Alumnus: Ryan English

June 29, 2023

Alumnus: Ryan English

Ryan English, ACCAD Alumni

Current working Title / Employer:   Assistant Professor of Animation and Game Design / Eastern Michigan University

Degree with Department Affiliation and Graduation Date:  MFA in Design, 2010

Thesis Title:  Designing an Anatomic Based Eyelid Rig for the Facilitation of Expressive Anthropomorphized Character Animation

1.  Tell us what you are doing professionally at the current time (please include specific projects you have worked on): 

Teaching,  Advising,  Making,  Committee-ing. 

My last collaborative project was with Timothy David Orme on a permanent digital installation for the H. C. Andersens Hus, Odense, Denmark.  My last physical art piece is titled:  Handmade a 7+ foot tall representation of my hand consisting of – plaster, wood, galvanized steel, PVC, wiring, and 10X life size 3D printed PLA fingertips with my actual fingerprints extruded from the surface.

Before moving to academia, I worked at Sony Pictures Imageworks in Vancouver on: Storks, Pixels, and Hotel Transylvania 2.  Prior to SPI, I worked for Rhythm & Hues studios in Vancouver and Los Angeles on a wide range of films like: Happy Feet, X-Men Days of Future Past, R.I.P.D., The Golden Compass, Hop, Life of Pi, Yogi Bear, Alvin & the Chipmunks, and several commercial campaigns.

 2.  What inspires your creativity today?

The intersection of technology and creativity, things made by hand – that leave the maker’s mark on them – fingerprints, “imperfection,” organic asymmetry, organic chaos, ecosystems, new clashing with old.

3.  Tell us one “Aha” moment from your experience of studying, researching, or working at ACCAD.

There wasn’t just one, every day was my mind stretched and pulled – not always by choice!  Every person, every experience, every course was eye opening.  I don’t think I can put my mind to a single moment, ACCAD is far more than the sum of its parts.  Maria Palazzi, Midori Kitagawa, Vita Berezina-Blackburn, Matt Lewis, Elaine Smith, Brian Windsor, the “fishbowl”, and the long shadow of the Great Chuck Csuri.

4.  What would you say to your “Undergraduate” or “Graduate” self about studying at Ohio State now that you have graduated?  Or what advice would you give to current students taking classes at ACCAD?

Don’t waste opportunity.  Be involved.  This chance will not come back around.  Enjoy what you do, if you aren’t enjoying it: it’s not the right “thing” for you.   Become a problem solver.  There is always a place for people that bring solutions to the table.  Find and hone your process.

5.  How could Ohio State better prepare people for a career that combines art, design, computer science, digital media and new technologies?   

I think that the resources are in place, but the process is shrouded in clouds of overhead and mystery (NOT ACCAD/Design, but the university as a whole).  Finding/assigning a mentor (that takes the position seriously) for first year grad students that reaches out would be an amazing way to welcome and support students on their journey.  I’m sure the experience is significantly different now than when I entered.

6.  What most helps you to balance life and career expectations? How do you relax or de-stress?

While my career has been overly digital, I find great joy in creating tangible artifacts - seeing physical results of a day’s/week’s/month’s work is very gratifying.  I also go to my family’s sacred grounds and spend as much time there off the grid with my feet and hands in nature.  When I can’t get there: yoga.   Balancing life and career? I’ll let you know when I figure that one out.

7.  Tell us a fun thing (or something) most people don’t know about you?

I still have my favorite childhood stuffed animal – a 1976 Dakin monkey with white chin – his name is “Funky Monkey”.  The name was coined by my Uncle because I couldn’t be found without my monkey and I used to drag him around by the tail, resulting in a smelly and dirty stuffed animal.

8.  What would an alternate career choice be, if you could go back and choose a different path? 

Well, when I was in kindergarten, I either wanted to be a truck driver or a garbage man…   I recently saw a bumper sticker that said: “Remember what you wanted to be?” - and at the same time said: “Be what you want to be.”  It is never too late to hear your inner child.

9.  [ACCAD wrote.....Feel free to write in a question you think should be here!]  So, Ryan added:  You are a new crayon in the Crayola box.  What is your name and why? [NOT: what color are you?]  My answer is: Tenacity,  I think I have the focus, skill, and fortitude to get the job done.


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