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Ryan Townley Interview

“Adding Depth”

A creative mind with a unique eye for spots and how to utilize them, you can tell that Ryan Townley is not one to sit around. Firstly, he fills his downtime making art pieces, building a second career along the way, and secondly, by being stacked up on fresh images, with new footage about to drop a short 8 months after his last part “Layers” saw the light of day. Whatever Ryan is up to, be it standing on way too long of rails or squeezing tricks into places no human should be able to fit through, it is always a pleasure to watch.

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TOWNLEY FS BOARDSLIDE PETERS

Fs Boardslide - Peters

What’s up Ryan, how are you doing?

Doing good, just having some coffee.

It’s about 10 a.m. where you are, did I mess up your morning routine?

No, not at all. I already had my juice and vacuumed and walked the dog, I’m good to go!

What’s your home setup like? You’re living with your girlfriend Delaney and your dog?

I’m with my girlfriend and my dog Blue and we’re in Cypress Park. We have a little apartment, with a yard and stuff. We’re actually in the process of maybe moving directly across the street into a three bedroom house. That’d be great to have some more room.

Moving up! What’s the area like?

It’s good, mostly just neighborhoods and stuff, but it’s still really close to Downtown, Echo Park, and Silver Lake. Pretty much everything on the Eastside is like 10 minutes away from us. Davis Torgerson and his wife actually live directly across the street in the back house that we’re looking at currently. So we’d be like proper neighbors with them.

Similar scenario to Andrew Peters, who shot a lot of the images for this interview, and Erik Bragg, right?

Same setup, directly across the street. I hang out with Peters a lot, he’s probably like not even 10 minutes away. He’s in Mount Washington.

TOWNLEY PETERS 026

4x5 Portrait - Peters

Just looking at the portrait you guys sent over. Andrew shot it on a large format camera in a full-on portrait shoot scenario?

I think he had to shoot Travis Barker for some job, and he hit me up, saying, “I know you’re working on this for Solo, maybe we can shoot your portrait and I can learn how to use it before I get on this photo shoot.” I went over to his house and he had it set up all photo shoot style and was in the process of learning how to use it as well.

Papke and Peters are your go-to guys for images?

I feel like they have a really good eye, they photograph the spots really well. Also, just being close friends with them makes it easy. Meeting up with them and not having the weirdness of “I have to do it” because they’re here and I don’t really know them.

You and Peters were on a bike trip together as well, right?

Yeah, that was really cool. We went on a Fairdale trip. It was during COVID, the first trip we all went on. It was really cool! Fairdale gave us a little budget and we went on a camping trip up north, just rode bikes, and skated skateparks. It was pretty fun!

Did you get up to any traveling since then?

Not really, it’s really weird with COVID and companies getting budgets. It seems like there’s kind of a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m going on an OJ trip to Detroit in two weeks, that’ll be fun to finally get it going again.

Seems like the whole world is traveling to Copenhagen Open right now.

I know, I wish I was there, pretty bummed I missed it this year.

"Trying to figure out a last trick idea, that’s always the stressful part, you know."

How will you spend your week instead?

We’re wrapping up the Welcome video we’re working on, that the photos for this interview will be for. I’ll spend the week skating and filming. I also got a couple art pieces I’m working on right now, so maybe I’ll finish them during my downtime.

Still looking for an ender?

I’m stoked with what I have right now. We put out a part earlier this year, so everything from this new one has been filmed since January.

That’s not a long time.

Not a long time at all, I definitely wish I had some more time. But I’m happy with the stuff I have right now. Trying to figure out a last trick idea, that’s always the stressful part, you know.

RYAN TOWNLEY JAM LIPSLIDE PETERS

Polejam Lipslide - Peters

Like the wallride hippie jump from the “Layers” part?

Yeah, like that one. I need to have something either gnarly or something creative. Something that stands out. Trying to figure that out, but it’s hard in LA, trying to find a spot that hasn’t been completely annihilated.

