Ryon Gesink

A human hamster wheel that generates electricity for charging cell phones. A vehicle built from a satellite dish. Fire breathing gargoyles made from motorcycle, car, and vacuum parts. These are just a few of Ryon Gesink’s creations.

If you are lucky enough to wander through his studio, you just might meet his “goldfish,” a Russian gas mask sculpture that is constantly spinning. It’s rather like being a little kid in a world of giant and magical toys, Willy Wonka meets Hugo and the City of Lost Children. Ryon’s work is so unique and has so much personality we just had to pry a little…

AS: Why do you do what you do?
Ryon: I forget, honestly. Inner compulsion meeting external possibility. If an idea nags at me for over 6 months, I will probably end up making it. It hasn’t gotten boring yet. I’m cursed with this “thing” that I have to do. I see other people who are messing with things and from that I get ideas. Those who’ve gone before and done something incredible, combined with my own brain assembling ideas is like an ethereal embryo that wants to be born. It nags and nags and nags until I manifest it. Then I’m  briefly satisfied until the next idea comes along.

AS: What brought you to Oakland:
Ryon: Its Jack Kerouac’s fault…
I came to AmSteel in 2009 because it was the only game in town that provided the space, environment and equipment necessary to support my business.  Four years later I’m still here because of its location, and there are good folks around; a veritable army of hirable fabricators, word of mouth job referrals, the occasional lending of tools and materials, the overhead cranes… and I’ve got some old pals here.

AS: Where has your work been exhibited:
Ryon: Burning man for 8 or 9 years, The Crucible’s Fire Arts Festival, various galleries in San Francisco. I was project manager and lead fabricator for a huge Public Arts sculpture in Goodyear, Arizona. It was 40′ tall, 60′ long, with lots of curving steel pipes and tubing, we built it here in Bay Four. AmSteel was necessary for that project. I guess it could have been built in an outdoor lot, but the crane was indispensable, and we couldn’t have done it anywhere else with the budget we were on.

AS: Tell us about your work:
Ryon: My business runs the gambit of custom metal work – from fabrication of small scale pieces for construction projects, architectural features, railings and staircases and “big heavy duty construction stuff” – to planter boxes, furniture, large scale public art, sculpture and art cars. I have been doing metal art for 12 years. My first project? A replication of a Vietnam era grenade launcher for launching fireworks at my friends in high school.

We are happy that Ryon just sold pieces from his MotoFurniture Collection, which means he’s anxious to make more. Another reminder to lock up your bike!