3D Studio participant Brandon reflects on Liberty Mutual Olympic Torch
Each month, we highlight Artists For Humanity’s enterprising teen artists and designers to give you an inside look into their creative process and their unique experience at AFH. AFH’s model reinforces the reciprocal value of pairing working artists and designers (who we call ‘mentors’) with teen artists and designers (who we call ‘youth participants’ or ‘apprentices’) to find creative solutions for client projects. This month, we sit down with 3D Design Studio participant Brandon Anderson.
Name: Brandon Anderson
Studio: 3D Design
Age: 17; High School: Boston Green Academy
Years at AFH: Half a year
1. How long have you been working at AFH?
I started working here in the summer of 2017. I’ve been working in the 3D Design Studio the entire time and I’ve gotten to meet a lot of people so far. It’s been really fun.
2. What has been your favorite project so far?
My favorite project so far has been the Liberty Mutual project. Liberty Mutual is a sponsor of the 2018 Olympic games. To celebrate this partnership, Liberty Mutual hired Artists For Humanity to create a one-of-a-kind Olympic torch sculpture for their headquarters.
3. Was it your first time working with these materials?
Yes, in some ways. To make the base, we mixed our own concrete in the 3D Design Studio. It was my first time working with concrete. The Studio’s Creative Project Director, Haidan, spent a long time making sure we had all of the measurements right. We mixed approximately 300 pounds of concrete for the base, which only has a 15-minute drying time so everyone had to be in sync.
4. Have you always been interested in art and design?
During middle school, I realized you can use art to convey things that can’t be communicated with words. A friend of mine posted a photo of an illustration he did online that had really vibrant colors and it struck me.
Each time I looked at it, its meaning grew and it showed me how art can convey meaning in a really heartfelt way. I realized how important art is in the world; how you can use art to convey things you can’t really say in conversation.
5. What’s the most challenging project you’ve worked on at AFH thus far?
The Liberty Mutual project has actually been both my favorite project and the most challenging thus far. Our introduction to the project and the Liberty Mutual team was on October 31, 2017 and the installation was scheduled for January 15, 2018. Because of the holidays in between, we had to be extra organized and make sure every stage of the project was moving forward smoothly.
The Liberty Mutual project demonstrated the ingenuity of my peers and how much hard work my mentor, Haidan, puts into each project to make sure it is perfect for the client. Even though the clock was ticking, the final product reveals how well our Studio team works together and what we can do when we work towards a common goal. The process of this project made me feel even more dedicated to my team.
6. What other projects have you worked on in the 3D Design Studio since you started?
For the Summer Exhibition, we sold our own Studio work and that was the first time I actually sold my unique work from the Studio. That made me feel pretty good. The fact that people actually wanted to buy my art showed me there’s value in my work.
During the school year, we worked on a piece for FoxRock Properties’ office spaces in Quincy, MA. It was a blue and orange collage piece made out of recycled magazines that incorporated a fox, to reflect the client’s name and brand colors.
7. Do you have any creative pursuits outside of the Studio?
Yes, I create digital works using a graphic tablet. I’m working on a video game right now; I am doing the illustrated work while a friend of mine builds the game engine. There are no video games currently that are exactly the way we want them to be, so we thought, “We’ll just make our own.”
8. Were you doing illustrations before you started at AFH?
Before AFH, I was still learning the Adobe programs, which were kind of daunting to me. I really had to take the time to learn them - which was a steep climb uphill. But being at AFH has really encouraged me to pursue my own art and develop my own style without thinking about specific boundaries—and to just be more creative in general.
9. What are you working on right now in the 3D Design Studio?
Currently, we’re working on a project for an apartment building at Continuum—which is a luxury apartment building in Allston—using dyed aluminum, dyed wood, and collage. Dyeing wood is one of the newer techniques that we’re experimenting with. We’re putting together these three different media, using a variety of green tones throughout, to make a three dimensional wall piece in a leaf pattern to liven up the client’s space.
10. How has your time at AFH affected your personal, academic, or social life?
Back before I joined AFH, I wasn’t really interested in school. I didn’t feel motivated to work hard academically. AFH has really encouraged me to think more about what I want in the future. I didn’t think about college or anything before. Now, I’ve decided I really want to work in IT and help people with their technological needs. I wouldn’t have realized that without AFH.
I am also really glad I’m here for the community aspect. Before AFH, I was only friends with that one guy who I work on the game with. I just didn’t really feel like I needed to put myself out there and talk to people. I feel really close to my team now and I feel more open to meeting new people.
11. What do you plan on studying in college?
I plan to study computer engineering and computer technology, which are about learning both the hardware and the software. When you work in IT, you have to learn to fix things on the spot. You really have to understand a computer inside and out, which means learning how to build computers and how to run PowerShell, which is the interface that connects the user with the computer’s commands.
12. If you had to offer a piece of advice to a teen who is just starting at AFH, what would it be?
I would tell them to get in as early as you can and try to experience all of the studios that you can: Photography, 3D Design, Painting, Video and Motion, and Graphic Design. Even if you don’t really like any given studio at first, give it a try because it might grow on you.
I would also say to give people a chance. Try to be friendly. No one here is trying to be mean to you. Just give them a chance and they will really provide. Everyone is really friendly and nice here.