Ryan Larkin, animator (born at Montréal 31 July 1943; died at St-Hyacinthe, Que 14 Feb 2007). Ryan Larkin, a gifted animator with a unique, fluid style, was once described as "the Frank Zappa of animation films." He trained at Montréal's École du Musée des Beaux-Arts to be a painter, but switched to film through an animation workshop conducted by Norman MCLAREN at the NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA (NFB). McLaren oversaw Larkin's first film, Syrinx (1965), which illustrated the ancient legend of Pan making his pipes, using charcoal sketches accompanied by Claude Debussy's Syrinx for solo flute. The film won a CANADIAN FILM AWARD for best arts and experimental.
In Walking (1968) Ryan Larkin employed a variety of techniques, including line drawing and colour wash, to reproduce dream-like motions of people afoot. It was nominated for an Oscar for animated short.
Unfortunately, cocaine and alcohol overtook Larkin's talent and he left the NFB in the early 1970s. Later he was discovered homeless, panhandling on the streets of Montréal. Larkin's sad life was the subject of Ryan, the Oscar-winning film by Chris LANDRETH, released in 2004. Other films by Ryan Larkin include Burning Fox (1966), ABC of First Aid (1966), Cityscape (1966) and Street Musique (1972), considered to be his masterpiece of movement.
Due to the welcome attention paid to the Landreth film, and an accompanying documentary about Larkin's life and the making of Ryan, Alter Egos (2004), Ryan Larkin was able to return to filmmaking. He was working on Spare Change (released by the NFB in 2008), about his experiences on the streets of Montréal, when he succumbed to cancer.