My earliest memories of creating aniamtion go back to when I was 7 years old. My first experiences creating animation involved a video game from the early 90’s called Mario Paint. I was equipped with a mouse, a video cassette recorder, and a Super Nintendo game that would allow one to create crude animations that lasted an entire nine frames. Animating this way was a tedious process of drawing nine frames at a time, which I would later record via an elaborate setup of my game console connected through my VCR. After hours of work, going back and forth from game console to VCR, I would finally have something to show for all of my efforts – poorly drawn stick figures animated violently maiming each other in some fashion. Not long after, I discovered the magic of creating flipbook animations in the margins of old, discarded books, which produced a similar quality of stick figure animation with a lot less effort.
11 years later and you would have an indecisive 18-year-old attempting to figure out what to do with his life. It was at this point that I had to declare my major. I always had an interest in art, having taken a myriad of art classes all throughout high school. The parental unit did not seem to understand the merits of my artistic endeavors and would suggest I do something "real" for a living because there was no money in art. Taking this into consideration, I chose secondary art education as a major with the rationalization that I could make a living and still be an artist. That lasted for about a semester until I caught word of a new animation program at Ball State University. It was then that I knew, without a doubt, I wanted to be an animator.
Studying at Ball State has facilitated my obsessions in animation, leading to the discovery of several influential artists. My influences include the likes of animators, film directors, and traditional artists such as Jan Svankmajer, The Brothers Quay, David Lynch, Michel Gondry, William Kentridge, Yoshiro Kimura and many others that have added to my visual repertoire. A related career in animation would be ideal, but to be honest, I don’t care what I do for a living as long as I can still create. Getting paid to do so would just be a perk.