Hello, I feel very honored to have this opportunity for the interview! My name is Alwin George and I am an Animation graduate student here at SCAD. I come a long way from the southern part of India, from a beautiful state called Kerala. I came to SCAD about 16 months ago with a bachelor’s degree in Communication design. I specialize in 3D environment look development and 3D layout art, in addition I also enjoy doing some other animation production needs such as story boarding and previsualization. I am not a super active person, but I am always down for meeting new people, I find it fascinating to be part of the journey interacting with so many creative minds.
What area of animation do you enjoy the most and why?
During my initial months here at SCAD, I called myself a generalist because I loved every aspect of animation and I was lucky to explore most of it too. After getting to know more about the environment art, I was able to relate it to myself than any other animation production need, so now I can say I enjoy building environments more. I have lived in remote villages but also in the most crowded cities in India, living with the poorest to some of the most prosperous I got to see few slices of life. All the places I stayed in had so many unique colors and emotions around. I believe these experiences I had have influenced me towards environment art because I realized that even environments could tell stories.
What is a challenge that you’ve had to overcome?
For me, more than challenges were realizations. Growing up as a kid in a place like India, whatever offered to me here was more than luxury. After moving to the US, I realize that it takes guts to step into a new culture and the main challenge was to learn to unlearn. Now I realize that my expectations and perceptions about this place were completely wrong. I still carry the spirit, and the creative foundation from my country, that kid never saw himself crossing oceans, and now here I am on another continent, compounding all those thoughts to create more.
What advice would you give yourself as a freshman?
I would tell myself to explore areas of animation and figure out what you would like to focus on. I think this advice would have helped me to pick my elective classes a bit more wisely. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what I have already learned.
What inspires you during a difficult project?
I usually beat those creative blocks by working on multiple projects simultaneously, but sometimes for me, it can be tricky to stay enthusiastic and inspired all the time while working. Then, I take small breaks to reach out to my creative friends and just talk about the issue that I am facing. Those interactions have always helped to broaden my horizon and approach the problem more practically.
What experiences have stood out to you?
I had couple of good experiences while here at SCAD. I was lucky to do a volunteering job in an animation company in Texas, during the last winter break. Even though it was a very small firm, I consider this opportunity not only as a blessing but also as an industry experience and the door to my dreams. I worked on several projects there and the one which excited me the most was a short stop motion animation project for a kid’s TV channel. I worked with physical riggs and other stop motion equipment, and I also got to see what goes into the production of their shows and learn from the incredible people that work there.
What are some things you are looking forward to this year?
Great question. I ask myself that almost every day. It is constantly evolving as our world during these pandemic changes all the time. For now, I can safely say that I will be focusing on the ideation of my thesis project. I am attending the career fair this quarter so preparation for that also is a main concern right now. I think one of the best things I can do this year as an artist and human is expand my perspective by getting to know people outside my usual circles.
What inspires you?
Life has been relatively kind to me, I wasn’t that privileged to watch many Hollywood movies because of the cultural taboo, that my society believed that the violence and explicit content would destroy my mind. I was always asked to close my eyes while watching the drawing scene from the movie ‘Titanic’. This is one reason why all my inspiration comes from real-life events. So, I can confidently say that my environment designs will be relatable to the audience in one or the other way.
What classes have you enjoyed, and why?
To be honest, apart from those mandatory theory classes, I enjoyed every other class that I have taken so far. I am glad to say that Environment Look Development class with Prof. Larry Valentine was the one which gave me an opportunity to understand what I am good at.
What made you decide to go to SCAD, and when did you choose to go to SCAD?
After my undergraduate program, I was working in an animation studio in India for a year. I was part of the pre-production team mainly focusing on concept development and occasionally some motion graphic projects. Things were going great for me in India. But in the back of my head, I always wanted to see what’s outside the country, learn animation with proper guidance and explore more than what I knew. And that’s what brought me to Savannah, my curiosity.
What has been the best thing about SCAD?
When I came to SCAD, my first and foremost mind set was to find someone from my state (Kerala\ Malayalee) and be friend with the person. All I looked for in a class each quarter was a Malayalee. Every time I walk through the streets my eyes were searching for a Malayalee. Finally, after my third quarter I realized that I wouldn’t be able to find a Malayalee anywhere here. I am not saying that is the best thing about SCAD, but I understood the fact that I don’t need a Malayalee to be happy in this place. SCAD being a culturally diverse college has a lot more to offer than just the education. I think that is the best thing about SCAD, and now I have friends from all parts of the world. If there is any Malayalee out there don’t hesitate to contact me!
What are some things you enjoy doing in your free time?
Being with friends is the main thing I prefer when I am free, but if my friends are busy then I do satisfy myself by playing my guitar or ukulele. Recently I built a new PC and it was fun to do that too.
Thanks Alwin! Be sure to check out more of Alwin’s work on his socials: