Today we’d like to introduce you to Handel Eugene.
Handel, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started on my path into this industry while taking TV production back in high school (Hillsborough High School Tampa Florida). I would record the football games on a Friday, edit the video together over the weekend, & have them ready to show the school on Monday. I knew that this (or something similar to it) was what I wanted to do because the hours I spent editing would always fly past. Making creative content was something I really enjoyed.
After bouncing between a few majors in college at UCF (zig zagging & testing things out), I stumbled upon Adobe After Effects which opened up a whole new world for me. After being introduced, it felt like there was now an endless possibility of creativity on the computer. I started focusing my attention on creating motion graphics inside of After Effects & would later transfer to art school at Full Sail University.
While there, I learned the tools & techniques, but I attribute my skill development to those countless hours in the labs late at night. I was always working on my own projects outside of school to get better at my craft. I worked hard while there & was able to land two internships during my schooling.
Upon graduation, I took a few job interviews in Los Angeles, California. Packed up my things with no guarantee of a job & moved to LA. I freelanced for We Are Royale, & later was offered a staff position where I worked for them for the next 5 years developing my skills & craft even further. While there, I got the chance to create commercial content for brands like Nike, Apple, Toyota & Disney to name a few.
Since then, I’ve gone freelance which allows me to invest more of my time into becoming an independent artist. Currently working directly with clients & studios while hopefully furthering my reputation as a proficient artist in the commercial arts industry.
Has it been a smooth road?
There were quite a few struggles along the way. Telling family members & friends early on you want to go into a creative field is a challenge on its own. More often than not, someone knows a guy who pursued a field in the arts & is now struggling to pay the bills while drowning in debt. Further validating the broke artist mentality/misconception. No one around me I knew was successful at this & no one in my family or circle of friends was making a living as an artist. So, overcoming fear & doubt was a major hurdle early on. Deciding to pursue this full time was a long process that didn’t happen overnight; it was something I didn’t take lightly. I had the love & support of my family & girlfriend (now wife) but no one encouraged me to be an artist early on. Had I listen to the suggestions of others around me at the time, I would have probably been fixing computers in a dark room somewhere instead of using computers to create art which is what I really wanted to do.
Because I struggled internally with the decision for so long, when I finally made it to art school I felt more motivated than ever to try & make this work. I knew it was going to be hard & yes, not alot of people make it as an artist. However I used that to push me to ensure that I was in that small percentage of artists who not only were doing this for a living but also thriving.
Thankfully, with the support of those around me, the investment I made in myself as a young artist was well worth the risk & sacrifices. It has since paid off with lots to look forward to in the future.
Have you ever wanted to stop doing what you do and just start over?
As an artist, you go through alot of ups & downs, but for me I don’t remember a moment when I really felt like truly quitting. Once I decided to pursue this fully, there was no plan B. There are some folks out there pursuing a career knowing that if it doesn’t work out they have something to fall back on, that wasn’t me. I had no safety net, so quitting wasn’t an option.
I did however struggle with insecurities ALL the time (& often still do). Creating work that wasn’t good quality & comparing my work to others. This was discouraging at times, but I tried my best to flip it & use it as motivation to get better. I think Ira Glass’ talk called “The Gap” summarizes it best. He mentions that there’s a time where our taste for art is really good but the work were creating isn’t. At this point, alot of artists starting out quit before they’ve really gotten started. But what many don’t realize is that every artist was once an amateur, nobody started off great creating amazing work. You actually have to create alot of bad work first to close that gap before you start creating the kind of work that reaches your standards, taste, & potential. That talk has helped me & alot of young struggling artists continue pushing forward through tough times.
Let’s change gears – is there any advice you’d like to give?
Nothing worth having comes easy.
From my experience & past conversations, what I’ve come to learn is that there are more than a few individuals seeking some sort of alternative solution to hard work. Seeking the path of least resistance. I equate it to the gym, the fascination we have in gaining insider secrets & shortcuts to being fit. When in actuality, it all comes down to showing up & putting in the work. Some wish for it, others work for it. You will gain results if you show up & put the time in consistently.
Effort takes no talent. There’s no substitute. There’s no secrets. Unfortunately when I give that answer it’s not exactly what alot of individuals want to hear. Its not served with alot of generic motivational fluff that makes you feel good inside.
Hard work isn’t sexy, but necessary.
What are you looking forward to?
What I’m most excited about in my personal career is shifting my work towards creating art that has more of a purpose. An over simplification of what I do now is help commercial brands sell products that consumers don’t really need. Which is fine, I love what I do but I’m more interested in creating work that has more meaning. Work that helps solve real issues, & deliver messages to help promote a good cause. I have the knowledge & skills to create work that can make a real impact in this world. I’m feeling more so now than ever, that I should be using these skills for good.
I’m more aware of the world around me now. I’m thinking more about the life I want to live & the legacy I want to leave behind. I want to make a difference, not just make a living. Using my God given voice & skills to make this world a better place is what I’m most excited about now & moving forward. I’ve been creating art in this industry for a while now, but I feel like my career is only just getting started, with my best work yet to come.
- Website: handeleugene.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/art.of.handel/
- Other: https://twitter.com/handel_eugene
Content created by Handel Eugene or while working at We Are Royale.