Ever wonder what life after college is like for an illustration student? I chatted with recent alumni Alex Smith about why he chose Parsons, internships and what he’s been up to since graduation (even if it was only about a month ago).
Lauren Davis: Hey Alex! So, out of all the art & design schools out there, why Parsons?
Alex Smith: I actually transferred to Parsons from the Coast Guard Academy where I was majoring in Chemistry. I’ve drawn all my life, but I never really knew much about art schools until my mom actually suggested Parsons for me. I realized I needed to just do what I wanted so I looked into it as well as other schools but decided on Parsons when I saw what it was affiliated to.
LD: What is one of your best memories of being at Parsons?
AS: Freshman year was a pretty awesome experience. It was great to get to know and be surrounded by artists and people who had the same interests as me. Because of this coming here was such a smooth transition and I assimilated to the school in a matter of hours.
LD: What was one of your favorite classes and why?
AS: Animation Character was definitely one of my favorites. The class consisted of learning how to give characters visual personality and characteristics. A lot of the class consisted of watching movies, about 25% of those were animated and the rest live action movies. The teacher of the class and I actually ended up becoming good friends and really helped me with my senior project as well.
LD: Nice, what was your senior project?
AS: My senior project was a short animated film about World War I. was inspired by my favorite animated film called Peace on Earth which is a Christmas cartoon from the 1930s. I wrote the short story for my thesis during my sophomore year and in the end of my junior year I started to put it together and finished it about two months ago.
LD: During your time in school did you have any internships?
AS: Yeah definitely. You can only learn so much in school. The internships I had I was treated like a regular employee which conditioned me for the real world. During my sophomore year I interned for Large Animal Games and I worked on a Facebook game called Office Games. My job was to design some of the characters and objects in the game, which was fun to work on. My junior year and my senior year I interned at the company I work at now.
LD: Tell me more about the animation company you work for and any future plans you have!
AS: I do freelance work but am also working full time for the company I’m at now. It’s a small studio called Omega Darling and was offered a full time position just after graduation. We provide a wide range of services from working on educational software to film special effects and animation. We recently just finished the special effects for the new Kanye West video “Mercy”. Ideally, I would like to one day have creative control over an animator film.
LD: What advice would you like to share based on your own experiences for future and current Parsons students?
AS: Try not to force yourself to be anything. I spent the first three years artistically trying to be someone else. For example like trying to meet the standards of a Disney animator. You are good at what you do so embrace it. If I knew that earlier and had been more comfortable early on I would have probably been more successful. Accept it and don’t fight it.
Huge thanks to Alex for this interview, to view more of his work check it out here!