Interview: Hello Ryan!
With Ryan Fitzgibbon
R Y A N F I T Z G I B B O N // B R O O K LY N , N Y
SS: What’s your 9-5? (Or let’s be real, your 8 to 8?)
RF: I publish Hello Mr. magazine, which means my job is mostly traffic control. Being an editor, community manager, sales rep, and creative director means there a countless conversations flying through my inbox each day. In order to produce an issue, or plan a party, the most important role I play is making sure that no one is waiting on me for an answer. Things always have to stay in motion. Of course, that’s a very mechanic way of looking at the business. I pretty much get to connect with extremely talented people and share their work with the world each day. That’s my 24/7 and I love it.
SS: How did you get into doing what you do?
RF: I have serious doubts that it was the paper route I had growing up in Midland, Michigan that inspired this career path, but the stops along the way sure seem to make a complete story. When I was 16, I chanced upon a position as design editor for my high school paper, discovering then and there my love of editorial design. I studied graphic design at GVSU in Grand Rapids and after graduation moved to San Francisco in 2009 to work at the global design consultancy, IDEO, where I helped some of the largest brands in the world develop meaningful connections with their audiences. In 2012, at 24, I decided it was time to cash in those miles and moved to Australia for a year in search of a blank canvas. I started to uncover other passionate individuals pursuing their own indie publishing ventures, and my obsession with starting my own magazine became so loud that I couldn’t think of doing anything else. In April of 2013, issue 01 of Hello Mr. was born. Though, the magazine is really just the vehicle for something much larger. A younger version of me used to frequent the periodical section of booksellers looking for a sense of community so I could understand what it meant to be gay. Too often, the LGBT section was hidden in the far back corner, censored by black plastic shields. While their content was worthy and valid, the visuals were often too salacious for a boy to dare purchase or take home. Apart from elevating the shelf placement for gay journalism, my goal for Hello Mr. is simple: create a brand that is accessible and realistic and that can make a difference for people around the world.
SS: What's Hello Mr. all about?
RF: More than a magazine, Hello Mr. is a community of men who date men who hope to rebrand their image in the eye of the media by presenting an evolved set of aspirations and interests.
SS: When are you your most creative?
RF: On airplanes, in the morning before anyone is awake, or the fourth time I’ve listened to the album of the month in succession. Basically when I’m in isolation and have a chance to get stuck inside my own head.
SS: What's the album of the month?
RF: LP1 – FKA twigs (Yes, still.)
SS: Who is someone to follow on Instagram?
RF: Hands down, @edroste, but with over 708k followers, you probably already are. I also love seeing behind the scenes of other magazines; so I’d recommend @dougbischoff, co-founder of @kinfolk.
SS: What's your go-to source for inspiration?
RF: I’ve always been obsessed with magazines, spending hours scouring newsstands, pulling inspiration from what was out there. Ironically, since launching Hello Mr., I’ve had to put the blinders on to make sure I’m making something different and authentic to me without trying to replicate or achieve someone else’s success. A lot of inspiration now comes from following people’s aesthetics on Instagram, being plugged into those candid moments. It’s so much easier to understand what truly interests someone by the way they curate their feed, which all comes back to what Hello Mr. is – a reflection of everyday life for gay men.
SS: What's the most important part of your, or any Creative Process?
RF: I referenced this earlier, but silence is essential to my work. Sure, collaboration, caffeine, and cocaine probably have their benefits to the Creative Process, but when all the noise is gone and you’re just left to create, that’s when you break through to truly innovative ideas. //