While attending the High School of Art and Design, I have learned many different forms of creative expression and technique. Despite that, I would like to further my art education and challenge my creative mind even more in the future.

I have been inspired by many artists such as art director Patrick O’Keefe to legendary painter Frida Kahlo. My main source of inspiration is Kazuo Oga, who directed and illustrated many films for Studio Ghibli. As a child, I had always been fascinated with Ponyo.

Whether it was because of the beauty of its visual representation or the fact that I was obsessed with the ocean, either way I found myself rewatching the film multiple times. As I grew, I began to pinpoint what specifically I found beautiful about the film. This included the environmental design – every background was so delicately illustrated with so much detail that it can stand alone as its own masterpiece. I found that Kazuo Oga was responsible for most of the background art of these films. I began to watch the videos of Oga’s creative painting process and attempt to analyze every little detail. Though I am so familiar with their work, I constantly find new things to marvel at, appreciate, and learn from when applying to my own art practice.

Artists aspire to be and do many things, but my goal is to become an art director for animation. An art director is responsible for bringing the simple concept to life, instructing their team, and having their hands in each part of the process. While the art director doesn’t produce as much physical artwork as a background artist or prop designer would produce for a film, without the art director, a cohesive look and mood wouldn’t be achieved.

The art director is the grounding force and the decision maker for the whole piece. They are the roots that support the visual style, not only grounding the tree but letting it flourish. I would like to become those roots. I would like to be part of a team of artists working to bring a single concept to life.

“I would like to become those roots. I would like to be part of a team of artists working to bring a single concept to life.”

High School of Art and Design
Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation-2022

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