Terry Ryan has spent her entire life immersed in art and design. While she began drawing and painting from the moment she could hold the instrument, her preferred forms of expression were always tactile and dimensional – collages and assemblages, sculpture, environments, and textile arts. The need for materials and furnishings for these works of art formed the beginning of her life-long interest in objects and design.
Majoring in studio-art and art-history at Seton Hall University, she became interested in the decorative arts and pursued every opportunity to study abroad, completing Parsons first summer program in French decorative arts and architecture at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, as well as Christie’s one-year program in the fine and decorative arts, based in London.
Her professional life began at Christie’s, New York, Impressionist and Modern Paintings and Sculpture department, as a member of the small team that annually organizes some of the most important fine art auctions in the world. In addition to the responsibilities involved with researching and mounting these sales, she also assisted clients with building their collections, and bid on their behalf. During those years, to satisfy her interest in the decorative arts, as well as her creative side, she attended classes in interior design at Parsons School of Design. Excelling at this, she eventually left Christie’s to finish her degree and pursue a career in interior design.
Her design experience was earned at the highest levels of the industry, including Gensler and Associates/Architects, New York; Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum, PC, New York; and NICO Construction Company, Inc. New York. Realizing that her broad training and background in interior design and art and design history would allow her to offer a unique and complimentary combination of professional services, Terry launched Ryan Art & Design in 1992. By 2000, it was a full-time concern, with clients in the United States and Europe.
In 2007, she decided to pursue a long-standing goal: earning an MA in the history of design and the decorative arts, graduating in 2011 from the Parsons School of Design/ Cooper-Hewitt MA program with specialties in European interiors and European ceramics, 1850-1950. In addition to studies in Paris, France, and Florence, Italy, her course of study also included internships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she assisted with research and writing on early twentieth-century European decorative arts in general, as well as with mounting the French Art Deco installation of 2008-9.
Since graduating, in addition to her work as a designer, Terry has been teaching design history courses at various universities, including Parsons School of Design and Philadelphia University graduate school of interior architecture. She teaches regularly at Kean University’s Robert Busch School of Design in NJ, and The New York School of Interior Design.