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Meet Kyousuke Shimazaki

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kyousuke Shimazaki.

Kyousuke, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’m an extremely lucky person in that I have always been supported by my family growing up. Throughout my childhood, my parents only ever encouraged me to take whatever path I’d like. Both of my parents are musicians, and music has been a huge part of my life since I was born. I took up viola at a young age and played in an orchestra up until my junior year of high school. Up until then, I had been fairly certain that I was going to go into music as a career, but by chance, I took an art class and ended up falling in love. Spontaneously, I ended up dropping my orchestra class then and there and taking up art instead, and within my last year of high school, I was honed in and focused on going into animation.

I applied to CalArts after attending a summer program there, and, though I’m taking a leave of absence due to the pandemic, I will be a second-year student next year. Attending CalArts has been an incredibly rewarding experience, and though I am not attending school this year, I’m hoping that this year off gives me some time to grow.

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 feel like most people in the art or animation community have these stories about how they’ve been drawing or animating since they were children, and their work definitely lives up to that claim. I wish I could say the same for myself because I do feel like I’m behind. As stated earlier, I was an orchestra student and musician until my junior year of high school, and I only truly started focusing on animation as a career path at around age 17, as a high school senior. Because of this, it was difficult for me to really feel like I belonged in the art/animation community.

However, I think a lot of people struggle with this – imposter syndrome is a real issue in the art community, and I’ve heard it never really goes away. Inside, I know that the amount of years spent drawing doesn’t necessarily equate to skill, and it definitely doesn’t equate to individual worth. I’m so lucky to be surrounded now by so many talented artists in my community, and it’s extremely important to view your peers as teammates and partners rather than competition. And, though it’s difficult, it’s also vital to try not to equate your skill with your self-worth. Though it may seem silly, this is something I continually have to remind myself, and I do feel like that’s an issue that many creators struggle with. To any budding artists or animators reading this, we are more than our art, and it’s never too late to start creating!

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Hmm, future plans. Honestly, I don’t really know! I’m the type of person who will go wherever the wind takes me, and though I definitely want to go into animation or some kind of artistic field, I feel like I’ll be happy wherever I am as long as I’m creating. Currently, my goal is to just keep moving forward, keep drawing, and aim for happiness. I know that probably sounds corny, but as just a second-year college student, I don’t think I need to have a set goal for myself and my future yet, as long as I’m focusing on the well-being and happiness of myself and my loved ones.

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