Spruce Harper is an animated comedy project created by longtime friends and artistic collaborators Zane Armstrong-Rerek and Patrick Crogan. The duo met as teenagers in their beloved home state of West Virginia, before collaborating on multiple professional theatrical productions in western Maryland. They both relocated to Chicago in 2014 where they studied at the iO Theater, performed improv, worked on a web series, and wrote and performed sketch comedy. With a shared love of surreal and silly comedy, and imaginations too large for live action (at least on this budget), Patrick and Zane decided to pivot their focus to animated content in early 2023.
The name Spruce Harper comes from the highest (Spruce Knob) and lowest (Harper's Ferry) points in West Virginia. They aim to blend their uniquely Appalachian perspective with their offbeat sense of humor to create animated shorts that are as bizarre as they are delightful.
Zane Armstrong-Rerek (they/he) is an award-winning surrealist comedian, filmmaker, animator, and artist from West Virginia, residing in Chicago. They graduated cum laude from Shenandoah Conservatory in 2014 with a BFA in Acting. After relocating to Chicago, they studied improvisation at the iO Theater.
Notable projects include their work with the improv troupes Dr. Notorious and Normal View, the weekly comedy variety show "Nihilism... in Color" which ran for 8 weeks during the summer of 2019 at Chicago's Cornservatory, the improvised surrealist comedy podcast Humans of Stubbins Point, and their collaborations with Chicago heavy metal band Speedfreak.
Their horror/comedy short The X-Mas Files was shown at the Sunday Shorts Christmas Film Festival in 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal, and their music video Doomsday Devices was awarded Best Metal Music Video at the AudioShoot International Music Video & Film Festival in 2021 in Wexford, Ireland.
Patrick Crogan relocated from Kingwood, WV to Chicago in 2014 on an Amtrak with a single suitcase. He then squatted in Zane’s one room studio apartment for 8 months. The fact that they’re still friends is a testament to the bond that can only be formed by growing up together in rural West Virginia.
Patrick’s first love is acting. Prior to his relocation he worked with regional theatre companies throughout West Virginia and Maryland. His favorite roles include Oscar Madison (The Odd Couple) and Barfèe (25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee). In Chicago he has performed, written, and directed sketch comedy. He has performed in numerous comedy festivals including Chicago Nerd Comedy Festival and Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival. He is also a musician and composer that is blessed to have his worked performed on stages throughout Chicago. He particularly enjoyed writing and performing “F—- the Future” for Clown Car to Sicily’s sketch show “Nerds of Future Past”. Patrick also collaborated with members of Clown Car to Sicily to write a musical that honored his home state of West Virginia “AbracaDave’s Appalachian Magic Academy”, in which he played the titular AbracaDave.
Patrick couldn’t be more excited to begin a new chapter in his creative endeavors with Spruce Harper Animation.