1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
I am an animator originally from Alabama, currently working in Nashville, TN. I began my career making live action videos as a freelancer, but eventually discovered that my strengths and instincts were more suited to animation. I’ve been illustrating and animating for about 4 years now.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
I feel like I’m still in a developmental phase of my work and career, so I don’t know that I’ve nailed one down yet or that I necessarily want to. However, I am naturally drawn to work that is graphic, stylized, expressive and fairly simple yet striking and I think, on a good day, that comes through in my work.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
For fun: sharpie pen and a moleskine is hard to beat. For work: whatever gets the job done! But pretty much always some form of digital.
4. What is your artistic process like?
My projects usually start with a script that someone hands off to me, so I like to start by reading it repeatedly until it feels like I’ve got a really good handle on it, and then spend some time just thinking about it without touching a pen. Then l usually start roughing some thumbnail sketches on paper to come up with visual ideas without worrying about aesthetic. Once I feel comfortable with that, I start trying to create an aesthetic that will bolster the conceptual thinking which usually just involves trying a bunch of different things until something feels right. For me, this is kind of the ideal, but often, I’m working on a very tight timeline that requires me to work more instinctively. This can be fun too and sometimes creates more interesting results.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
My biggest influences are live action film makers like Kubrick and Hitchcock who worked with precision and had unmatched talent for creating compositions that are incredibly striking on a purely visual level, but also contain loads of psychological and emotional substance. They were champions of using style in a way that is essential to the content. It’s an interesting challenge to translate that to animation and I’m very much still trying to learn how to do that well, but it’s one of the biggest things I aspire to.
Day to day, my private Tumblr feed is a big source of inspiration. It makes it kinda difficult to go back and specifically reference things and I like that about it. To me it’s more fun and natural to consume things more passively without worrying about collecting and organizing into meticulous categories. This way, I think the things that really stick out to you visually get stuck in your subconscious and get all mixed up together and come out in more natural, less forced ways. At least that’s what I suspect. I have no idea if this is actually how the human brain works!
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
It’s my livelihood and it’s the thing I’m most interested in even outside of that. It plays a pretty big one!
7. Where did you study?
I studied film at a small art school in Nashville called Watkins College of Art, Design & Film with a concentration in Directing.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?
I’d like to be working as a director more, and maybe even running a small studio. But don’t think I’ll want to give up the hands on part of the illustration/animation process so it’s hard to say. I could also see myself going a different route and working for a studio full time. Hopefully I’ll still be animating and learning either way.
9. What about in ten?
Taking orders from robots?
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
I hope to be able to continue making a living with it, learning more about it, collaborating with others who do it, and keep trying to figure out ways to make it fun when deadlines and other stressors loom. That’s my most practical goal. On the loftier side of things, life can be pretty scary and confusing, so I’d like to eventually be able to make stuff that gives people comfort and helps them either make sense of things or be able to laugh at how little sense things make. That’s what most of my favorite art has done for me.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
Boiled peanuts are a world class delicacy that not enough people outside of Southeastern USA know about.
12. Favourite book?
I was SUPER into Stephen King’s Dark Tower series for a while in high school. The Gunslinger sticks with me.
13. Favourite genre of music?
My musical tastes are all over the place and change a lot, but my favorite stuff tends to be the stuff that can combine weirdness with a good pop sensibility.
14. What are your hobbies?
When I’m not working, I’m usually hanging out with my wife and my pup.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
I’ve got a lot of teachers in my family, so probably that! I could definitely see myself going that route one day.