Featured Artist: Jose Vega

This is the first of many Powerhouse #FeaturedArtistFriday. Every week we will look at a different Powerhouse Animation Crew Member and ask them questions pertaining to not only their job but to their life experiences and interests as well. To start us off is Castlevania Background Supervisor, Jose Vega! Check out some of his artwork here, and read the interview below!

Q: Where did you go to school?
JV: I went to the Art Institute of FortLauderdale for a Bachelors in media arts and animation. However most of the things, if not all, that I currently use as skills has been self taught and through workshops and digital resources like gumroad and youtube among many others.

Q: When do you first realize that you wanted to work animation?
JV: My idea to work in the industry was originally for video games and it was later down in my life. When I went to college for animation I was not expecting to be working on the video games industry or animation. I was always a fan of video games and anime of course but it was not until years later after I graduated that I decided to pursue working in this industry.

Q: Who is your biggest inspiration?
JV: There is so many, usually are people that are ahead of me down the road of the path I want to live and/or people who came from nothing and made something for themselves.

Q: What is your favorite animated movie/show?
JV: Rurouni Kenshin has always been my favorite anime, and the very first anime I watched. But right now there is so many I enjoy watching.

Q: What would you say to those who are not getting hired by a studio or having trouble finding a job?
JV: Keep working at it! Is that simple, is not easy but its simple. This is a skill based industry so once skill meets timing, then it will create opportunity and you have to be ready at any time to meet that opportunity.

Q: What are some stories of your path to art and animation? 
JV: There is so much to tell. I was not the artsy kid who drew since I was little. I was never into art really until I went to college and it was not till like I was like 26 years old that I decided to dedicate to the arts and pursue this industry. I got my very first freelance job on Dec. 2012 and even though I was working 3 jobs that were not related to art back then I started to see the fruits of the time I was putting into it. From being jobless, to basically living in my car for a while and having to start all over again in my mid 20s all I can say is that it is possible, no matter the situation you are in. I want to be a part of everything I can and contribute art to everything I am a fan of and I mean everything. So whether that’s working in the animation industry, games, film etc that’s my goal. (:

Q: What’s it like working in Austin? And how is the creative community here?
JV: Working in Austin has been great! I did not see myself working in the animation industry before like I am now and it has taught me a lot. From learning to lead a team to improving my smash game! 🙂

Q: What is the best part about your job and working on the show?
JV: I think some of the best parts is knowing what is going to happen and how the story unfolds before seeing it in visuals. And being able to interpret that and create and design all these visuals so that people and fans like us can enjoy them the same way we do.

Q: What do you love most about Castlevania?
JV: I think mostly it’s because the story of Dracula and Alucard and all these characters are things we grew up with. I mean, who does not know Dracula? And so being part of this story whether is creating backgrounds and designing locations and color scripts, being part of it is what’s most important to me and then being able to share that with people who get as excited as us about it, it’s amazing!

Q: Who is your favorite character?
JV: Isaac, hands down. To me he has so many qualities people should strive to have and I don’t mean destroying the human race but loyalty, respect, compassion to someone else’s story and he is also just cool.

Q: Most challenging part of working on Castlevania?
JV: Most challenging part is raising the bar from season to season in terms of quality and design. We always try to see how we can better our pipeline, increase quality with quantity, etc And sometimes that means failing over and over. You can’t really think this is about 1 character or 1 background painting. This is about a collective, about a whole product and everything that we do as individuals needs to support the full production and that’s hard as an artist.

Q: Any cool little known facts about the production (funny stories/cool animation tricks/etc)?
JV: Right now most, if not all, of our Castlevania locations are made in 3D and this helps A LOT in all the departments, also we battle our differences in smash.

Q: And of course, who is your favorite Smash Character? (even though I already know the answer)
JV: Captain Falcon is the KING, if you disagree…. Meet me in the break room!

About the Author
Hailing from "Parts Unknown" Virginia, Ryan scoured the United Stated searching for a place to call home. After a short stint in the "Entertainment Capital of the World" Ryan wandered into Austin with nothing but a Gameboy Color, his Star Wars Blu-Ray Collection, and too much hair product. Now a Production Coordinator at Powerhouse Animation, Ryan works all across the board on studio projects. A word of caution though, there are rumors that if you look in the mirror and say his name three times he will appear behind you and beg you to watch the Prequels with him.