This week’s episode continues on at HiRes! Visit www.hirespod.com or search for HiRes on iTunes starting November 8th (election day!) to hear my conversation with Ryan about design and my career.
Ryan tells us about how awesome it feels to see his family at the finish line of a bike race, the dad life, and why storytelling makes him happy.
Ryan Starr is a Senior Art Director at Agency M and host of Hi-Res, a one-on-one podcast with creatives in the Philadelphia community. If you enjoy this conversationâ€”which weâ€™re sure you willâ€”get ready for a crossover! Bernardo will be featured as a guest on Hi-Res.
â€œWhat makes me happy?â€ was a hard question for Ryan to ponder. Heâ€™s a huge pop culture fan and it would have been easy to use something related as an example. In the end he narrowed it down to this: Storytelling through the mediums of design, films and books. He compares his view of storytelling to that of Dedrich Bader. Evolutionarily speaking, we are hunters, Bader says. He believes we spend our lives looking for clues, rely on our intuition, and follow these things until they lead us to an eventual end. Storytelling is kind of the same thing. We want each of these beats to be hit.
Are you a Stars Wars fan? Well, so is Ryan. And like many, heâ€™s not such a huge fan of Episodes 1, 2 and 3. And also like many, he often thinks about what he would change so that the stories could have made more sense. Same with â€œBatman vs. Supermanâ€. He was never in love with the antagonism between Batman and Superman in that story. Although he thinks the end result is a horrible mess of a movie, at least he can be entertained by the ultimate directorâ€™s version of the movie which added scenes that made the story more cohesive.
Sidenote: Beware if youâ€™re in Ryanâ€™s presence and havenâ€™t seen a movie. Heâ€™s kind of a spoiler and will tell you everything. Mostly because he gets so excited.
Has Ryan always wanted to be a designer? Nope! He actually wanted to be a writer before someone in his small hometown influenced him to think this couldnâ€™t be a career. After one of his most beloved English teachers visited a college and told him they had an amazing graphic design program, that ended up being where he went and what he studied! (Pssstttâ€¦he wrote a book that he thinks could possibly be resurrected at some point. Keep your eyes open!) While he would like to have a bit more extra time to get into writing, heâ€™s a dad afterall.
Which leads us to something else that makes Ryan really happy: his daughters. He loves when he can spend time with them while they do things like paint and he makes box-mix pumpkin bread. Those moments are especially appreciated when the going gets tough (Sometimes, the sweet vision of what he thinks being a parent is like gets disrupted by having to tell someone theyâ€™ve misbehaved and canâ€™t watch TV.).
Ryan enjoys observing his daughters and how similar yet different they are. Zoe is 9 and ultra creative. She wants to be a writer and illustrator, which is something Ryan totally encourages. Sheâ€™s also a great actress. As the first child, Zoe got the new parents who always had a camera following her. Eliza is 4 and is a different type of creative. She loves coloring pictures and gifting them to someone. Although the camera isnâ€™t following her as much as it did Zoe, Ryan explains she got the more seasoned parents with a little more knowledge on what to do. Most awesomely, however, is the fact that Eliza and Zoe have a sweet spot for one another and Ryan loves seeing their dynamic.
We asked Ryan if there are any specific memories that he really cherishes of his daughters. Aside from establishing small traditions with his daughter Zoe and thinking how these will carry on to Eliza, he tells us that there are so many and they come with the different stages of their lives. They are also all so individually special they canâ€™t be recreated. Like the time he finished Bike MS. As soon as he crossed multiple bridges to get to Ocean City, his wife and two daughters were at the finish line, sign in hand. Heâ€™s been hesitant to participate in the race again because, to him, that moment was perfect.
Bike races and running also make Ryan happy. Itâ€™s a moment for him to slip away, listen to some non-fiction audiobooks and podcasts, and take some time for himself. This has also helped him lose some weight, which is something he was excited to do. The only setback he sees is the amount of equipment it takes to complete a long race. For the joy of those 50+ mile rides, however, heâ€™ll keep on doing it.
What does Ryan hope for a happy future 20 years from now? He imagines his daughters doing something fulfilling with their lives. He knows there will probably be a time when he doesnâ€™t get to talk to them every single day, but if they ever happen to write the story of their lives, Ryan wants them to remember him as being fun.
Links / Read / See / Hear
Jason Zappolo for editing and mixing this episode; follow Jason on instagram.
Orly Margulis for social media support; follow Orly on linkedIn.
RocÃo CastaÃ±eda for ongoing support; follow RocÃo on instagram.