Jonathan Riles (b.1997 in Columbus, Ohio) is an award-winning animation filmmaker, editor, and sound designer whose work surveys the abstractions of retro semiotics. They hybridize stop-motion animation and digital graphics to create surrealist portraits of nostalgic memories.
Riles grew up in the Hocking Hills of Appalachia, where they discovered their passion for theatre. After performing in various plays and musicals in high school, Riles decided to take a more "behind the scenes'' approach to storytelling and earned a Film Production BFA at Syracuse University in 2016, where their thesis project earned a Bryan Buckley Production Grant. They studied abroad in Bologna, Italy, and Prague, Czech Republic, where they graduated with a 35mm Film Production Certificate from FAMU International.
Riles's videos have been screened at film festivals spanning 6 continents, including the Mr. Vorky Film Festival in Ruma, Serbia, the American Documentary And Animation Film Festival and Film Fund in Palm Springs, California, and the Nightmares Film Festival in Columbus, Ohio. Their installation works have been featured in venues such as The Beeler Gallery in Columbus, Ohio, the Palettes of Keuka Art Tour in Hammondsport, New York, and the MACA Contemporary Art Museum in Alicante, Spain. They also exhibit as a projection video artist for the Mural ReMix Collective in Columbus, Ohio, and the Short North Arts District.
Riles is the founder of the media production house Shelluster Studios, where they commission logos, design graphic animations, produce promotional videos, and supply end-credit title sequences for various entities. In 2023 they earned their MFA in Visual Arts at the Columbus College of Art & Design, where they researched the intersections between Appalachian nature conservancy and educational practices.