Do you mostly find the spots you skate or do you rely on photographers and videographers?

It’s mostly me. I have a folder from when I’m driving around, taking photos of spots, to get an idea of what I want to skate. Sometimes it happens organically when you’re out on a session with a filmer or photographer and they’re like, “I got this thing up the street,” or something. Sometimes you’ll get some clips you’re most stoked on just falling into place.

HIGH Ryan Townley portrait photo PAPKE

Portrait - Papke

You said you have more artworks to finish, how did you get into resin collage work in the first place?

I’ve always drawn and done collages throughout growing up and my earlier years. It was actually pretty recent with the resin. During the pandemic, you weren’t really skating as much, it was a weird time of being unsure. Just being on the internet and seeing other artists incorporate resin, I always thought that it looked cool, and the way you can add depth to things. I felt that was kinda lacking with the paper collages I made. I wanted to make it an actual piece.

Did you get the creative gene from your family, are your parents artistic?

My dad used to restore cars and airbrush cars and Jet Skis and stuff. He was always drawing and painting and doing creative things. My mom as well, she was always pretty crafty. They just gave me things to play around with as a kid.

Did the artwork turn into a real side hustle for you? Do people ask you to do stuff for them?

Yeah! It’s cool. I’ve always just done it in my spare time. I feel like as a skateboarder you have a lot of downtime. I was just doing it for myself and people have been pretty stoked on it. Definitely another income for me, which has been cool. People have been buying them and I’ve been doing a lot of commissioned pieces as well. It’s been pretty exciting.

HIGH Ryan Townley 5 0 photo PAPKE

5-0 - Papke

So you’ll eventually dive into it even more, spending more time on it?

Definitely! I think it’s always good not to place all your eggs in one basket. I think it’s cool to do something else and I’d like to segway into doing something within art, maybe working for a company or doing individual stuff. I’d really like to have a show in the future. I started doing it during COVID, so there haven’t really been that many shows. It would be nice to set something up to show people what I’ve been working on.

We’ve got some behind-the-scenes images of you doing your resin work, it looks dangerous!

I use an art resin, so it’s actually not as toxic as you would think. I just think when I’m heating it up, I should probably wear a mask anyway, just so I’m not breathing in fumes of this epoxy.

What’s your favorite piece you’ve done? I remember you doing a full-on table.

That one is pretty special just because it was the biggest one I’ve ever done and it was pretty overwhelming to even start to do it. I would say that one was a pretty accomplishing thing. A huge piece that took two weeks to layer and make it right. I was pretty excited how that one came out.

TOWNLEY PETERS 024

Portrait - Peters

Where do you get the raw materials to collage with?

I have a bunch of old mags and books that I’ve acquired from traveling. Going into an old thrift store, I’ve gone to an estate sale or gone to flea markets. Just trying to pick up old books, magazines, notes, sometimes you’ll find old mail or something that just looks cool. Friends come back from the desert or something and they’ll have this junk mail for like a dollar.

Sounds like a cool idea! Have you worked any other jobs outside of skateboarding?

I didn’t start getting paid skating until a bit later in age. I worked at a pizza shop in my teenage years and then I worked with my dad. My dad’s a contractor and I would do construction with him. Helping him demo things and stuff like that.

Demo? Like tearing stuff down?

Just cause he knows how to do all the technical things, so he would have me help him do all the groundworks.

When did you start to live off of skateboarding exclusively?

Probably like four or five years ago, I made enough to kinda get by.

Mostly because of a shoe deal?

More of a joined thing. You just start to get a little money here, a little money there, from boards or wheels and stuff. Shoes come into play and then I could finally move out and live somewhat comfortably.

Did you get any more tattoos? Your girl is a tattoo artist, did you finally let her do something on you?

I actually did. She did one on my shoulder and another on my bicep. I recently got another from a buddy, Nathan Kostechko.

"We were thinking about tattooing each other our dog’s name, maybe on our legs or something."

