The way Drea George tells it, Kinetic Imaging practically called out her name. Before attending VCUarts, she visited campus multiple times to tour the KI studios and classrooms.
“It had this sort of underground, analog-tech kind of feel,” she says, “which felt really familiar and comfortable for me. I had grown up around all kinds of analog machinery, and had always felt at home with the beeps and hums of computers, the grainy picture in old camcorders, and the sound those Kodak disposable cameras made after releasing the shutter.”
George, now a senior, is set to graduate this December from the program. And the wide array of technology at the Kinetic Imaging department taught her to be adaptable and inventive, empowering her to apply her range of skills to any number of professional endeavors.
“I’m open to a lot,” she says. “My only need is to be somehow involved in the film or television world.”
To that end, George has been focused on honing her prowess as a video editor and animator, with her heart set on one day landing a job with big-name studios like Adult Swim or Nickelodeon. Her senior film “Franklin Wants Pizza” exhibits her knack for expressive characters, clever editing and charming physical comedy.
“My work always comes back to body,” says George. “Every video is about movement, every sound piece about voice, every animation about character.”
A set of characters by Drea George.
Learning to communicate that movement and sense of character can be tricky. There are myriad ways to draw something walking and talking and bounding across a screen, and just as many specialized tools to render each frame, line and shape. So, George knew she had to equip herself with a varied skill set.
“When I came across VCUarts and discovered KI,” she says, “I found out that not only could I do 2D and 3D, but I could do video, sound, and experiment with art in a way that I had never done before.”
In addition to her work with Kinetic Imaging, George has spent her time at VCUarts invested in the academic community. She has served as a film editor and content creator for the African American Studies Department at VCU, where she creates original promotional materials from animations to illustrations. She’s also an official department representative for KI, taking prospective students and their families on tours through their facilities.
Illustration by Drea George.
Her work has earned her an award of excellence from KI, as well as exhibition spots at the Anderson and the Fine Arts Building.
Of course, hard work can take its toll on any artist. After struggling with exhaustion from the rigor of producing “Franklin Wants Pizza,” George spent her summer giving herself a break from animation. The time off led her to a new perspective on artmaking—the process of “creative recovery”—that has helped her prepare for working full-time in the creative industry. Key to her research has been Julia Cameron’s 1997 book The Artist’s Way: Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self, a guide to overcoming artist’s block and building self-confidence.
“One of my biggest challenges this semester has been finding the ways that I inherently make art,” she says. “Becoming aware of my bad artist-habits—perfectionism, obsession with detail, being too self-critical—and calling myself out on them, working to amend them, has been helpful.”
“I want to keep on nurturing my process, learning as much as I can, getting better at what I love to do, and see where that takes me.”
See more of Drea George’s work at her website, dreageorge.online.