Sunday, January 24, 2010

2009: A Year Of Inspiration

So I was thinking about 2009, and all the many things I got to see and do and experience this past year. There were so many cool new things that fed me creatively and energized my soul. As an artist its important to have various influences on your life that make your perspective that much deeper and more colorful. And besides, its fun. So I thought I'd compile a little photo-journal of some of my favorite 2009 experience that impacted or inspired me. Maybe chronicling them will keep me from forgetting them, and hopefully it will also inspire others to get out and explore the world too!

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I guess firstly, the thing that I would say defined my year the most was Mutasia. As most of you know, 2009 was my first completely stopmotion-less year in over 15 years. But, I had a project that was worth putting animation on hiatus for, as Mutasia has been a blast and has really challenged me in every way and allowed me to work with people I love. Heck, I got to illustrate a children's book (2 actually) and that has been a lifelong dream of mine, not to mention seeing plush dolls of my characters being developed! Hopefully by Easter, we'll have our first products available for sale, until then you can play around on Mutasia.com.


The second most defining aspect of 2009 was the addition of Waffles to our family. Waffles is a Griffoshit, a brussels griffon/shi tzu mix. She was 2 lbs when Bre and I got her in April, and now she's a whopping 10.5 lbs!

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She's a crazy little beast but a sweetheart and I have a feeling she will be a huge inspiration to me down the road!

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Another cool thing I got to do this year was design a costume for (my Fox & Calf and Mutasia collaborator) Rob Broadhurst's stage musical "I'll Be Damned," which was produced by NYU. The costume was for a comical, female superhero named Friendetta. The design is very light and silly and works perfectly for her bright, optimistic character.

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I also designed a poster to go with the set......

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Rob (left) with his co-writer Brent Black (center) and the show's director, John Simpkins (right)......

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2009 was a year of trying new, fun foods. I LOVE new foods! This year I got to try Uruguayan for the first time, it was fantastic! They fried eggs on top of all their meals.

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I got to have my first Burmese Cuisine, which was a real treat. It was similar to Thai, but of course had many of it's own wonderful flavors.

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I also had some amazing Ethiopian food, which is served family style, and everyone eats out of the same bowl. There's no silverware, everyone uses a flat bread to pick up their food, what a wonderful experience to share with loved ones!

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And while it wasn't my first time, when I was in New York this spring I made Rob and Bre try jellyfish in Chinatown.....

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I think they kinda liked it.......

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After moving to Florida for in 2007, 2009 was (embarrassingly) our first trip down to Miami, but not our last, and we've already made numerous trips since (gotta love the Cuban food!).

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I LOVE the lifeguard towers on the miami beaches, so cool!

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And I just love the many vibrant colors you can find in Miami......

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And interesting people to see.......

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You can also take some time to be a stupid tourist (which Bre and I did a little, why not?)

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Here's a cool pic I snapped of my sister-in-law, Tina, and her boyfriend playing in the ocean just as some interesting birds decide to fly by.....

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We also explored the everglades a few times, where we met up with hundreds of alligators on the bike path......

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We also saw some beautiful birds out there in the 'glades........

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Watching that heron spear and gobble that fish had to be one of the coolest things I've ever seen!

Bre and I also checked out more nature, like at the West Palm Beach Zoo.......

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like this beautiful tapir.

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Here's a crazy huge iguana that, while at the zoo, is in fact wild. These guys are everywhere! And they love to make their home at the zoo to get all the free food! I just love his amazing orange coloring!

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And here's a hilarious scene of monkeys bullying poor iguanas by pulling their tails and dragging them around. You can't make this stuff up!

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We also discovered a beautiful animal sanctuary that's been just a few miles from our house, and I've gone several times to get up close and personal with Florida's local wildlife.

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I even got to pet a possum that inspired me to imediatly go home and design a new character for Mutasia, named Bazil.......

And while we can see wild alligators here in Florida, a trip to San Francisco's Steinhart Aquarium introduced me to a very cool, very creepy albino alligator......

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I miss living in San Francisco and will happily take any chance to hang out there when I'm back in California.

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This last visit, we went to the Legion Of Honor Museum, here are my friends Rob & Chris learning about artits such as Bouguereau and Picasso....

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Other inspiring experiences this year included

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visiting the castello Di Amorosa in Napa

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As well as this very cool wine cave.

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Seeing Jim Henson's Fantastic World Exhibit by the Smithsonian Institute

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Flying in a 10 seater plane from Boston to Vermont (scary and awesome at the same time. Beautiful scenery distracts you from wetting your pants)

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Visiting Bronner's Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, Michigan in the middle of summer. This place truly is a Christmas wonderland and is open every day of the year, except, ironically, Christmas.

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Visiting my great aunt, Peg, in Long Island......

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Driving my first little hybrid POS. I swear I thought I was going to die in this little go-cart, definitely scarier than the little plane ride. Never again! Safety first!

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We also added some new decorative touches to our house, like our saber tooth tiger skull center piece and giraffe head sculpt.

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And of course, taking my parents to the cartoon mecca of the world, DISNEY WORLD!

And how could I forget these BODACIOUS Nib UGGS that my bosses had made for Bre and I for Christmas, it doesn't get much cooler than that!

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I also got this beautiful Walton Ford book for Christmas, Pancha Tantra, which is just the most inspiring art book I've gotten in a LONG time!

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So that about wraps it up, as you can see 2009 was extremely fun and enriching and I just know 2010 will be even better. Until next time, CIAO!

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10 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Ryan, I had never visited your blog before! Amazing photos!

Ken A. Priebe said...

Cool Man, it's about time you blogged again. (I finally got caught up tonight on mine, too) It's a great life you lead...awesome pics!

Shelley Noble said...

HA! Fantastic, Ryan and Bre! Some great stuff. I liked both colorful lizards, the one in the zoo and the one in Miami!

Best of luck with everything!

Tom said...

Hey, thanks for sharing Ryan! It was so much fun getting to share some of those experiences with you and Bup! We love you two so much...can't wait to see you & Bre again! Babbo

llibka said...

Ryan,
Thanks for including Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland in your 2009 reflections.
~Lori Libka
communications assistant
Bronner's

Robert Litton said...

Good times man!

jriggity said...

Awesome dood!

keep livin life brother!!

jriggity

The Meuer's said...

If I wasn't already excited to come visit you guys, I sure am now. Looks like you guys had a great year, here's to another one!

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Bella said...

Discovered your blog hitting the '!Next Blog' button and i LOVE everything :)Can't wait to read more!