Ryan Schram is a man of many talents. When he’s not bringing powerful and nuanced brand identities and campaigns to life for Gigasavvy’s clients, he’s filling his voracious appetite with a plethora of creative endeavors. From photography and other experiments in the fine arts to brewing his own beer he’s got us all wondering “Where do you find the time?”
With summer in full swing, we thought it would be a perfect time to sit down with Ryan to talk art, learn about some of his favorite brews, and see what craft beers he recommends drinking to stay cool as temperatures continue to hit record highs.
DR: Thanks for sitting down with us Ryan. I’d like to kick things off with a bit of background. Who are you, where are you from, and when did you get the creative bug? Was there a specific moment that you knew you would make a life in the arts and when or how did you decide to pursue a career in Advertising?
RS: Well, I’m me and I’m from right here in sunny Southern Orange County California. I have been doodling for about as long as I can remember. Some of my first creative memories are from when I was a little lad “Curtooning” right along with Curt Visca of “It’s Curtoon Time!”, a show that was broadcasted locally (channel 3?) that taught children how to draw silly “Curtoons”. My favorite character on the program was Sammy Surf. In fact, my all-time greatest birthday memory is when THE ACTUAL Sammy Surf showed up to my party and doodled right alongside me, my buddies, and my grandmother. It was truly RADICOOL! My foray into digital art began when my father handed over the keys to the annual family Christmas card creative; I dove into Adobe Photoshop 5.0 at the ripe age of 14. Creative pursuits have always been a part of who I am and who I want to be, but I finally realized that I could turn creativity into a career while attending Santiago Canyon College. I guess that’s when it occurred to me that somebody has to make all the magazine covers, album art, and beer labels.
DR: With all of the projects we’ve had an opportunity to work together on, you seem to not only be driven to push the boundaries creatively, but you really seem to experiment with your approach, methods, and tools you’re using to create the desired effect. In the time we’ve worked together I’ve seen you pull from hand lettering, illustration, motion graphics and animation, photography, and 3D. Can you tell us a little bit about your process and what excites you about switching up your approach and experimenting across mediums?
RS: I enjoy finding ways to get away from the computer. Or, at least initially away from traditional design tools like Photoshop. Shoot, I’ve been using it since age 14, remember? Any time I’m able to get off the computer a lil and produce results that fulfill a project’s requirements, that’s a win for me. I’m excited about experimentation across mediums because usually, it means a unique result. I want to see a lot more stuff I’ve never seen before.
DR: Speaking of all the great work you do at Gigasavvy, what are some of your favorite projects?
RS: My favorite projects are most definitely the work I’ve participated in for Flame Broiler. I’ve been able to exercise some off-the-cuff creativity in our social media photoshoots. I think our team rallies around the kind of work that provides an opportunity for play.
DR: Are there any other art projects that mean something to you that you want to share?
RS: Oh, gosh, so many, but I’ll share one. There are times when I have a real need to create something, but don’t know where to start. I have this bank of words and phrases that speak to the idea of not doing. So, if I’m stuck and have the urge to create, I pull up my list and I do. I start up my computer but don’t worry, there’s very little Photoshop involved. I type one of the words or phrases that I’ve jotted down and print it. I cut around the printed word/phrase and then scan while moving the cutout. The result can look pretty glitchy depending on how I’ve moved the print while scanning. I feel the effect works well with the distorted thoughts/feelings expressed in the phrase. I’ve named the series Idle Expressions.
DR: Obviously one of the main reasons we wanted to have this conversation now, was to kick off summer properly. With you being a bit of a connoisseur when it comes to beer we will no doubt get into some of your favorites, but before we go there, I’m also curious about how you got into Beer in the first place. What is it about beer that captivated you, prompted you, and continues to inspire you to document this passion through photography on your Schrambrewski Instagram?
RS: I became interested in beer when my dad and the next-door neighbor started brewing beer in the backyard. I watched them, occasionally helped out, and, as they began to enter beers in the OC Fair homebrew competition, I made labels to accompany the entries. When I began to consume and enjoy beer, I started brewing with my dad. The documenting of beer through Schrambrewski is another way for me to consume and create. It’s a way for me to practice photo lighting techniques and continually learn new things, all while enjoying a cold one.
DR: And For those that don’t already know, what is Schrambrewski, and what’s it all about?
RS: Schrambrewski is all about practicing photography, trying new beer, and enjoying the process. I rate all the beers I try and document a lot of them on Untappd. I’m also sharing some favorite images, animations, and behind-the-scenes photos on Instagram.
DR: Can you share a bit about the process, how you select the beers to be photographed, what your setup consists of, and your top 3 favorite shoots so far.
