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Meet Justin Avila of Odinkaar’s Forge in Avondale

Today we’d like to introduce you to Justin Avila.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
When I was young, I remember always being creative and imaginative with whatever was around me. People who observed me would share that I was always never bored because I was always playing, drawing, making crafts. As I grew up, I still enjoyed still using my head full of imagination. During school, I would be creative with class projects, and with art class I had fun with the variety of concepts I learned throughout the years.

After high school, I decided to continue to be creative and still practice my skills as an artist and creator. Messing around with YouTube videos, making things in video games that gave me that ability, getting in touch with digital art via Paint Tool SAI, and many more activities to help keep my mind going. As time went by, I began to notice that many of my ideas would revolve around the video game industry. Later on, I enrolled into Full Sail University for their Game Art program. The time I am typing this, I am almost 2 years into my bachelor’s degree.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The obstacles I went throughout my life are too many to bring up; however, I will share my important moments. After high school, I had gone through a huge stump with finding myself. There were times when I had trouble with finding work and all I could do is turn towards my passion for art and video games. It took me awhile to eventually figure out what I wanted to do as a career. It was very difficult for me to land a simple job; my family began to believe I wasn’t meant for work. I had searched for work for about 4 years during that time. My morale was getting lower so all could do is spend time with friends and family. Me playing video games had increased a lot because of my low morale. In 2018, I had a realization with myself.

During that time, I was using the Halo 5: Guardians Forge. In simple terms, it is a map creator for the video game Halo 5; almost like using video game software. After looking at all my creations in that game; and how much people would provide positive feedback, I would eventually tell myself, “I could make this into a career.” Full Sail University ads kept airing and I looked into their programs. Sometime passed and then next thing I knew, I was enrolled into Full Sail University. After almost 2 years into Full Sail, I still had personal issues that I couldn’t avoid; like my family losing our house so we had to live with family during my first 4 months in Full Sail. My family and I moved into a small low-income home in my 5th month. Trying to look for work so I can help my family. Trying to balance my busy life can be challenging, and I’m grateful that despite how little free time I have, I am still doing well in school and work.

As of now, I have a part-time job, I support my family with my job, I’m halfway through my program for my Bachelors’, I am a loving partner for a special someone, a loved family member. I am still going strong towards my career, my passion, and my future.

Please tell us about Odinkaar’s Forge.
I am known for my creativity and skills with people who know me and strangers who see what I can do on my social media. My skills revolve around simply creating things with what I am able to use. From drawing on paper to using 3D software to make wonderful things. Before college, I enjoyed sketching art and concepts and when I was able to, I would create art with digital software.

Currently, because of Full Sail, I am given software such as Maya, Substance Painter and Designer, Photoshop, ZBrush, and Unreal Engine 4 to create my recent projects. I enjoy using them and I even made personal projects with them as well. I enjoy making concepts in general because brainstorming ideas is always fun for me. In my free time, creating concepts is something I tend to do passively, so coming up with projects is not an issue for me.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
A favorite moment I had during my childhood was when I realized when my art skills were improving for the first time. My skills as an artist may be genetic because of my father. My father is known for his art skills as well, along with being a professional tattoo artist. Family started to compare my art to my dad’s and hearing that had encouraged me to continue towards my art. Well look at me now, I am still practicing my art, and using my knowledge to create projects for college.

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Image Credit:
Justin Avila

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