The Meaning of Life in 10 Questions… Ryan Donnell

There are some truly creative people in this industry. Let’s face it, you’ve got to be constantly concepting, developing, and executing or you get left in the dust. I’m fortunate to work with some really dynamic and inspiring people, ranging from art directors, to producers, to creative directors, photo editors, art buyers, and print producers. Instead of questions about email blasts, printed promos, and portfolio reviews, I think that it’s time that I put some of them on the spot to show us their meaning of Life. “The meaning of Life” may be a little far flung to answer in only ten questions, but hopefully these interviews will serve to distill some of the inspired and intellectual energy of the creatives that we work with.

chris crisman 10 questions meaning of life ryan donnell

One of the best guys I’ve known in Philadelphia has packed up his family and moved to Des Moines, Iowa. I’ve known Ryan Donnell since our time working together at Wonderful Machine. He’s a clever gentleman and a talented photographer. Keep reading to take a listen to him and take a minute to get familiar with his work. You’ll like it. I promise.

1. Name one actor in one movie to represent you as a teenager?

He’s not in the movies, but I definitely think John Hamm as Don Draper would be a prefect representation of me as a teenager. Teenage Ryan loved himself an Old Fashioned.

chris crisman 10 questions meaning of life ryan donnell

2. What is your preferred vehicle or mode of transportation?

My feet, followed very closely by my orange, single-speed Schwinn Le Tour III, preferably with my two-year old strapped to the front—in a chair of course.

3. What is your favorite beverage for creative inspiration?

A Negroni, served up with a burnt orange twist.

chris crisman 10 questions meaning of life ryan donnell

4. Name your favorite band/singer and album?

Oh man, I don’t know — there’s so much great music in the world. The Possum, aka, George Jones, died today. He’s definitely one of my favorites. So, there ya go.

5. How did you get where you are today?

Mostly on charm, good looks and the love of a good woman.

chris crisman 10 questions meaning of life ryan donnell

6. Where do you source your inspiration?

Watching people in public, which sounds a little creepy now that I’ve written it. And, of course, my (relatively new) kid, my wife, movies, books and all that other stuff people always say.

7. What is your philosophy on creating?

Paraphrasing Warhol: Don’t think about it, just do it.

chris crisman 10 questions meaning of life ryan donnell

8. Describe a defining moment in your career that has led you to where you are today?

Getting laid off from a staff job at the Arlington Morning News newspaper in Texas and in turn not being able to find another “real” job from which I receive a steady paycheck.

9. Name one person or object you dream of photographing and why?

George Jones. Wait, shit.

chris crisman 10 questions meaning of life ryan donnell

(if this photo rings any bells, you might remember our assistant interview with Tye Worthington where he described assisting on this shoot with Ryan)

10. If the world is ending in 2012, how will you change your life plan?

Oh shit! The world ended? So, this is what it’s like. George, are you there?

Now that we know the world from Ryan’s point of view, make sure to check out more of his work at and keep up with him on Twitter and Instagram.