You started getting into it pretty late then.

I guess I never really thought about it. I have a pretty terrible stick and poke from our first euro trip, a small euro and pound sign on my leg. I was always into tattoos but never really got any. Dating Delaney, she was always like, “Let me tattoo you,” and I was like “Fuck it, whatever.” I’m kinda happy I started at a later age. When you’re younger, you maybe get some ones that you’re not too stoked on later in life.

Have you ever tried tattooing anyone?

I haven’t, but Delaney has actually mentioned it. She was like, “I really want you to tattoo something on me.” We were thinking about tattooing each other our dog’s name, maybe on our legs or something.

You should just tattoo the sketch of him you sent us for your questions & art feature!

I know, right? That little portrait of him.

HIGH Ryan Townley gap Togrind photo PAPKE

Gap 50-50 - Papke

You’re working on making Blue famous with his own little Instagram account?

We started an Instagram for him so maybe he can go viral, so we can get him all the doggy treats he wants.

I got stuck in half an hour of dog reels the other day, that’s where the money is.

I need to start doing that, make him a TikTok star.

Ever get stuck on Instagram like that?

Yes, and I’m conscious of it. I feel like there’s times where I’m like sitting on my phone and time goes by and then you’re just like, “What am I doing, I need to throw this thing away!” I’ll get stuck in the vortex from time to time.

"We started an Instagram for him so maybe he can go viral, so we can get him all the doggy treats he wants."

What do you follow most? Skateboarding or art?

Kind of a mix of both. Skateboarding, artists, all kinds of arts. Just stuff I’m into, just all over the board.

You posted a clip of Milton the other day.

The wallride?

Yeah!

That was insane! We were skating at Stoner Park and we were there a couple of days prior because I skated this roof gap there. We looked at that. It’s just psycho. We were talking about it, like, “You think somebody could wallride it?” The way that it’s set up is weird. The wall starts sea level with the stairs, so you have to gap down out past the rail and then ollie back in. I think it’s a sixteen stair, it’s huge. Milton looked at it maybe one time, and everybody was setting everything up. I was like, “Did he even say he was going to try it?” and then you could just hear him flying down the hallway and just jumped into one. We were just like. “Oh shit, he’s going to do it!” I posted it the day his Real Street part came out. It was funny, my angle was just at the bottom standing there and it seems like that one got reposted everywhere. Everybody was stoked on the iPhone one.

You put in so much work filming something proper and people don’t seem to care.

People don’t even care. It seems like people want to see an iPhone clip over something filmed very well.

HIGH Ryan Townley Ollie Through The Fence photo PAPKE

Ollie - Papke

Maybe it’s the reality aspect of the “Worldstar” angle. You’ve been really productive in shooting all these images. How do you feel about a photo vs. a clip?

I think they’re equally as important, I hope that never gets lost. It definitely feels that way sometimes, with the internet and things getting less and less in print. There’s only a few media outlets that still print. I think it holds value. A photo is still just as important as a clip. Sometimes a photo will look better than the footage.

Also, the aspect of seeing a sick photo and imagining and wanting to know how it went down.

It’s exciting. You see something and it’s like, “Wow I can’t wait to see how that was done.”

When is the Welcome project to be released? I can’t wait to see the clips to these images.

I think they’re trying to lock down a date, definitely before the end of the year. Maybe like November-ish.

Who of your teammates do you skate with most?

Daniel [Vargas] lives in Orange County, he’ll come up to L.A. and come out skating with us. Ryan Lay actually just moved out here from Arizona, so we’ve been trying to get out a lot more.

What are you getting up to today?

I’m actually going to meet up with Rye Beres, I’ve been filming with him a lot. I think we’re going to go try this back noseblunt I’ve been trying.

Ender potential?

Nah, but the spot is really cool, pretty aesthetically pleasing. I don’t really do that trick often, so it’s cool to find a trick that you don’t find too often on a spot that looks pretty nice, you know.

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