CGA Portfolio 2018
Letter of Intention
My name is Jesper Kirkebjerg Hansen, 24-year-old, and I who would like to apply for your Computer Graphics Arts Program.
Last year I applied for the Character Animation course but have since come to realize that the CGA program is much better suited for me. I came to this conclusion after spending a year progressing my abilities and reflecting upon my own personal and professional interests.
Although I find animation highly interesting, my real love is creating and designing characters; quick glimpses of environments and creatures which allows the viewers fill the scene with their own interpretations and imagination. I believe that learning to imagine, create and develop my designs in 3D, as well as engaging in collaborative projects, will help me become a more well-rounded professional concept artist, who specializes in character and creature design. In the future, I, therefore, seek to either join or maybe even create, a studio that focuses on concept art and animation.
I see the industry developing at a rapid rate, and the landscape is most likely going to change a lot more in the coming years. I see platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Facebook getting even bigger and more influential in terms of exposure and branding, which is why I believe that it is very important as an artist to keep yourself relevant within these platforms. I think home entertainment entities like Netflix and HBO will continue to grow, and they seem to be more willing to bet on new franchises and shows. This could be a promising place for new animation.
I do think that the industry is becoming more fractured, which might lead to new platforms and opportunities for both films, TV and games. I also believe that new technologies like VR and augmented reality will soon emerge on the mainstream market, and I am very excited to see how it develops, and how I might tailor my abilities towards that industry in the future.
My professional influences came from a variety of different places while I was younger: Cartoon Network, Disney and DreamWorks movies, Japanese manga and animation as well as concept art from games and movies, and I think all of these has shaped my aesthetic a lot. One of my current influences is Lou Romano because of his sharp and expressive aesthetic. I feel very liberated when I look at his work, as it reminds me of the cartoons I watched as a child, and fully enjoy his shape, language, and design. Another source of inspiration by Even Amundsen, a concept artist who created his own world, complete with amazing images rich in stories. I feel very connected to his way of rendering and overall visual style, which is very grounded in realism. I have been looking more and more at Juanjo Guarnido, as an inspiration when I was doing my portfolio. I really love his anthropomorphic character designs, where you can sense the personality at a single glance, and it keeps a mature realistic style that I love. I always enjoy finding a new influence, even as I grow even fonder of styles and artists that I have known for years.
In gaming, Naughty Dog™ had a big impact on me with the Jak and Daxter series, which vibrant, beautiful, and believable world kept pulling me back in. The imagination and attention to detail helped make the adventure so appealing, which is something I now strive to achieve and is one of the few games that I think has really used animation to its advantage. I think of this because I really miss these types of games and would love to see more games with a simpler visual style and a lot of focus on animation to empower storytelling. An incredible game for its time.
One of my favourite comics of all time is the Japanese manga, “Hajime no Ippo”, which after so many years of reading it, is still able to leave me breathless from time to time. Although it is just a story about boxing, it has an incredible focus on its characters and can combine action and drama in a way that isn’t just flashy, but gripping and compelling. The central themes of overcoming talent with hard work and doing what seems impossible, really resonated with me still does today. I hope I will be able to bring a story like that to life one day.
Another genre which I enjoy is the noir genre with its dramatic distinctive cinematography and dark storytelling. It is hardly surprising then, that I love Bladerunner and had to see the sequel, Bladerunner 2049, the last year. When I came out of the cinema, it had left me feeling as if my senses were heightened and I was unable to even say a word - afraid that it would break the spell it placed upon me. With absolutely stunning visuals and cinematography, as well as an interesting slow-burning story. It reminded me that cinema still can be very powerful and have a huge potential for creating an experience that transports you into another world. The movie still sits with me months after seeing it. Which is why like setting stories in that genre, and want to develop my abilities in noir much further.
I also want to mention my least favourite movie: “The Emoji Movie” (2017). What makes me mention this, is that it scares me a bit. I am aware that it takes an incredible amount of work from a lot of people to create a feature animation movie, and it frightens me that it is possible that all this hard work, may result in a movie ast appealing, to me, neither humor, wit, story, or visuals had any appealing; as well as the fact that it became a financial success, which still confuses me quite a bit. It teaches me think that I should try find projects that I can personally stand behind and be proud off.
Beginning in the late summer of 2017 and through to the new year, I enrolled in the drawing academy, on the recommendation of a friend. It was a really amazing experience and I could hardly believe that there were so many people striving to do the same as I did. I got to learn a lot of really great people and was able to get close to the atmosphere of TAW. During the Drawing Academy. It really helped me develop as an artist, both in terms of furthering my basic and classical drawing abilities, but also in exposing me to different approaches to art and helping me become more aware of what my own strengths and weaknesses are. It also taught me a valuable lesson in preparing me for the work ethic needed to make it in this industry. During the drawing academy I got to know a lot of really nice, funny and interesting people, who I am rooting for at the moment and hope to see at some point in the future.
After using Adobe Photoshop as my primary software for the past seven years, I have become fluent in it and would consider myself an advanced user in this program. However, I also see the value in understanding several programs, as none are yet perfect, which is why I have also familiarized myself with Google Sketchup, Adobe Animate, Adobe Illustrator, Maya, and ZBrush. I plan to acquaint myself further with these programs, especially ZBrush and Maya, in the months prior to hopefully beginning your program.
Although I have not travelled a lot during my last year, as I have primarily devoted my resources towards developing my abilities. The last trip I took was a backpacking adventure with a good friend of mine, where we set to fully explore some of the centres of trade and culture during the renaissance: München, Salzburg, Venice and Firenze. I was sketching, while he was writing stories. The trip had a big influence on me my perspective on art, but at the same time, I also felt that art had a big impact the way I experience travelling. As if it has created a big well fills itself when I travel and experience culture - which I look very much forward to doing in the future ;D
Finally, I plan to finance the education with SU, my savings and a possible loan if necessary, as I want to dedicate myself fully to the program.
Jesper Kirkebjerg Hansen