I'm pleased this week to welcome Ryan Hipp to Michigander Monday!
Debbie: Tell us a little about yourself.
Ryan: My name is Ryan Hipp. I am a total dork. I obsessively collect toys. I play Dungeons & Dragons. I read comic books. I have seen every episode of the Twilight Zone several times. When we have home improvement plumbing projects, I secretly wish I could call the Mario Bros. If you show me a picture of a random Star Wars character, I can not only tell you their name, but what system they are from. I understand the most obscure Lord of the Rings references, and will high-five those who know what "BSG" means. Oh, and I make picture books and music for kids for a living.
Debbie (who disappeared briefly to Google what BSG means but who has now returned to the interview...): Ryan, please tell us about your latest book.
Ryan: My most current published book is called How Much Wood Could a Woodchuck Chuck?, but I am better known for co-illustrating A Curious Glimpse of Michigan.
Debbie: Other books, and and projects on the horizon?
Ryan: I am writing and illustrating a book called Cash Cow; the story of a spoiled heiress that doesn't know what to do with her life after she loses the family fortune. Its a story about being a good person and knowing what really matters most in life.
Debbie: Upcoming appearances?
Ryan: My really great and biggest news is I have been accepted by a really terrific venue for the Grand Rapids ARTPRIZE. The Grand Rapids Public Museum at the Van Andel Center will be hosting my ARTPRIZE project. My art will be showcased there beginning September 23 thru October 10, 2009. Its quite an honor as their selection pool was ginormous. For more information, visit my profile at http://www.artprize.org/artist/id/2519.
Debbie: Ryan, that's great news!! And your favorite place in Michigan?
Ryan: One of my very favorite places in Michigan is our cottage on Silver Lake near the sand dunes.
Debbie: Favorite Michigan event or happening?
Ryan: The National Asparagus Festival in Hart/Shelby. We have been going every year for the past 8 years. Its super great small town fun. There is a parade, and the highlight is the Scottville Clown Band that plays every year. Here is some footage I took this year: http://www.vimeo.com/5561285
Debbie: A few fun Michigan people we should all know about?
Ryan: I am a member of a group of really talented West Michigan comics artists called the Grand Rapids Comics Roundtable (http://www.grcomics.org), and my co-founder is sequential artist and cartoonist Matthew Reidsma who is doing some really fantastic work: http://www.reidsrow.com/.
Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about our state?
Ryan: Michigan has the highest production of cucumbers that are used for pickling (an excerpt from my book, A Curious Glimpse of Michigan).
Debbie: Some residents of Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders; others Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: Are you a "Michigander" or a "Michiganian"?
Ryan: I'm new skool. I just go by "Gander, yo."
Debbie: A new column for our tally! (Gotta love those write-in votes.) Ryan, thank you for being here today. And hearty congratulations to you on being accepted for the Grand Rapids ArtPrize venue!