This is a great series to watch if you have the time.
One of the hardest questions for me to answer is "What do you do?"
I've had such a diverse career. I've been a family portrait photographer. I've been a youth directer. I've been a filmmaker, an audio engineer, and back to a filmmaker. I can fill a role as a grip, gaffer, sound recorder, cinematographer. So how do I answer that question?
I have an employer who would refer to me as their artist in residence. For a long time that felt very uncomfortable for me. Am I an artist? Artists, to me, were people I've always related to, had friendships with, but they always had a more eccentric quality that made their art interpret the world in a way I never thought I could. I thought there was something that made them far different from me. I wasn't eccentric enough or unique enough to really consider myself an artist.
I ended up doing a series of videos that focused on artists, and as I started hearing their stories and seeking out other stories of artists, I realized I am an artist. That word was one that took a lot of time to come to terms with for me, and I still wouldn't go around introducing myself "Hi, I'm Ryan, I'm an artist." But I let myself know that I am on the inside. That is part of my identity, and it is important for me to accept it. It allows a different kind of freedom to pursue new creative expressions. It has allowed me to tap into a whole different kind of work as a filmmaker.
So this is probably the only place you'll ever hear me say it out-loud, but yes, my name is Ryan and I am an artist.