About

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Hello and welcome to my personal site.

I am the President of Gnomon, which I founded 1997. Gnomon is a visual effects, video game and animation school in Hollywood, California. Gnomon is also the developer of a large library of training DVDs covering a wide range of subject matter including entertainment design, sculpture, drawing, painting and 3D techniques.

A little history. I'm an artist who, through a series of events, founded a school as a result of my passion for art, 3D and education. I've drawn all my life, but computers entered the picture rather early (although not by today's standards). When I was nine my parents got me an Atari 800 with a modem. I was immediately obsessed with it and spent countless hours browsing bulletin boards at 300baud, looking for games and chatting in forums. I even ran my own BBS (Bulletin Board System) for a few years. Kinda like the internet. Only it was 30 years ago and really slow. But at the time, so damn cool!

Ok, skip 10 years (highschool, more drawing, less computers). It was during my second year at the University of Pennsylvania, trying to find a 'normal' thing to study, that I discovered 3D computer animation by watching a 'Beyond the Mind's Eye' tape.

To make a long story short, I left Penn, got a Mac, learned a bunch of software, worked as a computer colorist for Malibu Comics, got into the Art Center College of Design, studied Illustration, started teaching myself Alias PowerAnimator, got a job as an Applications Engineer for Alias|Wavefront, put a lot of miles on my car, met a lot of people at a lot of studios, and then started Gnomon at age 24. In hindsight I see that as being ridiculously young to be starting a school... but things were very different in '97. At the time it was needed and studios were expanding like crazy, with practically no schools teaching 3D. Especially not 3D as it pertained to visual effects.

Over the past seventeen years I have worked hard to guide Gnomon's evolution through the expansion of our curriculum, faculty, partnerships and services. Through this time I have tried to stay true to my creative inclinations, by working on personal projects... but time is short. When I founded Gnomon, I thought that I'd work about 6 hrs/week and spend the rest of my time as an artist. No... really. That's what you get for not taking any business classes. Live and learn.

                                         with Rick Baker at his Studio!

                                         with Rick Baker at his Studio!

Gnomon has expanded beyond the school over the years, to include The Gnomon Workshop, Gnomon Gallery, Gnomon Studios, Sketch Theatre and CGchannel. These offshoots of Gnomon bring our training to a global market while developing the community, via DVDs, online classes, events, gallery shows and forums. They also manage to keep me happy and really busy.

By far the greatest thing about my job, however, has been the people whom I have met. Many of the industry's top artists have worked with us at Gnomon via teaching, seminars, DVDs and workshops. It has really been a privilege to meet and spend time with artists that I admire, and bringing their knowledge to people via Gnomon is something that I am very proud of professionally. Then of course are our students. Gnomon has been designed to be the school that I couldn't find for myself... my dream school. I hope that it has been that for our students. Granted we can always make it better as nothing is perfect, but I have seen the Gnomon experience transform people. We have trained so many talented artists and to watch students develop their skills and enter the workforce brings me great joy. It is a responsibility that we take very seriously and whenever I hear about our alumni accomplishing great things, I feel both pride and humility... especially when students come back after a few years to teach. It is a strange experience to see someone who a few short years ago was a student full of aspirations, fears, stress and passion go on to become a successful professional with amazing work. When I visit studios, such as ILM or Blizzard, and bump into Gnomon grads... well, it is just really damn cool.

Aside from Gnomon, I continue to work professionally as a creature development artist on such projects as James Cameron's Avatar, JJ Abram's Star Trek, Super 8, Green Lantern and Prometheus. I don't have much time for such things unfortunately, but I of course need to stay on top of things. The quality of our student's work continues to improve, so I need to stay ahead of them if I can!

So my site.. hope you like it. :) thanks for visiting.

-Alex