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Meet Andrea Adams of The Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrea Adams.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve been a writer and artist since I was little. My friends used to pay me a dollar to write stories in elementary school. My dad used to bring home massive reams of perforated paper from his office and I’d lie on the floor and draw, flipping page after page as dragons and unicorns poured out of me. My first sale was to a man in a restaurant the next table over who paid me for the drawing I did on the paper kid’s placemat. When my grandmother would walk me to school, I’d make her walk 10 feet behind me so I could tell myself stories out loud. Art has always been a part of my world; what I saw and what I imagined. Music on the radio became the score for whatever movie was playing in my head. From every scruffy black box theatre in Hollywood I stapled costumes together for, to hammering out illustrations for my graduate thesis all day at the Sunland Starbucks, art of all kinds has defined me, engaged me, frustrated me, and inspired me.

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?
It’s been a crazy road. Not unusual around here, I know. Rather than be negative about it, I’ll say that every career experience I’ve had brought me to the next experience, which brought me to where I currently am. Like a lot of us, I had to keep going. Sounds trite, especially in the industry, but it’s true.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with The Gnomon School of Visual Effects – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I think it’s my past 12 years as a teacher where I’ve made the greatest impact in the arts. I’ve been an instructor at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects since 2008 and have been privileged to teach essentially everything I love: drawing, storytelling, history, costume design, character development, and – perhaps most unusually – zoological studies. I took over the class when its teacher, a venerable animator, passed away suddenly, and the class landed in my lap. I decided that because I wasn’t a biologist or zoologist that I would try to build a course that gave my students exposure to live animals, practice drawing, and the fun of designing their own creature.

My quarter horse Nox is my teaching assistant, eater of snacks, and occasional emotional support critter for the students. I bring students out to our barn up in Shadow Hills so they can get their hands dirty (literally, since Nox is always covered in dirt and mud). We fly hawks off the glove and hug grey foxes in class. It’s unlike any other animal drawing class out there and I’m incredibly grateful that I get to teach it to animation and visual effects students who might otherwise never get this experience as part of their education.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Continuing to mentor students. Impacting lives through storytelling. Writing, illustrating, making art.

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