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Conversations with Alyssa Lee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alyssa Lee.

Hi Alyssa, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I have been in love with art ever since I can remember. Like many children, I was constantly drawing and painting. When I turned 6, I started taking art classes at a local art studio in Gahanna, Ohio. I grew up in these classes and continued taking them until I graduated high school. Art was a constant for me and I knew that I loved to watch worlds come to life using my own hands. No matter what was going on in my life, I created. Art helped me to observe my environment and the people around me. In middle school, I started my collection of art books from animated movies that I admired. It became my dream to do what the artists did in my books and contribute my creative voice. I painted murals and created digital works to connect with my community throughout my teens. All of these experiences helped me to recognize all of the ways that art could positively impact my surroundings. Eager to pursue art as a career, I decided to commit to the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2018. I’ve had the opportunity to work as an illustrator and visual development artist on a number of collaborative projects in college. Seeing amazing people work together to create works of art fills me with joy. I’m currently working on a few collaborative projects right now that I’m quite excited about! I am a senior now, majoring in Illustration with a concentration in concepts for games and animation. My goal is to become a visual development artist for film.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I’ve been grateful to have the encouragement of my family and friends as I’ve worked towards being an illustrator. Knowing that I have a support system has made following my passion easier. However, my biggest struggle as an artist is shaking off my ever-present imposter syndrome. In such a competitive field, it’s easy to compare myself to other artists and to lose confidence in my own abilities. It can become overwhelming at times. In these moments I need to remind myself to keep trying my best to learn while being kind to myself. As graduation looms in the Spring, I find myself putting more and more pressure on myself to improve so I can find work right after college. Funnily enough, this pressure becomes debilitating in terms of my productivity and creativity. Something that’s helped me with this struggle is finding other creative outlets just for me, like playing an instrument. I am still working on finding the right balance of good pressure and pressure that becomes consuming. However, I am learning more strategies for managing stress and expectations as I go along.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am an illustrator focusing on visual development. This means that I help to build worlds with characters, props, environments, lights, and color. I love playing with shape language and lighting to help tell a story. Everything in a world helps to tell a story about the setting and characters. I’ll give an example. When thinking about a prop design, such as a table, I love to think about the table’s story. Who owns it now, and who has owned it before? What is it used for and how can I show that? Is the table old or new, and how has my character customized it? These are all questions that I think about from observing everyday life. Once I start paying attention to little details in my surroundings, I see them everywhere and lock them away in my brain for a future project. I am extremely interested in understanding the world, which is why I love to travel and experience new people, places, sounds, tastes, and textures. I document these experiences, which end up making their way into my art. I am most proud of the projects I’ve gotten to work on where I learn about the world at the same time. Recently, a short film I worked on as the lead visual development artist called “Kaghati” wrapped up. The team was spread out around the world and we met on zoom and slack frequently to get the project done. As the film is set in Indonesia, I learned so much about Indonesian culture through some of my teammates and designing the setting, props, and characters. When I saw the film on a big screen, I actually cried because I was so proud of everyone.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Sometimes art is like a love letter to the world. When I do a study of my street outside on my front porch, I am focused on capturing the beauty of the moment even if it seems mundane. It is easy to get used to our surroundings, but art reminds me that there are so many interesting things going on around me. I just have to notice them. Taking the time to recognize these things makes me appreciate my life more. Even taking photos of little moments makes me be more present. Finding ways to connect with the world around me helps me look at my day with a fresh perspective. There are a lot of cool things out there, you just have to look for them.

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Savannah College of Art and Design

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1 Comment

  1. Geri Mauger

    January 18, 2022 at 5:04 pm

    Your talent is amazing and no doubt, will land you a job where you can expand your natural creativity of art and color. So glad your grandma shared this special story with me! May God guide you as you bless and impress our world with your lovely gift!

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