In His First Gallery Show, Ryan Preciado Combines His Love of Wood, the 80s, and High-Gloss Finishes

If Ryan Preciado’s furniture has some distinct throwback vibes, it’s not just because the 32-year-old L.A. designer worked for Peter Shire, and falls into a demographic that has, in recent years, become enamored with the ’80s and ’90s — even if they didn’t actually experience those decades themselves. It’s more because, though young, he traffics heavily in nostalgia, particularly for his own Cali upbringing: “When I was a kid, my grandpa would give me five bucks to buff and polish his cars; I bet that’s why I’m attracted to the glossy finish,” he told us back in 2019, when we first featured his work. He also cited his grandmother’s garden chairs, and his uncle’s car-show habit, as formative design influences. All of those influences were on display in his first gallery show, A Cliff to Climb, at Canada gallery in New York earlier this month — including via a new, ultra-polished green cabinet that he created at his friend’s autobody shop. 

The show’s catalogue essay was penned by the hipster writer Durga Chew-Bose, so we figured we’d let her tell you a bit more about it before you scroll down to see more of Preciado’s work: “In no particular order, here are other things that inspire Ryan: lowriders; misremembered lyrics; his Chumash heritage; the Pope’s mitre (which Ryan says gave way to one of his keyhole-shaped cabinet designs); the guys and their trucks in Huntington Park who Ryan loves to watch ‘tie things down;’ chicken feet; caution tape made to look like birthday ribbon on broken glass; murals of the Virgin of Guadalupe; a photograph from his childhood of Ryan and his mother rollerblading at an indoor rink. She’s smiling with her arms wide open. You can see Ryan in a yellow jersey not far behind her, catching up.”