Author(s): Sam Ryser
Iconic New York bands Crazy Spirit and Dawn of Humans were born of separate but complementary points of contention towards everything punk had to offer--or more accurately, what it didn't. What began as vibrant felt tired and stale, resulting in most bands merely going note for note with the glory days. Both Crazy Spirit and Dawn of Humans twisted and mangled the punk formula to create truly bizarre and sinister sonic experiences (a Dawn of Humans live show, for example, would usually feature the singer confronting the audience covered only in paint, his genitalia choked off by heavy chains), achieving instant international acclaim and recognition. Sam Ryser says of his involvement in the projects, "We sought to move in a new and lateral direction, harkening back to an ethos of not only creating with your own hands but breaking down genre and medium walls to sculpt an entire world. By tying every facet of the bands together--sound, practice, live performance, visual aesthetic, and personal connections--we created our own moving worlds within this one, with the end product of a vinyl record becoming merely a blurry porthole." Ryser's influence on the global DIY punk scene has been enormous, through his musical output as well as elaborate designs for his and other bands' artwork.
After years of designing flyers, record covers, t-shirts, and tour posters, he opened up the art and oddities shop DRIPPER WORLD in a converted shipping container in Bushwick. This space gave him a headquarters for not only distributing this art but also acting as a sort of showcase for his own projects and artwork, alongside those of his contemporaries and influences. Speaking to this process of creation, Ryser says, "When approached by a band for a commission--whether it be the full packaging for an LP or a shirt to be duct taped behind a merch table--I seek to carve out a part their world. I wonder what exploring the far corners of their map can do to expand the borders of their own point of origin: punk band. Comic, pastoral settings of glinting clouds over blue skies and lush meadows give a refractive lens to a band focused on the morbid and dystopian, while grittily photocopied talismans of darkness can cause a pressure drop in the atmosphere of a more sensual and romantic band, bringing out previously hidden subtleties in their sound and character."