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Bryan Papciak

Bryan Papciak is a Boston-based experimental filmmaker and mixed-media artist whose work combines animation with live-action film and still photography. He began his professional career at Olive Jar Studios, where he worked as a commercial director, animator, cinematographer and eventually associate creative director. In 2001, along with his friend and long-time collaborator Jeff Sias, Papciak started Handcranked Productions, an independent film/animation company. He has worked with commercial clients Samsung, MTV, HBO, Cartoon Network, PBS, Sesame Street and many others.

Papciak is one of the four founding members of Handcranked Film Projects, an art and film collaborative that attempts to balance commercial work with personal and eclectic artistic pursuits. His work has won awards and screened at film festivals worldwide, including Sundance, Ottawa International Animation Festival, the World Animation Celebration, Dragon*Con and others.

In addition, Papciak is a directing member of Ars Subterranea, a New York-based arts society dedicated to the “creative preservation” of abandoned structures. He is currently co-directing an ongoing mixed-media project called American Ruins an experimental journey through abandoned places across the US. The project is always growing and morphing – and manifests variously as film or installation, often with live musical collaboration.

Papciak joined the RISD faculty in 2002, and he is passionate about helping students find and express their vision.

Artist statement

Papciak likes to work with found places, found history, and found stories via experimental film and mixed-media photography. His artwork is an attempt to explore ideas and alternative histories that hide beneath the surface of an image or a place.

He is interested in derelict buildings – structures built by and for people, but left to the wind, ghosts and incremental decay. He is particularly intrigued by abandoned asylums and hospitals, because institutional dynamics seem to leave a resonant imprint on discarded places. Every layer of paint peeling off a wall seems to release a memory or a whisper of something buried and forgotten.

Papciak’s interest in such places expresses itself in various forms. Film has an immersive and malleable capacity to subvert familiar perception of time – as well as to reveal rhythms that are embedded in architecture and texture. Photography stops time and preserves the observation of a resonant moment reflected in time. His graphic novel projects are photographed and staged like a movie with actors but are presented as a collage of stills. They are an intentionally artificial attempt to find “tales” in discarded objects, documents and places.

Academic research/areas of interest

  • Underground and fringe art making
  • Urban exploration
  • World folklore, religion, shamanic and occult studies
  • Graphic novels
  • Puppetry

Fall 2019 Courses

  • FAV-5105-02 Introduction To Animation Techniques

Wintersession 2020 Courses

  • FAV-W503-01 Film Explorations
  • FAV-8900-01 ISP Major

Spring 2020 Courses

  • FAV-5104-01 Animation Integration/installation
  • FAV-5121-01 Experimental Film Techniques