ruth hayes

Fabulous People: Ruth Hayes

Olympia’s own Ruth Hayes is an independent animator and artist. “I’ve been producing animation in a variety of ways since the 1970’s including precinema formats like flipbooks and zoetropes and analog film as well as digital video.” Hayes also taught animation in the interdisciplinary curriculum of The Evergreen State College for 25 years. Learn about Ruth Hayes…

Follow at: @randomruth_animation

Hometown: Do you mean where I was born, where I grew up, or where I live now? Ridgefield, CT, Woodside, CA, and Olympia, WA, in that order!

First job: Hard to say. Aside from working retail and waitressing, I’d say it was as an office assistant for The Real Comet Press (art book and comic publisher founded by Cathy Hillenbrand).

Favorite ways to spend your free time in WA: Gardening, hiking, tidepooling, road trips around the state and visiting friends.

Your biggest accomplishment and why: Twenty-five years of teaching animation at Evergreen put me in touch with so many wonderful, talented students and allowed me to collaborate with some brilliant faculty.

The biggest obstacle you overcame: Producing my master’s thesis, the film Reign of the Dog: A Re-Visionist History. It’s an animated critique of common imagery and myths about the conquest of the Americas consisting of several thousands of drawings that took about four years to complete and film.

Someone who inspires you and why: The Russian animator Yuri Norstein whose beautiful cut-out films apply highly realistic lighting effects to flat artwork; the contrasts create believable worlds that for his imaginary characters. His films have a lot of soul. 

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Animation is the most interdisciplinary of the arts as it draws on visual arts, performing arts and literature. It also depends on an understanding of media, its technologies and how it’s been used to influence audiences and perpetuate dominant ideologies. A young person interested in animation as a career should open themselves to learning as much as possible about any and all of these things, in addition to building skills specific to animation. It also helps to have a curious and experimental attitude; you can animate nearly anything, so don’t be afraid to try!

Favorite quote: “Animation is not the art of drawings that move but the art of movements that are drawn.” —Canadian experimental animator Norman McLaren, from a letter to Georges Sifianos, 1986

Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: In the past few years, I’ve been experimenting with camera-less animation processes on film, including phytography, which is the technique of using plant materials to create imagery on photo-sensitive materials. 

What makes someone fabulous: Heart, persistence, ethics and an ability to think clearly and seek out the truth of things.

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