What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Andy Sykes. I go by the name ‘Hexjibber’ onlline. I work as a part time lecturer at The University of Leeds, where I teach Animation and Digital Storytelling. I also work as a freelance commercial illustrator and animator.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I’ve worked as a visiting artist in schools. Working with kids is rewarding, but very frenetic and tiring. I’m lucky that most of my jobs have been related to art in one way or another.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I created 3 animated films with funding from Screen Yorkshire, called ‘Special Glue and Other Stories’. One of the films, ‘Stupid Table’ won the award for Best Short at Bradford Animation Festival in 2009. You can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbkLwF8O7Jw, I have self-published 3 illustrated books. The first ‘The Hexjibber Colouring and Activity Book’, is a subversive activity book for adults. I created some bizarre adverts for it here: http://www.hexjibber.com/colouring-book/.’The Hexjibber Anti Revision Book’ is a creative procrastination book. ‘Hexjibber Hobbies Vol.1’, is a compilation of the first year of my illustrated blog http://hexjibberhobbies.blogspot.co.uk. I am currently working on Vol.2, which is a complete story, centring around my recent battle with insomnia. I enjoyed creating large scale interactive art projects for Light Night in Leeds. It is an art festival that takes place on the first Friday of October, involving installations, performance and projections. It is great get so many people involved in creating illustration and animation. You can see some video of it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eL2xAmTbg34, I created the ident for the Bradford Animation Festival in 2010, with illustrations from Tom Wooley. It is Jekyll and Hyde meets 90s anime. You can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wd0NIOuvbc
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I am from Leeds, which is in the north of England, in the UK. Think Winterfell in Game of Thrones. It’s a bit like that:) I studied Interactive Arts in Manchester (which is also in England), where I worked mainly in animation. I taught myself Flash and started creating short animated films. It took me a long time after graduating before I started to make a living from it. I did some work for free for experience anywhere that I could find it. I created a lot of visuals for nightclubs and gradually started getting bits of paid work. Shortly after graduating, circa 2004, I applied for some production funding from NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) to make some ‘Pocket Shorts’. These were short films designed for mobile phones. These films started to get shown at festivals, which helped raise my profile a bit. Then I got some production funding from Screen Yorkshire to make ‘Special Glue and Other Stories’ in 2008. This did quite well at festivals and won an award. It has been a long drawn out process.