1. 250 character description
Ricky Syers is an artist who makes marionettes based on real people. He started out playing music in Washington Square Park and just brought a marionette for fun. He later realized people wanted to see the marionettes more than watch him play the drums.
2. Ricky Syers is an artist who makes puppets based on real people in Washington Square Park. His marionettes include an elderly woman named Doris, Larry the bird guy and other Washington Square Park regulars. Ricky lives in Dunellen, New Jersey but takes the train to New York to busk in Washington Square park every chance he gets. Ricky’s marionettes look identical to the people they represent but their characters are often more exaggerated than the people in real life. Doris is a long time activist in Washington Square Park who has been a friend to artists in the park for years. Doris was interested in Ricky’s puppets and they formed a special friendship. She shared with him some old clippings of reviews she wrote about famous marionette makers like Bil Baird when she worked as an art critic. After learning so much from Doris, Ricky decided to make Little Doris. He had been wanting to make Psy so that he had a marionette that could do gangnam style. He changed his mind and decided to make a granny that could do gangnam style because he thought “what’s better than a granny who can dance,” Ricky said. Ricky’s puppets reflect on the relationship between identity and art. Through his animations, Ricky makes these characters come alive in the marionette versions of themselves.
3. Persona – A Story of Identity and Marionettes
Tags: Identity, Marionettes, People, Ricky Syers, Puppets, Washington Square Park, Character, Personality.
Doris: Well I am very outgoing and so is Doris.
Ricky: So I was going to be making a new marionette and it was probably going to be Psy because I wanted someone that could do the gagnam style. I think just in that time, Doris had won me in just how sweet she was and I said, I'll tell you what, I can always add a little granny to my repertoire. I'll make Doris and I could still have her do gagnam style because what's cooler than a little granny that can dance.
People for the first time come up and compliment me on what I did for her. They come up and thank me for what I did for Doris and there’s nothing like that. I never had that before.
Listen Buster, I’ll tell you what.
Doris - I think all of them, he goes after the character of the person he is doing and so they become distinctive persons and when I walk through the park now, people say Hi Doris!
See years ago, I thought I was a laborer trying to be an artist, but I discovered that I am an artist trying to be a laborer. That’s what I was all this time.
It’s not really who you are, it’s what you do, but this is more of what I am, and who I am, by walking around with a marionette. I just walk around with it. I don’t think of it as I’m going to put on a show.
6. Facebook post: I first met Ricky Syers at a Humans of New York book signing. I arrived early and he was sitting in the front row with his marionette Stix. I asked him to sign my book and from then on we were friends. My latest video is an exploration of identity through Ricky’s marionettes. Check it out.
Tweet – My latest piece explores the issue of identity through the story of an artist who makes marionettes based on real people.