“What the Hunch?”…An interview with top Hunch contributor Ryyan Joye
Here’s what she had to say:
Hunch: Your website says you’re a freelance graphic designer. How did this come about, and when did you know you wanted to be a designer?
Ryyan: Believe it or not, I wanted to work with Disney when I was younger (which is still one of my goals), so I pursued animation when I went to college. My plan was to major in illustration and transfer to a different school for animation. However, along the way, I had to take a mandatory class in graphic design, and something about type and layout and communication just excited me. My graphic design professor told me that he thought I would do better in graphic design. Once I had taken a few more classes, I had to agree with him—though I still want to start my own cartoon. After graduation, the job market was bleak, but I managed to get a position as an intern—which has been the longest intern position known to man, I think. Since I intern part-time, I have plenty of time on the side to work freelance whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Hunch: On one of your (several) sites, you share some of your writing as well as thoughts on writing itself. What are some books that you especially admire in terms of the quality of the author’s writing?
Ryyan: (*gasp* Now that you mention it, I do have a bunch of sites)
Whenever someone asks me about authors, I have a hard time responding. Basically, I’ve grown up reading—my sisters and I used to spend hours after school at the library (not by choice, but I still enjoyed it). At the time, I was young and I read series like Goosebumps and drooled over Tolkein. Fantasy books by Mercedes Lackey were my favorite and I couldn’t survive without Lilian Jackson Braun’s Cat Who series. However, because I am always interested in reading any and everything—from Chaucer and Homer to Lemony Snicket—books that I admire are so broad in terms of content that I can rarely choose only a few to highlight. I read graphic novels and kid’s books. I enjoy Gladwell’s informative pieces. I’ve recently discovered D. M. Cornish and must say that for a young adult series his books are really great, and the illustrations and appendices are a wonderful bonus. Whenever I visit a book store, I browse through the fiction offerings which has led me to the discovery of authors like Douglas Coupland.
So, the short way of answering your question is to say that I could not possibly list the books that I admire because it would be much too long. I could mention Stieg Larsson, Jedediah Berry, James A. Owen, Clive Barker, and Judy Blume, but I would be leaving out so many others like H. P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury, and George Orwell. So my admiration is spread out to authors that could be well-known for their classics or brand new or less popular. That being said, I have to be honest and say that I do judge books by their cover ALL the time. I am less likely to pick up a book with a badly-designed cover—though I will get to it eventually. It’s probably a bad practice, but I have found some interesting (and not so interesting) books that way.
Hunch: You are very active online not only on Hunch, but on many other sites. What are some other sites you use that you feel do a good job of building a community?
Ryyan: When Facebook first started (and was The Facebook), I was totally taken by it. The ability to reconnect with people I knew as a “little kid” was so much fun. I had lived overseas, so I missed out on much of my friends’ lives and hearing how they chose their college/university and what they were up to was awesome. Now, I’m not as taken by it since my parents are up there, but it’s a great way to be in touch with others.
I recently joined Threadless and NaNoWriMo (quick shout-out to sushimustwrite for letting me know about it). The forums and scheduled meet-ups both sites provide are a great way to connect long-distance and in person. You can get feedback from other users and you already have something in common!
20 Something Bloggers is a great way to find other bloggers that are in their twenties and possibly in your neighborhood that have many of the same interests you do. As a fairly new blogger—I’ve been blogging for a little over a year now—I enjoy the fact that I can learn about other bloggers and get tips along the way.
Hunch: In this summer’s Wired Magazine profile story about Hunch, our CEO Chris Dixon referenced you as one of Hunch’s top contributors. We didn’t mention that to you in advance, so it must have been a surprise. Did you notice the article yourself, or did someone else tip you off that you were mentioned in it?
Ryyan: The Wired article was a huge surprise! I generally like Wired already and turn to their site often, so I was very excited that Hunch was being featured. I always stay up-to-date with Hunch happenings, so I had plans to read the article a bit later after seeing a link to it in the Hunch blog. However, over the course of a day or two I kept getting asked on twitter and through Hunch mail if I had read the article yet. Intrigued, I read through the article and was definitely shocked when I ran across my name—at which point I naturally sent the link to friends and family to show them.
Hunch: In your Hunch profile, you say you are “Hunch’s biggest fan.” Why?
Ryyan: Though I was not one of the pioneers of Hunch, when it launched I joined because it was really fun and had a pretty snazzy site. After a week or two, I had a full-fledged obsession. I nervously started my first topic (Care Bears!) and was so surprised when it was mentioned in a blog post after the launch—which at the time, I had a mere 331 contributions. I learned so many new things while creating even more topics, trying topics, and helping others develop their topics that I would find inspiration for design and conversation pieces. Since Hunch, I’ve developed an interest in many things that I doubt I would know of without it.
Not only that, Hunch’s staff is very nice and always responds to my flecks and messages. I even have cool Hunch SWAG (hoody, buttons, stickers, and a tee). I decided that if sports teams need cheerleaders and fans to boost morale, Hunch would welcome a fan always wishing them well as they grow and adapt to fit the market. Though I have yet to visit the offices (one day; NY isn’t that far from DC) and am in no way employed there, I always promote Hunch like a traveling salesperson.
If someone can’t figure out what to buy or where to eat, I think to myself, “What the Hunch?” and get them onto the site right away. I think that gave me enough incentive to tag myself as Hunch’s biggest fan.