A studio visit with Bryan Kring
by Danielle Schlunegger
"I looked up the coordinates where it was 'found'...It's in a desert, in the middle of no where." he says while I cradle the box in my hand. Driven by tiny wooden cams, the caterpillar wriggled around in its box. I began to think of this little paper insect as a strange immortal being out of a grecian legend, fated to keep chasing its lunar love long past any of our lifetimes.
I set the prototype aside and walk into the other room as Bryan carefully pulled out some of his finished pieces from a suitcase. One after another I am handed beautifully constructed books and boxes: the story of a man who falls in love with a bear (which I recognized from the door knob of his studio); a fold out book telling the story of a man making due on the bottom of the sea when a floating circus woman comes to him in a shipping container; a diorama book of a sea monster terrorizing a ship. Then he hands me a box with a dragonfly that shuddered around inside, avoiding the many human hands with broomsticks that might thawk it. The letterpress text speaks to an early memory of the death of the dragonfly, and the regret of the broomstick-wielding humans.
A bit of darkness and mystery comes through in each book. Each short story is a wonderful and a strange little vignette with exceptionally executed illustrations and moving mechanics. I was sucked into each box and its story. Each had its own kind of sweet melancholic humor, like the spaceman of The Fall, plummeting towards earth -- who, had he packed a sandwich, would have had time to eat it.
Keep an eye out for my full interview with Bryan Kring in Venison's Summer issue where i'll ask him about making multiples, moving mechanisms, and more about those coordinates that lead to the middle of the desert.
You can see more of Bryan work on
KringDesign.com and through his Instagram @bryankring