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Art & Life with Ryan Rushing

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ryan Rushing.

Ryan, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
The summer after I started the graphic design program at Louisiana Tech, I had a tough time finding an internship, so I looked elsewhere. I heard through the grapevine about a man who did decorative concrete casting, and he needed a shop worker. It wasn’t exactly graphic design, but it was related to art, so I took the job.

During that apprenticeship I learned about concrete and how to make my own mixtures to get different hard nesses. I also learned how to make my own simple molds using latex.

After I graduated, I forgot about concrete for a while. Five years later I revisited sculpting and casting once I saw the popularity of 3D printing growing. I’ve been making original concrete pieces since then, and because I’m a designer, I get a special joy when I make a concrete piece that solves a problem that I have. Most of my pieces these days are bookends, pen holders, and different type of thing holders.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
About my work:
I make concrete bookends, pen holders and other sculptures using a custom mixture of sand and cement.

My process starts with a wax original, then I make a rubber mold of it. I pour my concrete into the mold, and about an hour later it’s ready to come out. Voila, I have a (nearly) perfect replication of the original, and much heavier.

My inspiration:
Living in Dallas, we’re surrounded by huge concrete structures: overpasses, buildings, bridges, etc., and I’m fascinated by them. Personally, I’m most drawn to abstract, organic forms, so juxtaposing ubiquitous construction material with intimate, organic, human-like forms is really interesting to me.

What I hope people will take away:
I feel strongly about using the materials near to you, and building materials are readily available here, so that’s what I use. If you don’t have access to the traditional art materials (like oil paint or clay or charcoal), find something else nearby. You can make art out of anything.

Do you think conditions are generally improving for artists? What more can cities and communities do to improve conditions for artists?
Artists have to find a community to thrive.

Whether that community is a Facebook group where you seek advice, or whether that community is in “real-life” like joining a collective like Sunset Art Studios. Collaborating with others is vital as growth. Dallas, in particular, needs to do a better job at supporting small arts organizations and creating opportunities for artist communities to thrive.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
You can see my work and process on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: @variousmfg, and on my website at There are a few pieces for sale on the website, and if you want something custom made reach out to at Of course, I always appreciate when other people share my work!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Credit to Rachel Rushing –

Getting in touch: VoyageDallas is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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