Interview with “K Ryan Henisey”

A Little about K Ryan Henisey


I grew up on the edge of the wilderness in Southern California. I always wanted to be an artist. Even when I was a little guy, when people would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up, I’d say, “an archaeologist and an artist; an architect and an artist;” and later “a writer and an artist.” As I grew up, I continued to pursue art and writing. Even in college and later working in public schools, art was the driving force behind my work. Now, I’m a full time artist, creating my own work and projects as an individual and providing creative solutions in graphic design, web wrangling, and writing for non-profits, schools, and small business.

I live in West Hollywood with my partner and our pets (a dog and a cat). I try to stay healthy and somewhat athletic by practicing yoga, running, and bicycling. On off times, you can catch me reading trashy sci-fi and fantasy novels, playing the Elder Scroll games, and doodling in my sketchbook. My books, Status Haiku (Amazon) and The Monster Ballad (Amazon, iTunes, Limited Edition Print) can be found with my poetry and art on

  • Describe these in one word:
  1. K. Ryan Henisey: Mercurial
  2. Hate: Incompetence
  3. Love: Ease
  4. Shakespeare: Brilliant
  5. Friends: Inspiring
  6. Family: Supportive
  • How and when did you realize that this (creating art) is something that you have to do?

I always knew that art was going to be a part of my life. I drew incessantly as a child. When I was about seven years old, I drew a collection of monsters (none bigger than a quarter) and cut them out. I kept those monster paper dolls for quite a long time. Later, we were moving earth on our property and hit a deposit of natural clay. I created an entire zoo of clay on the picnic table we used to have on the side yard.

  • Can you remember one of the first things you drew/wrote?

I remember drawing cartoon people as boy. I used simple shapes to make them – triangles, squares, and ovals. They were cute. Later, after practicing and honing, I spent a lot of time with dragons and landscapes.

  • What inspired your works?

There are so many influences on my work. The top influences would be Ancient Egypt, Classical Mythology, Commuting, Technology, Nature, and Children. I must also acknowledge being influenced by some amazing living artists such as Mia Tschampel, who taught me so much about art and painting as a boy. My poetry is very much influenced by my life and the happenings around me.

  • You are given a painting brush, what would you paint? Nature, Portrait or something else?

I’m likely to paint something else – a monster or a scene from a traditional story. I have a tendency towards storytelling in both my writing and art.

  • How many money do you have in your wallet/pocket? (Including coins) 😛

$22.30 and a hidden hundred-dollar bill (just in case).

  • Your all-time favorite book? Why?

Too hard of a question to answer! It would have to be between Kate Chopin’s The Awakening and Dune by Frank Herbert. For poetry, The Collected Works of Emily Dickinson. Poetry is easy – I love EDs composition and style. She is both playful and metaphysical. As for the novels – The Awakening changed my life and still has an amazing impact on me – but then I am a mercurial creature of reinvention. Dune is a childhood favorite.

  • How often you are found with your pen and diary?

Everyday; I never dare to leave the house without them. If you see a little guy walking along Santa Monica Boulevard with a backpack on, it might be me.

  • What are you working on currently? (Any upcoming projects)

I am working on a number of personal projects. There is the universal emotions series (four watercolors are complete) and my next book, Status Haiku Volume 2 (hopefully available on amazon in the fall). I’m also working on an illustrated telling of “Vasilisa and the Baba Yaga,” and an illustrated, adult cosmology based on primitive mythology called Out of the Darkness. I am always working on new paintings.

Professionally, I have continuing graphic design work for Emerging Arts Leaders / Los Angeles and Divorce Detox. I also manage their social media and websites. I’ll start my term as Communications Chair for EAL/LA in July. My team and I will be producing content and workshops for our membership in the LA area throughout the year.


  •  If you can choose another occupation, what would you like to be?

I wouldn’t. I’d be quite happy to be a full time artist/illustrator.

  • Which of your artwork pieces is your favorite?

I’m currently in love with Fourteen Rises. It’s the latest in my Fourteen Freeway Series and is just amazing. The contrast of the gold and paper “light” is spectacular. I also love the texture of this piece. It’s very tactile.


  • What’s the best thing about being an artist?

Creation. Nothing brings me as much joy as releasing the creative fire that burns within.

  • How do you feel after you finished or while you are writing or making anything?

I often feel accomplished. When I finished Medusa Me (which took quite a while – both because it was a difficult painting and because it’s hard to paint your own severed head), I felt like I had finished a great trial. Mostly, though, I feel surprised when I see a paining after it has been completed. It’s easy to forget your own skills until you see a finished product. (I often tell people that it’s similar to being a proud parent).

  • What you write or draw, is it part of your personality?

Yes. There are bits of me in all of my paintings and poetry. Part of being a successful artist is being comfortable with event the darkest parts of your psyche. Knowing and understanding that I am capable of all human emotions and actions is both freeing and inspiring.

  • Do you have an online portfolio or a blog where we can view your work? and you can connect with all of my social media platforms (or just the ones you want) through my page:

  • What advice do you have for newbie artists or writer?

Stick to it. It’s a long and tiring road, but if you stick with your work it will take you on a journey that is both surprising and exhilarating.

  • Share your 3 most favorite art pieces and tell us a little about each:

1) The Great Pyramids at Giza: Their mass and placement are a great mystery that still inspires awe. I went into the middle pyramid as a boy and lay where the pharaoh was once kept. The pyramids are like a beacon to me, grounding me in the past and presenting a limitless future.

2) Crows over a Wheat Field, Van Gogh:  This painting inspires me. The color and brush strokes are sublime. There is a violence and serenity in this painting that dance just on the edge of madness and genius.

3) Funeral Blues, by W. H. Auden: One of my most favorite poems, Funeral Blues never fails to affect. I’m in love with Auden and this poem is crafted so elegantly, mixing form and classic structure with contemporary life. It’s a goal I strive for in my own poetry.

Choose one:

  1. Poem or Story: Poem
  2. Book or Movie: Book
  3. Money or Fame: Money
  4. Portrait or landscape: Landscape
  5. Chocolate or Donut: Chocolate
  6. Funny or Horror: Funny

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