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Art & Life with Kyle Martinez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kyle Martinez.

Kyle, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far and give our readers some background on your art?
When I was six years old, I told my parents I wanted to be a film editor in Hollywood when I grew up. Not exactly a typical kid but I always had a passion for making movies and creating special effects even at a young age. I grew up in the Phoenix metropolitan area my entire life. Throughout middle school and high school, I constantly pursed some variation of video production or graphic design.

In high school, I created a stop motion short film about bullying and suicide. There was a timelapse sequence of a sunrise and a streetlamp that flickered off once the sun had risen. The streetlamp was an important metaphor but wasn’t noticeable enough. It was that day I was introduced to After Effects, software that I now pretty much live in 8+ hours a day.

I was headed out of high school and into college in 2008 when the market crashed. I was intent on becoming a film major at ASU. Given that economic state at the time my parents challenged me by asking what my fallback plan would be if I couldn’t get a job after film school? I took their advice and pursued a Computer Science degree that had a focus on digital media and graphic design. I’m so glad that I did.

Fast-forward to today. I’m a freelance 2D animator, character animator, and tool developer for After Effects. Using my unique education history, I’m able to pursue a mix of passions, embracing creativity in both my artistic side and my technical side, every day.

Most of my work is faith-based or supports causes and programs that provide a positive contribution to society. Someday we’ll perform an audit of how we lived our life, and I think we’ve all been given a responsibility to use our different skills and talents to support the things that we believe in. Not every project is like that, of course, I still need to pay the bills, but I’ve been very lucky in my freelance career.

Animation has been a great career choice for me because it really explores the intersection between obviously creative mediums like video production and graphic design but other less-obvious creative outlets like coding. Bouncing between Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Animate, and Cinema 4D can seem overwhelming from the outside, but once you figure out the quirks and workflows, it turns into a breeze.

I’m truly #blessed that I’m able to spend every day inside of software that I love working on projects for a good cause surrounded by awesome people in a great community.

What responsibility, if any, do you think artists have to use their art to help alleviate problems faced by others? Has your art been affected by issues you’ve concerned about?
In the last two years, there have been several huge shifts particularly in politics and the area of civil rights. Now, more than ever, motion design and animation are used as a medium to communicate with and share opinions with the world.

Videos that share the importance of voting to change and affect the political climate are increasing and shared all over social media.

Videos that support great causes such as the #MeToo movement are powerful because they share the stories of abuse survivors and inform the public in such a unique way.

Last year I was lucky enough to collaborate with a studio and team that put together a video for Rise and Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative. A visual medium like animation has so much potential to reach and inform people in a way that plain text just cannot.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Working in animation is exciting because it’s often easily accessible once finished. I’ve worked on projects that are shared on social media, broadcasted on TV, shown in film festivals, sold as DVDs, shipped inside of mobile or desktop apps, and more.

The best place to find finished projects that I’m proud of is on my website. It’s important for animators to share their knowledge with other animators. I’m a firm believer in the quote often attributed to John F. Kennedy:

“A rising tide lifts all boats.” – JFK, 1963

I’m constantly sharing behind the scenes process videos, gifts, and images on my Instagram.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Addiction Process: Design by Kyle Martinez and Animation by Kyle Martinez
Commander: Design by Rob Modini and Mary Vertulfo and Animation by Kyle Martinez
Hamburger Girl: Design by Karolin Gu and Animation by Kyle Martinez
Pawn Compositing: Design by Rob Modini and Mary Vertulfo and Animation by Kyle Martinez
Spook Porch: Design by Jake Page and Animation by Kyle Martinez

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition, please let us know here.

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