What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Andre Barnwell and I am working on an extraordinary show called Motor City for Titmouse as an offsite animator.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I’ve never worked any crazy jobs, just boring. The job that was by far the most boring was scanning more than 1000 legal documents a day for 8 hour days with a 30 min lunch…I lasted about 4 months.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I animated on a series of commercials starring personalities of Lebron James for commercial and development studio,Red Rover / House of Cool.
How did you become interested in animation?
I became interested in animation ever since I watched Akira, back when I was 13.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from a cultural melting pot called Toronto. I attended a high school who’s co-op teacher put me in the direction of Red Rover, which at the time was owned by the late Andy Knight. There I was exposed to the every day hustle of producers, animators, layout artists, character designers, editors,secretaries, and a computer technician. At the end of my experience I knew i wanted to draw for a living. I became a an intern at Chuck Gammage’s Studio as well at Red Rover during my 3rd year in college. I attended Sheridan College for animation, graduated and immediately worked worked on projects being produced at Chuck Gammage and shortly after that, House of Cool. At Chuck Gammage’s Studio, I animated for Sam Chou’s “The Wrong Block”. Great experience! After that I did character design for a pilot show being produced at House of Cool called “Ninjamaica” for Teletoon’s pitch series. Next, I worked independently on a short called “Smoke This Episode 1” for Toronto rapper Big Page. When I finished it, I realized the industry was a place I want to make my own footprint and make a living doing it, especially with the advances in technology.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Nowadays as a freelance animator for Titmouse, I get up, take a shower, have breakfast, check my emails, visit motionographer.com for some of the coolest visual treatments out there, then I get down to animating.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
Animating for a studio that appreciates good acting with humorous push in expressions is the best part of my job.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
As much as the feedback always makes for better animation, revisions can be a pain. Fortunately the tools are digital.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I own a cintiq and for software I use Flash, Photoshop, After Effects and Blender.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Innovating, inspiring, and surviving independently are the most challenging because it requires you to best yourself constantly regardless of whether you are successful or not.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
The moments for me that meant a lot to me was when I completed an animated rap skit, something I’ve always wanted to do since I’ve been drawing and listening to rap. I was able to create portraits for rappers who I am a fan of. Those were moments that still mean a lot to me today, but I feel that greatness comes when I am able to balance making a notable impact within the industry and future meaningful milestones in my life.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
It’s difficult to think about a tough situation in my life, especially one tieing into animation. Being the best I can be always leads to tough decisions but they help in my growth as an artist and human being.
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
Currently I have been keeping my skills up with a good friend and talented animator, Shaz Lym. We are collaborating on an animated short as brands we are trying to build up… Shaz’s is called Fresh and mine is Studio Tectona. To keep in the loop you can follow me via twitter @andrebarnwell77 and visit studiotechtona.com.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
LoL. I am by far one of the most usual people you would ever meet…for the moment.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
It’s a worthwhile challenge to become an independent freelance artist. I would recommend any young aspiring animator, illustrator and designer to give it a shot. Look for a local studio near you or develop a relationship via email with those in the business to get some perspective into the animation industry. It is a business, and as much as learning about how money works in the industry, first experience if being a visual artist is something you’d want to pursue. Til then, keep it growing.