Creative technology for art & culture.

Portrait of Erik Loyer

I create tactile digital experiences that evoke emotions, tell stories, and spread ideas. My expertise is in building moments of drama, music, joy, and understanding from dense and difficult material, both in fiction and non-fiction.

I founded the interactive media studio Opertoon in 2008, creating and publishing the interracial love story Ruben & Lullaby, the touchscreen meditation Strange Rain, and the digital graphic novel Upgrade Soul. These and other innovative titles have collectively garnered an IGN Editor's Choice rating, an IndieCade award and two nominations, an Independent Games Festival nomination, and over half a million downloads. Along the way I created Panoply, a commercial tool for creating interactive comics in the Unity game engine, which has been used in the award-winning Stilstand for PC and consoles, and Stepworks, a Webby-honored tool for creating digital, musical stories. Interactive comics are a consuming interest of mine — I've released a few video essays on the subject, and given lectures and workshops in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

In the field of the digital humanities, I've developed over a dozen interactive essays and documentaries, as well as an animated and annotated version of the "I Have A Dream" speech for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute. I was also the creative director and lead front end developer for the leading scholarly publishing platform Scalar, which has reached over 30,000 users to date, and the designer of Public Secrets, an interactive documentary about women incarcerated in California.

I'm a Senior Annenberg Innovation Lab Civic Media Fellow, a Rockefeller Media Fellow, a two-time Webby Awards Official Honoree, and my work has been commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. My early net-art project The Lair of the Marrow Monkey became one of the first websites to be added to SFMOMA's permanent collection. I identify as both Black and biracial (Black/White), and I use he/him pronouns.

I love to collaborate, whether in the same room or halfway around the world, and I see my practice as a form of instrument-making. It’s my job to create situations that enable the eloquence of collaborators, readers, users, and players alike.

Workshops & Speaking Engagements

I love to share about interactive comics, readerly media, and digital storytelling through talks and workshops, and I’ve done so across the U.S., in Europe, and in Asia — seeing people make connections across genres of media they had previously thought of as separate never gets old. Get in touch below and let’s make plans.

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