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Interview with Ryan McAllister

Pencils, pens, and pixels! This next artist collaboration comes all the way from the United Kingdom. From an artist and illustrator who was raised in ‘The Emerald Isle’ of Ireland and is now based in London, England. Creating work that is evocative by using vibrant colours to depict what he refers to as ‘pop surrealism.’ Known online as Hand Jazz, Ryan McAllister answers some brief questions below about his work and more.


  • Tell us why you became an illustrator and explain what type of art this is? 

For as far back as I can recall I was always interested in doodling things. I recently bumped into my primary school principal, who I hadn’t seen in over 20 years, and the first thing she mentioned was my obsession with drawing. I feel that the practice has always existed in some form or another, so the progression to becoming an illustrator is something that happened quite naturally. In many ways I’m still ‘becoming’ and there is an endless striving to improve. I would say my work has reached something which is best described as pop art, with a touch of futuristic surrealism.

  • Describe what a ‘day in the life’ is like for you, as an artist?

Most of my time is spent working from home. Lately, I feel like I’ve been discovering a whole new meaning to that term! Fortunately, I live in an area of London which has everything you could need – it’s almost like a microcosm of the city as a whole. The basic contents of any good day for me include, in no particular order, a hot then cold shower, (mostly) nutritious food, lots of tea, work, walking the dog, work, exercise, a quick Playstation burst, entertaining the dog, work, chill, sleep.

  • For those interested in this art form, what qualities do you think are needed to make a good illustrator/designer? 

Most importantly I feel you need to have a real passion for the art form and be willing to spend a lot of your time obsessing over it. You have to be able to connect your inspiration to the visual message you want to bring to life. When it comes to the work, consistency is a big key, as well as recognising how to navigate creative blocks (these are very real!). It’s important to learn how to avoid overthinking ideas or procrastinating on them. Sometimes you will just need to start before you’re ready. 

  • How important is creative expression during these recent global events, in your current situation?

I really believe creative expression, in any way, plays a vital role in general mental well being. We all know that for children there are many intellectual and emotional benefits, but just because we grow up and get older doesn’t mean we should abandon our creative endeavours – if anything they should be promoted. Right now might be the best time in life to pursue one.

  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

Ideally in a crowded space, with a smile on my face!

  • Why is it important for you to share your work with the cannabis community in Canada and to work with Spiritleaf? 

I’ve yet to step foot on Canadian ground, but I’ve always been fascinated by its outstanding natural beauty, and more recently the vibrant arts, music, and cultural scenes. When I was asked to collaborate with Spiritleaf I had a chance to learn a bit about the ethos they were built on and their vision for Canada, so I couldn’t refuse. 

  • Currently, in the UK only medical cannabis is permitted. Do you have any personal thoughts about legalization in the country you live in? 

I believe it is only a matter of time until full legalization in the UK, and I personally look forward to that day. Recent opinion polls have also suggested the majority of the public support legalization. We should learn from the ways that other countries have tried to regulate access to cannabis. I also think it’s important to see companies like Spiritleaf leading the way and showing how it can be done. 

To get a copy of this original art created by Ryan, join The Collective by visiting a Spiritleaf store to learn more. Click here to find a location nearest you.

Check out Ryan’s recent projects by following this link, https://handjazz.com/projects.  Follow Ryan’s Instagram profile, click here for more.

References:  cannabisbusinesstimes.comWikipedia.

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