Today we’d like to introduce you to Alex Tasker.
Alex, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
First, I was born, and then I played video games and watched cartoons until middle school. I also doodled my own characters a lot and wrote little stories for fun. When I was around 8-10, I tried art classes, but I was too impatient, so I quit and kept drawing my own way: pencils and printer paper baby. I guess I played sports too, but mostly because my mom forced me to. Learning essential life-teamwork-communication skills or whatever was good in the long run, but I had a pretty bad attitude through it all, mostly because I would have rather been playing video games or watch cartoons instead. I ended up befriending a lot of the kids who also didn’t want to be there, and I always found our sarcastic benchwarmer conversations to be pretty comical.
In high school, I decided that getting girls’ attention was a top priority, so I learned to play guitar, bass, a little piano, basic digital music production, played in a few bands, and performed in my school’s theatre arts program for three years. I actually had a really cool time, made a lot of friends, and even dated a bit. I was at a bit of a crossroads after I graduated and started community college. With the big changes that brought, I suddenly had time to play video games and watch cartoons again. A lightbulb went off and I realized how badly I wanted to work in that field, so I changed my major to Art and began taking my first real classes on it.
I studied and practiced, gave up and quit, and then started over and over and over until I somehow stumbled into getting accepted at CalState Long Beach’s Art Department. I fell in love with storyboarding/character design and eventually graduated with a BFA in Animation and completed an animated film that won a couple of online awards. I currently do freelance art, co-host a podcast on monsters and aliens called Close Encounters of the Podcast Kind (CEOTPK), and make music for fun. One day I’d like to work for a studio and own a pug.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I started really late with a formal art education (I was about 20 when I started), so I had a lot of catching up to do. I was constantly behind and was barely scraping by through most of my classes. My artistic discipline was pretty bad, or “untempered” if I may, and it took a while before I started building more confidence in my work instead of taking shortcuts. I one time did an art project the night before it was due, somehow got an A on it with a note from the teacher saying, “I can’t tell if you’re good at this or just got lucky.” And then I got a C on the next project. There’s a huge mental game that comes with learning and producing art and learning to love the process was incredibly difficult and time-consuming.
Money was always tough for myself and my family, so I worked different jobs to save up for and afford my education. I’ve been a Blockbuster manager, a dishwasher, a barista, a cashier, and a gym building manager, to name a few.
We’d love to hear more about your art.
I specialize in storyboarding, character design and animation. I have an unhealthy obsession with narrative and finding new ways to create fun and interesting backstories, mostly so I don’t look like a hypocrite for criticizing all the movies, video games, and TV shows that I enjoy. I am proud of my unique takes and using my multi-disciplinary background to find new ideas and methods to create a better product.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck is the reason I’m here today at all! I joke a lot with my girlfriend that I am a magnet for mild misfortune but tend to be lucky when it counts. I heard a quote that luck is “when preparation meets opportunity,” so I do my best to prepare and be ready for the moment a good opportunity appears.
My favorite story about how that works is that at CSULB, you had to apply for the BFA program (everyone started in the BA Art program, which was just general art, the BFA let you pick a specific focus). I missed the “apply for eligibility” deadline because I didn’t know I had to apply. I just so happened to wake up early that day and just so happened to catch a group chat text mentioning the deadline I didn’t know existed. I dashed to the art college office and begged and argued with them until they let me slide. If that didn’t happen, I would have never been accepted into the BFA, been able to make my senior film, graduate with an Animation-focused degree, or even meet my girlfriend! So yeah, lucky when it counts for sure.
- Website: www.artasker.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: artasker_
- Twitter: artasker_