SOI educator Q&A with Richard Ryan

Every year Students on Ice invites different artists onboard our expeditions to inspire students creatively and give a different perspective to many of the more scientific aspects of expedition. Richard Ryan is not only an artist, he’s an animator, sculptor, designer, landscape architect, and photographer.


What makes Antarctica interesting or special to you?

The concentration of life and the scale of the environment; being in Antarctica is like visiting another planet.  Awe is my reaction to the significance of the place, but the sublime it provokes is what makes it special, not may places trigger that.

Photo supplied by Richard Ryan

Photo supplied by Richard Ryan


When did you know you wanted to become an artist and tell us a bit about your career path from there.

In college I studied Art History because I liked art, but at a certain point I decided I didn’t want to be an Art Historian what I really wanted to be was an artist. I have always enjoyed creating and building. I was taking classes in both subjects and just switched major for minor.  Much of my early art work in college was earth art or land art, I studied Landscape Architecture as a graduate student instead of enrolling in a MFA program because it was a more interesting degree that is still driven by artistic and social values.


Where do you take the inspiration for your artwork from?

My subject matter can be anything that I find interesting however the inspiration for how I work is motion or movement. I try to create a motion picture in a single image.


What do you hope to take away from this expedition and what do you hope students will learn from you?

Photographs, videos, and memories are the direct take away.  I know that this my second trip to Antarctica will create a desire for a third trip. I hope the students learn something about cartography as well as the social nature of Antarctica.

Photo supplied by Richard Ryan

Photo supplied by Richard Ryan


What are your plans in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field after expedition?

January 8 a helicopter tour with views of the town of El Calafate, Lago Argentino, Patagonia steppe & estancias, Pre-Cordillera, Upsala Glacier and Perito Moreno Glacier.

January 9, sailing to Perito Moreno Glacier and Los Glaciares National Park.  We hope to film ice-falls and to do some mini-trekking on the glacier with the use of crampons.

January 10, we will sail among icebergs and stunning scenery overlooking the western front of the Upsala glacier and then through Cristina Canal arriving at Estancia Cristina, followed by a trip to the Continental ice shelf riding in all-terrain vehicles on mountainous roads. We will visit the eastern front of Upsala Glacier and Lake Guillermo before returning.

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