in specific. Growing up in a small town, complaints of boredom and isolation were common. The only positive at that time was that the roads were paved. Since this time, I’ve grown to appreciate the seemingly desolate streets I roamed as a child. The silence is nice whenever you’re not twelve.

Q&A with Cullen Ritchie

Q. Could you tell us about any current projects that you are working on?

A. I’m currently in the production stage of my final film for first year. It’s crazy to me that first year is almost over already, but I look forward to what the future holds for me here at Ryerson. Outside of that, I am working towards producing a cohesive series of photos at night. My work from the night tends to lack any type of pattern generally, so it’s kind of a self-growth project but also something that I’ll eventually be able to present as a cohesive body of work. Ultimately I’d like to get that project to a point where I could present it as something like a zine, just so it leaves my hands a bit and I could gain some recognition from people who aren’t my immediate friends.

Q. Describe your project in its current state and what you’d like it’s final outcome to be.

A. Currently I have 4 photos from winter that I have been sitting on, the accompanying film is still in a very rough planning stage. I’m still doing some research to see exactly what I want to do with the film, mostly looking at other multimedia works to see how I can make something cohesive. I’d like to have something in the end that is something more than just a series of photos, something that I could actually present.

Q. How did you reach the conceptualization of your current project?

A. I was going through photos I hadn’t done anything with, and thought originally I should make a zine. I started compiling work and then realized that the work I had made presented no narrative. Out of that I picked my favourite photos that presented some cohesion and decided to make a film. The process has been all over the place but I think it’s finally locked down.

Q. Are there any artists that have inspired this work? If so, why?

A. For the photos, Todd Hido first and foremost. I hold his monograph Househunting in such high regard, by far one of my favourite bodies of work. The subject matter I’m dealing with is heavily influenced by his work, homes at night is really the staple. I’d say it’s also influenced by Roman Spataro. Nothing in particular, but I love his work. In terms of the film, I’m pulling heavily from Norman McLaren’s Synchromy. There’s no image however there’s still a sense of narrative. I’m not looking to make a film that really matches the images, I want to make something that tells the story.

Q. Describe any challenges you have faced and any solutions that you have found to be helpful in the creative process.

A. The largest challenge has been my own indecision as to what I’m going to do. I really only got past this by eliminating options as I’ve tried or thought of them. Like I wanted to make a zine, but realizing that I live a considerable distance from a lab and don’t currently own a scanner put a thorn in that because I couldn’t make more work to fill the pages. I had the resources to make a film, so that’s what I ended up deciding on.

Q. Have you had any success in getting your work out into the world? Do you have suggestions for other artists?

A. As a first year student, exhibiting and submitting work is rather new to me. I had a photo in the MaxEx salon show, which was my first taste of the submission/exhibition process. Any advice I’ve received is just submit as much as you can, and that’s about all I can pass on.

Work In Progress: A Hazy Suburban Evening, 2019 (Working Title)