Animate yourImaginationw/ Alec Jerome

Interview with Miami native Alec Jerome

Alex Jerome Current Miami

The notion that imagination has no limit really comes to mind when you look at Alec Jerome’s work. Alec is a multimedia artist specializing in animations, graphics, video and music production. Far from boring, his work is composed of highly stimulating visuals and dreamlike situations that submerge the viewer in a world of endless possibilities. After he graduated from the New World School of the Arts with a degree in Art & Technology in 2018, Alec worked as a 3D Generalist in the Virtual Reality field and is currently working on providing 3D assets towards up-and-coming Augmented Reality mural projects based in North Miami, and producing content for Current.Miami. I talked with Alec about his career as a multimedia artist, what his next moves are going to be and much more.

“Being an artist is a beautiful privilege that will set you apart from many who claim to not be in touch with their creative side but allows you to freely and candidly communicate with the misfits and dreamers of society.” – Alec Jerome

 Alex Jerome Miami ArtistHow did you get started?

Since I was a young kid, I would always draw for hours. I was very inspired by cartoons and paintings. In my bedroom, I had a framed photo of Picasso drawing his own version of Mickey Mouse and that inspired me to make my own versions of popular characters with my own style the same way Picasso did. When I turned six, I started taking piano lessons which began my lifelong journey as a musician. Throughout late elementary school until the end of middle school, I honed my skills with a camcorder and learned how to edit my own videos. Middle school was also the time I started expanding as a musician by choosing to play the violin in music class. In 2006, I was in eighth grade, and that’s when I created my first YouTube channel: Project AKAA, a collaboration between my best friend at the time and myself. We would make funny videos based on other popular funny videos. Our most popular video was a farce about our American History teacher. That specific video had some local success and helped me establish myself as a video person to me and my community of school peers.

With all the momentum gained from learning how to make videos and music, by the time I hit High School I was making videos all the time, and some featured crudely recorded versions of my own original music. Although I was unsure of my future path while in High School, I knew that what I wanted to do involved music production and video production, and somehow being part of every step of the process in making movies. Judging by what I am doing today, I didn’t stray far from my original mission.

You are a multimedia artist who uses a variety of mediums to tell a story. Describe your work. 

My work involves digital videography, 3D and 2D animation, and original musical compositions. Once I create a storyboard, I capture various footage and then create 3D assets from scratch, rig them, animate them, and composite them into the footage. The rest is editing and sound production. I have operated as a bit of a one-man production company in some ways. I am, however, very open to working with like-minded hard-working people to make even more sophisticated productions in fast amounts of time!

Some of the prominent themes in my work have been the future, dystopia, mass surveillance, etc. (pretty relevant stuff). But I have also tried to focus on some of the more surreal aspects of modern living that are harder to explain than they are to display. Interfacing with technology opens us up to some weird glitches and malfunctions that seem to happen at inopportune moments, leading those not well versed with technology to feel like they are being punished. I like to play with some of these ideas and bring the bizarre humor out of them through my animations.

“I am simply reflecting the times I live in honestly, chaos and absurdity!”

 What inspires you? What connection do you have to your art?

It has taken a full lifetime of practice and research for me to be able to create the work I make with speed and fluidity. People will always criticize the choices we make as artists, but I find for every handful of negative critiques, I connect deeply to the people who “get it.” This is because I am simply recycling ideas, scenes, and aesthetics that are ingrained in my consciousness since birth (or maybe before?). I aged alongside graphics and that is something very unique to my generation of 90s kids. I was exposed to so much stuff that was never experienced by the older generations and will never be experienced by the new generation, so I connect with my art as an authentic expression of my generation.

What’s the most memorable video project you worked on?

I’ve worked on many videos, some have gone far and some were duds on YouTube. But to this day I am still very proud of my BFA video installation, my final piece while at New World School of the Arts College. The piece was called The Prophet and was shot in multiple cities because the theme was around a singular AI demigod, mass surveillance, stuff like that…It was my first gallery installation, and video that incorporated my experimental storytelling, footage, and 3D animation.

What are three of your proudest accomplishments?

Living and working in Miami I’ve definitely done a lot of cool things. I worked with people I used to think I would never be friends with and have had certain esoteric experiences such as VJing for cruises and festivals with big-time headline acts right next to me. I’ve had a chance to really do all the “fun” things to do in Miami but as far as accomplishments go, I can’t really boil it down to three. Generally speaking, I am proud to have accomplished or to be in the process of accomplishing, what I set out to do in life since I was a child. I think that fulfilling what I believe to be my true purpose by living as and sustaining myself as a creative has allowed me to have some truly unique experiences and I am humbled yet still take pride in being able to continuously grow and do what is relevant to me.

What’s the most challenging part of what you do?

I love every aspect of what I do, but each process to create each proponent of any work has the same obstacle in common and that is time management. Having to manage so many different individual tasks while trying to create projects as an auteur can be daunting and at times depressing, but once I am successfully able to get myself into what would best be described as the “flow” state, the work makes itself through me.

