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coLabber Spotlight: coLab Curator Dylan Ranney

Dylan Ranney on the drums. Photo Credit: Miles Overn Photography.


coLab is blessed with an abundance of great art from talented local artists hanging on the walls.

From the tiny floppy drive paintings to the Victorian-style oil portrait of coLab member Josh Ansell, there’s lots of great imagery splashed everywhere you go, making the work environment more fun and inspirational.

But this kind of arts-enriched environment doesn’t happen by accident. It’s the result of meticulous planning, outreach, and curation. And at coLab, there’s one talented & hard-working man who’s responsible for all of it.

Today, we’re chatting with the man behind coLab’s indie arts vibe, the man working hard to make the coLab a visually pleasing place to work instead of a drab, soulless office.

Everyone, meet Dylan Ranney.


coLab’s Own Renaissance Man: Artist, Musician, Sculptor, and More

Ranney is a homegrown artist, having studied at UBC Okanagan in the BFA program. (He’s also a super smarty-pants – he graduated as the top student in his class.)

Ranney’s work spans a variety of mediums and genres, and while he’s been developing a subtle style of brushwork for use in oil paintings, he’s also informing his creative process with work in other media like sculpting.

Ranney’s sculpting work takes on a rather particular form – he assembles found objects into robots.

(He claims he has no intention to conquer the world with a robot army, but here at the coLab we’re taking some precautions nonetheless. As a condition of his membership, we’re requiring him to teach all of his robots Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics.)

With 17 years of experience as a drummer, Ranney plays in multiple bands. He plays percussion alongside cellist Nils Loewen and keyboardist/vocalist Leila Neverland in The Mountain Sound, a jazzy 3-piece that pushes the limits of the genre.

Ranney is also the drummer for Swamp Honey, a soul/roots 3-piece that Creative Okanagan describes as “Bill Withers, Bo Diddley and CCR in a jam session with Tom Waits”, as well as Tiger Moon, a western Canadian folk band that recorded its most recent album, Cariboo & Whiskey, at the Barkersville National Historic Site in January 2017.


Ranney giving a speech at the Kelowna Art Gallery.


Making a Living with Art: The Intersection of Arts & Entrepreneurship

Ranney is a working artist, which means he supports himself and his family with art. That’s no small feat, and he accomplishes it, in part, by having an entrepreneurial mindset. Artists are, after all, a kind of freelancer in their own way. Ranney says that he makes his art practice work with a focus on interdisciplinary work.

Says Ranney: “If you put all your eggs in one basket and that basket doesn’t do it for you, then a lot of people walk away with a sense of failure. I’m able to live a fairly fear-free life because I know that I have many baskets.”

Ranney notes that much like entrepreneurs, artists face a variety of challenges – primarily financial – that require them to keep faith.

“You really have to stay strong, internally, in your mind, and just not give in to fear. Fear is around every corner…(you have to) believe strongly that money isn’t the be-all-end-all of existence.”

In this way, Ranney exemplifies one of the traits that coLab values – a trait common in the tech industry and among solopreneurs & freelancers: Fearless initiative. Whether in arts or in entrepreneurship, it’s critical to take that first leap of faith and start something, without knowing whether or not it will succeed.


The Ranney family. 

Spousal Collaborations: How the Ranneys are Partners in Art and in Life

In addition to being an artist and musician, Dylan Ranney is one half of the collaborative duo that is Ranney Creative – the other half being his wife, Liz. While the Ranneys are currently focused on raising their daughter Evelyn, they’ve collaborated on a variety of murals in the past. The large mural currently hanging in coLab West Campus is a Ranney Creative work, as are the dugout murals at Edith Gay Park in Rutland.

The Ranneys, Dylan says, actually owe their relationship to art – the two met while collaborating on a mural project.

Dylan is a talented artist, and we’re overjoyed to have him on board as our curator. Much of the art currently hanging in coLab is for sale, and Dylan is the go-to man for organizing an art purchase or commissioning a custom work. You can learn more about Dylan Ranney at www.dylanranney.com.


Original interview here:


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