Better Mornings

The Method: Christopher David Ryan

The Method: Christopher David Ryan Featured
Illustrator. Cat cradler. Coconut oiler. We ease into a Monday morning with the More & Co. co-founder.

If you can wake up every day and make yourself touch your toes, you’ll probably be able to do that forever.

It’s a cool spring morning in Maine and we’re walking up the steps to Christopher David Ryan’s porch on Portland’s West End. “CDR”, as his friends call him, answers the door looking a particular kind of sleepy – the kind where you know he has had a good night’s rest. He’s holding a mug of coffee, and leans back into an Eames lounge chair. He smiles. “So, this is kind of my morning.”

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CDR, 40, is an artist, illustrator and co-founder of More & Co. – a creative agency and storefront downtown. He was born in Texas but moved to San Francisco back in the mid to late 90s, where he had a studio in the Tenderloin designing flyers and other paraphernalia for house music acts. “San Francisco taught me that people live differently than I do,” CDR takes a sip of his coffee. “Not everyone gets up and does the same shit and life experiences really vary.” CDR would move to Brooklyn in 2003, where he helped launch Victoria’s Secret Pink as the director of graphics. A quick glance at the website reveals his poppy, irreverent style is still very present. He made the move to Maine in 2011 to join his girlfriend and fellow More & Co. founder, Maria.

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Since CDR and Maria don’t open the storefront portion of More & Co. until noon, he can ease into most days. “The morning is really my own,” he tells us. “Some days that means sitting at the kitchen table checking messages, drawing, designing emails…” It also means having the run of their light-filled apartment – to stretch (“I think if you can wake up every day and make yourself touch your toes, you’ll probably be able to do that forever”), do ten or so handstands against the wall in the foyer, and hang out with their two cats, Charlie (pictured) and Scotch.

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Breakfast comes in the form of two hardboiled eggs – “I get the water to a rolling boil – about 2-3 minutes – take the pot off the boil for 6 minutes, then put the eggs into a cold bath to stop the cooking. I like them a little runny.” Than he and Charlie sit down at the table to eat. “Growing up, breakfast was cereal. Now, if I don’t eat warm food, I’m not warm. And hardboiled eggs are a very efficient breakfast – you don’t have to be nasty-full to get protein.” After breakfast, CDR watches the news, or goes to the sun porch off the living room – where he keeps a drawing table and art supplies. Lately, he’s been sketching a series he calls Sunday Styles – his signature drawings on top of a fashion tear sheet or catalog image that create a tongue-in-cheek contrast. “It started just dicking around one morning in the New York Times,” he says. Stacks of his colorful “sleepyhead” characters, (he claims they’re little self portraits), sit on top of ads from J.Crew and editorials from Vogue. (Follow his Instagram account to see them – @ccddrryyaann)

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CDR gets dressed in a t-shirt, jeans and orange Vans – “orange is my power color,” he kids – before smoothing a little coconut oil through his hair (“my hair is so thick that most products turn it into a helmet”) and onto his elbows (“so I don’t get dried out”). He plays a few records from his impressive collection and packs up to leave for the office. As we wait on the stoop, the sun has crept up over the low buildings and a perfect morning is taking place. CDR’s voice joins us on the porch before he does – “I have to remind myself daily that at this time I’d usually be crammed on the L Train.”

We have pretty fluid mornings around here. I just follow my nose and see where I end up.

We hop into the car for the short drive to More & Co.’s headquarters on High Street. When we arrive, Maria is working in the back office and greets us as CDR sets up his laptop on an adjacent table. It’s Monday morning, but none of the usual connotations (anxiety, weekend withdrawal) – are present. CDR suggests a run to a nearby coffee spot, and as we stride up the sidewalk, he says, “We have pretty fluid mornings around here. Usually, I just follow my nose and see where I end up.”

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