If you could be stuck in one year, which year would it be and why?

I’m a pretty big fan of the Baroque era and think it would be cool to be a part of that, but I don’t really know if this question allows for all that haha. In terms of my own life, I think summer 2015 was a pretty groundbreaking year for me as it was the first time I rented my own warehouse space, started a collective brand which is no longer operating called 305 Collective, grew my skills making fun content almost every day, and had a really fun supportive group of great friends around me all the time helping every step of the way.

Where would you like to film if you could go anywhere in the world?

I’ve lived in Miami my whole life, and so many people would love to make films out here and as do I, but I would love to film somewhere that visually is the polar opposite. I love the looks of any of the Baltic or Nordic countries. I think Norway would be a beautiful country to film a sci-fi fantasy.

Life is not always easy- What is one of the greatest challenges you faced and how did you overcome it?

When my mom passed in December 2011 I felt very alone and challenged by life to rise to my life’s purpose. Music played a huge role in the healing process and helped me re-establish myself as a young adult by growing as a producer, working with as many people as possible, performing live, and traveling when I had the chance. Music opened all the doors for me as a filmmaker and visual artist as well. It may sound corny, but music really did save me and it truly guided and continues to guide me on my path. I have so much music saved up and I just know I will be doing all the visuals to my own songs, and I have no doubt my life will be different once all that stuff is released.

What about the creative process excites you the most?

I absolutely love piecing together all the assets I’ve spent a lot of energy and time on. When I combine my music with my visual edits and watch them come to life and synthesize into something completely different than any of the components would be alone, I am always very excited and happy.

Who are your biggest influences?

Walt Disney, Pablo Picasso, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Julian Casablancas, George Lucas, Roger Deakins, Akira Toriyama, Larry David, the list goes on. I have respect for many great artists and writers but I have to say I definitely would not be the person I am without knowing about these individuals.

Who do you follow on Youtube?

I mainly use Youtube for music and to stay up to date on the latest and greatest music video editors and directors. I also use Youtube to follow certain 3D artists and MoGraph teachers. Some of the channels I follow include: Artzie Music, Yaeji, Paul McCartney, Yung Lean, LOUIEKNOWS, GLASSFACE, The Voidz, GreyScaleGorilla, and Shea Motion.

What is the best part of being an artist?

Flaunting that Artist Pass at all the music festivals baby! I’m just kidding! Being an artist is a beautiful privilege that will set you apart from many who claim to not be in touch with their creative side, but allows you to freely and candidly communicate with the misfits and dreamers of society. The best part of being an artist is that you don’t really need anyone because the answers are all within you, and it is up to you to meet the challenge of life and manifest your mind outside of itself.

What advice would you give to up and coming artists?Alec Jerome Current.Miami Producer

Create as much as possible and keep your work organized. If you are a digital artist start using folders and hard drives! Save all your work because you never know, that doodle you drew in science class when you were bored could be recycled and upgraded into an iconic 3D character. I know there is a tendency for artists to either be obsessive workaholics or feel like they aren’t doing enough. All I can say in pertinence to that is to just try to make an effort to improve and learn something new every day no matter how small it is. Over time, your artistic knowledge will compound and things that took a full day for you at one point in time could end up taking less than an hour. Take advantage of all the free information on the internet for information and technical advice!

What’s next?

Times are a bit uncertain since the quarantine began but I know I will be continuing to grow, making animations every day, and finishing up some music videos for some fantastic local artists. I am working towards having my own installation in the design district when/if that reality becomes possible, depending on how things outside of my control go. When the time is right, I will release the music I’ve been working on accompanied by my original visuals.

About Veronica:

Veronica Spagna Tropicult Writer InternVeronica Spagna is a broadcast journalist and storyteller striving to make a difference. Her passion for telling engaging stories is motivated by the goal of making an impact in our world. A global citizen who has lived in multiple countries, she joined the Tropi family in 2020.

Find out more on LinkedIn.

About Alec Jerome:

Alec Jerome is a multimedia artist born and based in Miami, Florida. He creates using a variety of mediums, specializing in animation, 3D graphics, videography, musical composition and post-production special effects. Alec uses his diverse skill set in the fields of music, video, and animation in his efforts to create authentic visions and progressive contemporary experiences. The use of highly stimulating visuals in his work forces the viewer to think about the underlying meaning of his art. As a multi-instrumentalist and music producer, he has composed music for short and feature-length films as well as theater productions. As a videographer, he cut his teeth for years following directions while shooting and editing short documentary videos, before taking leads as director for various music videos in the South Florida area. After graduating from New World School of the Arts with a degree in Art & Technology in 2018, Alec worked as a 3D Generalist in the Virtual Reality field and is currently working providing 3D assets towards up-and-coming Augmented Reality mural projects based in North Miami and producing content for Current.Miami.