MJ Ryle has been creating for over 30 years now, her oil paintings intertwine opposite narratives and are rich in intricate details and symbols. Today we invite you to get lost in this new curious and amazing world of the Purple Finch.
Can you introduce yourself? Are you a full time artist?
My name is MJ Ryle, also known as the Purple Finch. I’m originally from New England and moved to the UK about 12 years ago. I’m a full time artist/maker.
How did you get into arts? Is it something you've been doing all your life?
I have loved making art since as early as I can remember. I was a very imaginative child with hyper focus and art quickly became a way for me to channel that energy at an early age. Also, my father was really into woodworking and would often spontaneously make things at my whim which I think instilled the idea that if it doesn’t exist, I can create it. It gave me a love for design and furniture. While I run an art and design business now, it didn’t start out that way. My first step in the creative industry was actually furniture restoration which I would sometimes use as a way to smuggle my artwork through. Eventually, the art took over and organically became my primary focus.
What inspires you?
So many things! I love space, nature, music, history, women empowerment, it’s a long list! What I love most are the paradoxes and liminal spaces found between each of these. That is where I do most of my creative exploration so my work tends to be on the surreal side.
How did you hear about the NFT industry? What/who got you into it?
I first heard about NFTs on Clubhouse. I’ll admit it took hearing about them several times before I fully understood what they could mean for someone like me. Although I’m an artist in the more traditional sense because I create physical oil paintings, I spent the last few years exploring the digitization of my work. Firstly, with limited prints and then with design work for wallpaper and fabric. I then began learning animation as a way to promote the art and designs so when I finally understood NFTs, it all made total sense. No curators, no gallerists, no traditional gatekeepers; just limitless possibilities - this was the space for me.
What opportunities the NFT space brought you so far, what are your future expectations?
The NFT space has allowed me to connect with so many incredible people that I would normally not have met - this is by far the greatest success of it all. It has also given me a space to merge all the different facets of my work that I love - the physical painting, the digitisation and the animation which gives life to it all. It has been incredibly satisfying to experience. I’m excited about the future when more and more barriers are removed like high gas prices, etc and as the technology continues to evolve and be more widely adopted, I’m excited to see where that takes my art. I would love to create something that is completely immersive and the metaverse will definitely make this possible. I want to see more women with seats at the table so it’s important that we don’t get complicit in these early days - we really have to push for this now so we don’t recreate the existing traditional art world which is full of inequality.
Can you share some female NFT artists you love?
I’m a huge fan of Rebel Society and all that they do to empower women in the NFT community! I also love Women Rise for similar reasons. The commitment to making a social impact and elevating women is something I’m passionate about and I love when I find a project that shares this ethos. Some other amazing women NFT artists are Shurooq Amin, Karen Jerzyk, and Hueman.
Rapid fire questions:
When are you most productive?
When I’m under a very tight deadline(unfortunately).
If you could time travel, what era and place would you choose?
Maybe Tudor times. I have a thing for Henry VIII - the man was so into himself, he made a new religion just to ditch his wife in order to marry and then behead another. I would love to be there to meet Anne Boleyn and rescue her from ever meeting that narcissist. History did her dirty.
What is your favorite city?
What was the last song you listened to?
Jupiter 4 by Sharon Van Etten
What was your first celebrity crush?
Leonardo DiCaprio - I was obsessed with posters and all.
Who is your hero?
Are you a rebel?
I don’t see myself as a rebel at all - just someone who is not afraid to question the answers and enjoys flipping the narrative on old stories.