RS: I start with a beer I’ve never tried before (shoutout O’Shea Brewing Co. in Laguna Niguel for their abundance of great suds). I’ll usually gravitate towards some neat can art and go from there. I’ll choose a couple of other beers that I’ve never had before that may have the same colorway (cuz it’s all about that killer feed). I usually shoot on a seamless paper backdrop with some props or place the beer in an environment that works well with the can design/theme or style.
Typically, I take the photos right in my living room. I shoot with a Fuji X-T2 and any one of my Fuji lenses…I LOVE FUJIFILM. I use Godox speed lights and/or continuous lighting depending on how much gear I’d like to break out on any given evening.
Favorite Shoot 1 – This one took a good effort. I cut up several cans, took a handful of photos, and made a stop motion animation.
Favorite Shoot 2 – I enjoy the bokeh effect created by shooting hard light at aluminum foil positioned behind the subject. Plus, I got ice cream to pair with the beer. (behind-the-scenes image in post)
Favorite Shoot 3 – Because flamingos.
DR: Packaging design for beer continues to elevate. It’s one of those spaces where designers are really pushing the boundaries and making art that’s consumable by the masses. Do you have any all-time favorite cans? What are some current favorites?
RS: Absolutely! Some all-time favorites come from Brouwerij West. Between their collaborations with talented artists and their unique print/production applications, they put out cans that stand out from the crowd. One current favorite can design is for the Surround Sound El Dorado Double IPA by Collective Arts Brewing. I haven’t yet had a chance to try this beer but came across the art and I love all of the color pumped in there. What a fun can!
DR: Packaging and design are one thing, and in many cases, whether it’s beer or music – another area I know you’re deeply passionate about – the designs often reflect the overall quality of the product, from flavor to style and genre. Aesthetics aside though, what are some of your favorite craft breweries?
RS: Some all-time favorite craft breweries include Alpine Beer Company, Left Coast Brewing Co., and Beachwood Blendery. While they all brew some phenomenal beer, I dig these breweries mostly because of the memories I associate with them. I remember the time I took a trip to the small mountain town of Alpine, CA, and enjoyed a couple of beers in their quaint tasting room and backyard garden. I’ve had way too many good times celebrating friends’ birthdays, participating in a trivia night, or enjoying a Yoga and a Beer session at the strange office-building-turned-brewery setting at Left Coast in San Clemente. I won’t ever forget the great sours and the intimate brewery tour at Beachwood.
DR: Veering off track slightly here, but any jamz you’re listening to lately. What will you be playing at your BBQ and throughout the summer? Any album art you’re really digging?
RS: I’ve been on a pretty big IDLES kick for the past couple of years. The British rock band has some great tunes with even greater messages. The IDLES visuals (videos and album art) are just as incredible. I’ll put on the song “Television” or “Danny Nedelko”, crank up the volume, throw back a couple brewskis, and belt some meaningful lyrics poolside with all the homies at a BBQ this summer.
DR: Back to the beer. With independent beer run day upon us, which indi beers will you be sipping on this weekend?
RS: Oh man, so many excellent brews to pick from.
- Perfect Day IPA by Stereo Brewing Company – You can expect a true-to-style West Coast IPA. C’mon, this is the perfect summer day in So Cal beer.
- AFK by GameCraft Brewing – I have to include a beer from my nearest brewery and this is my go-to beer at GameCraft. This one is a refreshing German pilsner. If AFK isn’t available, try their Otaku Japanese Rice Lager. You gotta support your own local craft brewery because it shows you care about your local community.
- The Dream by Beachwood Blendery – A Belgian-style sour ale fermented in oak barrels with passion fruit, strawberries, guava, mango, and pineapples. I love an evening sour. You cannot go wrong with any of the wild ales that Beachwood Blendery has to offer.
- Flyjack Hazy India Pale Ale by Firestone Walker Brewing Company – This one is easy to find, easy to drink, and pairs well with hot and sunny. I like that it’s fairly low cal, yet still crisp and delicious.
- Montucky Cold Snack – It’s a cheap American lager getting more distribution that looks and feels pretty darn hip. I recommend this one if you’re planning on throwing back a few.
- 510 Kölsch by Almanac Beer Co. – This one’s a collaboration with Hella Coastal and it’s just delightful. It’s a lovely beer that’s bursting with citrus flavor and just might be my beer of Summer ’21.
DR: And for those looking to try something new: are there any styles of beer that people may not be familiar with but if they see at a store should be testing out for sure?
RS: One of the more unique, yet accessible styles is a cream ale. Pick up some Cali’ Creamin’ from Mother Earth Brewing Company and enjoy the nod to the classic cream soda flavor.
DR: Well I think that just about wraps it up. Anything else you want the people to know about?
RS: Not really, nah. I’ll simply end this with some Sammy Surf wisdom: “Practice, practice, practice.”
DR: Thanks Ryan, we really appreciate you taking the time to share some of your favorite brews as well as your essential tips for living the good life.