Bringing Imagination to Life
Olivia Flores-Nieves has a passion for art and animation. A recipient of the Rikon Family Scholarship, Flores-Nieves is making the most of her time at New York Tech. She sat down with The Box to talk about her experience here and what she sees for her future in the arts.
Where did you get your passion for the arts?
I was always the quiet type, drawing and watching cartoons were how I spent most of my spare time as a child, so I suppose that’s where my love for art began. I wanted to be a part of that. I loved animation and bringing imagination to life, so I decided to seriously pursue art as a career.
Why did you decide to attend New York Institute of Technology?
I was drawn to New York Tech because it was a school that made my field of study affordable. It offered all of the courses I was looking for, as well as scholarships and grants. Plus, New York Tech allows me to study with my artist classmates as well as students of other technical majors, with a wide range of interests and cultural backgrounds.
What excites you most about your field of study?
Art is something we all share. Whether it be music, dance, culinary arts, or the visual art that we see in museums, we are all artists in some way. I am particularly passionate about animation because animation allows the impossible to become possible—it brings images to life. I feel like animation is a beautiful way to express yourself because it has no limitations in terms of content or style. You’re free.
Which of your projects stands out for you?
Just before the summer (2019), I started a 36-second, 2-D animation project. I had never done an animation that long that had clean line art, was colored, and had a fully drawn and colored background. It was a challenge and took a few weeks for me to complete. However, I enjoyed the process, and I was excited to see the finished product. It came out amazing, and I uploaded it to my YouTube channel!
What has your experience at New York Tech been like?
When I started my drawing classes in my freshman year, I felt that New York Tech was the right place for me. My professor, Lynn Pocock, is incredible. With her help, my illustration skills dramatically improved faster than they ever have before. My classmates are all talented in different ways and are a pure joy to be around. They continue to inspire and motivate me, and we provide each other with an endless amount of support. I am very lucky to have found such an extraordinary group of friends.
I also work in the Department of Digital Art and Design, where I help organize and maintain the department’s facilities. I also lend a helping hand when we hold special events or art showings. It’s a nice opportunity to get to know my cohort’s work. I would love to let more industry professionals know that New York Tech has many amazing artists.
Congrats on being the recipient of the Rikon Family scholarship! What has it meant to you to receive that support?
It has meant the world to me! Paying tuition is not easy. My mother is practically paying it entirely herself, besides the little bit that I am able to give her, and this is a huge help. The best way I could help her is to keep my grades up to be eligible for scholarships like these. Donors do make a difference, and I hope they continue to realize how much their donations help people like me, who struggle financially to get a degree.
What does the future hold for you?
Becoming an animator. When I first entered college, and after two years at New York Tech, I feel like I’m closer to that goal more now than ever. I worked on a 3-D animation last year for the first time, and it was very exciting. I have also continued learning about 2-D animation, especially in After Effects. But after learning more about game design and compositing, my career goals are no longer set on only animation. Being an animator or illustrator is still something I would prefer, but I happily welcome other fields as well now that New York Tech has expanded my knowledge.