MinnAnimate Profile: Michelle Brost


Why do you like animation?

I wanted to study animation at MCAD literally because it was the only medium I knew absolutely nothing about, and wanted to try my hand at. I love to draw, I always have, so I felt my skills there would see me through. Once I finished my first character animation class I knew I wanted to be an animator. I love making things move, and telling stories. I like to make people laugh.

Tell us about your short in this year’s festival.

“Leonard” is a project I made in my senior year at MCAD. I wrote it initially to fit within the time constraints we were given (no more than 2 minutes). I wanted to do something funny, or at least funny to me, since I’d be working on it pretty much all the time for about 10 months. It is the first fully realized animation I’ve made.

Do you do other kinds of art that inform your animation work?

Before I became pretty engrossed in animation as a digital format, I loved to paint with watercolor. I’m really attracted to bright palettes, which is probably why “Leonard” is so saturated in color. I also used some watercolor textures in the backgrounds that I had scanned into Photoshop. I also love film, so my approach to animation tends to be very cinematic and less “cartoon” like. I’ve been told I have a naturalistic style of animation…I animate characters based on how they would move in real life.

Who are some of your favorite/inspirational animators?

David O’Reilly is probably my all-time favorite contemporary animator. He uses 3D low poly characters in really conceptual and interesting ways. He’s also not afraid to tell people what’s on his mind, and he’s a very accessible artist – I’ve had conversations with him on twitter and via email. As far as structure and writing, I think I’m very influenced by Wes Anderson, specifically his stop motion “The Fantastic Mr. Fox”. It was the first animation I saw that really opened my mind to the possibilities of the medium.

Is Minnesota a good place to do animation? And what do we need here to make it a better place for animation?

I think there are a lot of opportunities to make work in Minnesota with all the artist grants that are available. There are a couple animation studios in town that were started by MCAD grads. From that point of view, I think MCAD gives its students the skill and work ethic to be able to be successful. Once you graduate and overcome the student loan dread, there’s a lot of opportunity out there. On the other hand, you don’t even need to go to college to be an animator. Tom Schroeder, who was one of my animation teachers at MCAD, just started making films because it was what he wanted to do. Now he’s a pretty successful independent animator. I think that’s kind of awesome, and it definitely inspires me. 
I think to make Minnesota a better place for animation, we just need to keep supporting artists. Especially young kids who show an interest in the arts…I knew a lot of kids when I was younger who weren’t supported in their artistic talents and they just stopped using them. I was very lucky and had a very supportive family, but there were always comments from my peers such as “you have too much time on your hands” or I had people asking me if I was going to be a “starving artist”. I didn’t care about those comments then, and I don’t care about them now. I do what I can to live, and make work, and it couldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t had even the tiniest bit of support. So, supporting and encouraging young artists is absolutely essential.

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Filed under Festival 2013, Profiles

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