More Than Our Story

Ryan Stark

Ryan is a boundlessly creative person. He shares his love of being creative and how it helps him connect with others. He also debunks some of the myths surrounding diabetes and unshrouds what it’s like living with this condition.

Highlights

I try to mainly do only things I like to do. So the art I make is just stuff that I would like to see. So if I'm really into certain TV shows or something, I make art of that.

I've been playing guitar since I was ten years old... So I've been playing for a long time now. I Haven't really got any better since I was like 20, but it's just fun for me.

When it comes to physical mediums, I definitely prefer acrylics just because I understand them more. But I also really like digital art because it's easy to erase, easy to switch colors. But I do a bunch of digital and I do a bunch of acrylic and then I just switch back and forth so that I don't get burnt out on either of them.

On his art series: Art Telephone:
It's kind of like the broken telephone game that you played as kids, where you whisper into someone's ear a word, and then they whisper it to another person... By the end it's a completely different word. So that's what we do with Art Telephone. One person starts off drawing a character or piece, and then they send it to another artist, then that person redraws that character in their style, and then sends it to the third artist. But that third artist only can see the second artist's piece. Most seasons go about 20 artists, so by the end it’s something completely different every time... It's pretty cool to work with artists from all over the world and just help build the art community. That's the main reason I started it was because I just wanted to have more art friends and have a community online for artists to talk about art stuff.

On his children's book: Or Maybe...
I've just always wanted to make a children's book because I've always liked creating stuff - that's kind of like the main part of who I am, I just love to create. And so a children's book just seemed like a great idea, to be able to draw a bunch and bring some fun story into people's lives... So I finally decided to do it because I have a 3-year-old now and I wanted to have a book for her to read... It's one of my favorite things I've ever made, one of my biggest life accomplishments is doing that because I've always wanted to do it, and I finally did it. It felt so good when I finally got it and was able to hold it in my hands.

On his recent song: There Goes My Control:
Well I started going to therapy... and I've noticed every time I went to therapy, I would just complain about diabetes over and over again. So then I just started writing stuff down... A lot of the stuff I wrote down was I was like, oh this would be kind of cool for a song... So I made it into a song and then that just felt really good. It's like I got all my complaints out on paper, and then when I recorded it, I put a lot of like emotion into the into the voice. And also there's just a lot of emotions into the lyrics that I was able to just get it out into there instead of in a less healthy way.

I was diagnosed when I was either 10 or 11... It seemed way easier back then. But maybe it's because I had a lot of help with it and finances weren't a big part of it. That's been one of the bigger issues more recently.... Then my sister also got diabetes when she was 18, which is even weirder because we both have type 1 diabetes, which is called juvenile diabetes.

The main thing that people don't know about it is that type one diabetes is not super common. Something like 90% of diabetics are type 2 diabetes, and then only like 10% are type 1 and type 1, which is what my sister and I have is the one that can't be reversed. Like no matter what you do, you could eat the healthiest ever. You could be vegan, you could exercise every day. You could be your ideal weight, but it can't go away. There's just no cure for it still.

At first it was just a lot of going to the bathroom - now there's more: If I'm feeling really low (in blood sugar), I get super spaced-out, and just don't know where I am. I'll just start looking off into the distance and kind of zombie-like, and I black out for that a lot of the time. I don't remember that's even happening until I get sugar or someone gives me sugar. But if I'm high (in blood sugar), I feel super stiff, which is what I call being scarecrow - that's why the whole, the album art I just put out is me as a scarecrow.

I also just get really angry. Just super angry for no reason. Then as soon as I'm back to regular blood sugar, it just completely goes away, and I'm like, "Wow, I had no control over that".

It's hard to find a balance because it's like you want to have good blood sugar so I can live a long, healthy life. But also like, are you living your life if you're just staring at your numbers the whole time? So it's a it's a hard balance to try and figure out.

That's probably the hardest part about diabetes right now is just all the costs. Because aside from the insulin, the pods I use to deliver my insulin are are very expensive and I have to change those out every 2 to 3 days. Then my CGMs I have to change out every ten days, and those are tiny little electronics too, and electronics aren't cheap.

Another thing that people don't really know about diabetes is like it affects your teeth so much too, because as a diabetic you don't create as much saliva in your mouth to clean your teeth. So I have just really, really bad teeth. Probably 80% of my teeth are crowns at this point. So that that gets very expensive too... It adds up to a lot of money.

One of the big (myths about diabetes) is that I'm not supposed to have sugar because people assume I'm a type 2 diabetic. Another myth is that people seem to be shocked that I'm not overweight, because about 90% of diabetics are type two and 90% of type two diabetics are overweight.

That's how I actually met Steve was through an (art) contest, and I found him and then I just clicked with him, and we talk all the time about what he goes through, what I go through, and we teach each other stuff and it's so cool.

So much help comes from meeting people and then being able to connect about things.

The main thing I hope people take away is to just. If you like making stuff - then you should just make stuff. Even if it's bad. Even if no one likes it. I' a'm my own biggest fan, I make stuff just for me, just stuff I would like... I just want people to do what makes them happy and what makes me happy is creating, and that makes me feel good. So I'll do that every day for the rest of my life until I can't, because it just it feels good to create.

It's good for me to be able to make art, because every piece I make takes 20 plus hours. So that's 20 plus hours of relaxation and enjoyment for me - so it's a win, win.

That's all I'm going for in life - to be the creative guy.

Starkhouse Linktree

Visit Ryan’s Linktree for links to all his socials, his children’s book, media features, and online store with paintings and digital art of anything you can imagine.

Or Maybe...

An average walk could easily turn into a lot of fun! See what’s around, ask yourself why, there could be more reasons than one!

With your imagination and of course an open mind, anything is possible, who knows what you will find!

@starkhousecreative

Visit and follow Ryan’s creative Instagram page.

Picture of Daniel

Daniel

Daniel is an extremely curious person, a wealth of random knowledge and facts. Extremely passionate about a vast array of interests ranging from health to history, science to athletics, everything culinary and the list goes on. Trust us, you would want to be on his team for Trivial Pursuit. Daniel is also years into his battle with brain cancer. He experienced a seizure while on a Zoom call at work in late 2020 and quite literally, his life changed within minutes. After his operation he started to talk about his story but had always known it was more than just him. From then, More Than Our Story became a PROJECT that has evolved into the starting point it is today.

Additional Profiles

Kieren opens up about his health challenges, and how he is still perfecting the balance of being a loving husband, father and his well-being.

Bob Knuckey, 75-year-young, endurance athlete extraordinaire became a 2-time, age-group IRONMAN world champion this year in Nice, France.

Ryan shares his love of being creative, debunks some of the myths surrounding diabetes, and about what it's like living with this condition.

Joe Tolles is a semi-retired, professional hockey player, CrossFit gym owner/operator, organ donor, and inspiration to others.

Ruthie shares her story of courage and determination as she balances motherhood, trail running, and getting diagnosed with cancer during COVID.

Stephen shares his story of grit and determination of how he battles multiple sclerosis and his journey to becoming a three time IRONMAN.

Carol shares how her struggles with mental health led to her founding The Brave Initiative and become the bravest version of herself.

Eric shares his story from struggling with an eating disorder, to coaching people to help heal their relationship with food and their bodies.

Kevin Culliney advocates for cancer awareness and seeking out second opinions and alternatives. He shares his remarkable story of survival, from diagnosis with stage IV cancer.

After his layoff, Nicholas Whitaker co-founded the Changing Work Collective, become a life and career coach and devoted himself to improving workplaces, leaders and work culture.

Michelle juggles many roles with pride: mother, wife, volunteer, her career; yet she maintains a humble, quiet resiliency, as a daily reminder of the dangers of COVID-19.

Steve Veasey candidly discusses his life, his epilepsy, and how his journey has brought him back full circle to his first love - illustration.

Eric Duplain defines generosity, kindness and selflessness, and possesses the sheer determination and talent to master whatever he sets his mind to.

Brandon shares his story, from his diagnosis with non-Hodgkin lymphoma to his aggressive treatment and current remission from the disease. He also talks about his fundraising.

Danielle shares her incredible story of survival against domestic violence and how she now advocates and champions for those who have lost their own voice and agency to this evil.

Dr. George Ackerman advocates for increased awareness of Parkinson's disease in memory of his late mother who passed from this terrible affliction.

Jillian Best shares her inspiring journey from liver transplant recipient to becoming a world record holding swimmer and the first transplant recipient to swim across Lake Ontario.

Ryan Grant Little shares his story from serial entrepreneur to angel investor and food tech ambassador. He also talks about his ongoing charitable and humanitarian efforts.

Greg Robertson shares about his enthusiasm for triathlon, his ambassadorship for the Somersault race series and his goals for 2023 and beyond.