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My name is James EdWard Kennedy JR. I am a classically trained character animator, storyboard artist and animation history blogger living in Oakland CA; spending summers looking for stories to tell by traveling throughout New England, the South, and the West. In 2011, I became the first guest student accepted into CalArts' Inaugural Summer Session Program; studying film history and character animation. I've had an ardent passion for the look of animated features and its importance in conveying the message of the story since being mesmerized by Eyvind Earle's designs throughout Disney’s Sleeping Beauty at age six. I find inspiration in the visual and narrative works of The Pixar Braintrust, John Canemaker, Wes Anderson, Nora Ephron, The 9 Old Men, Travis Knight, Emmanuel Lubezki, John Hughes, Robert Richardson, Michael Pangrazio, Wes Craven, Ernest Dickerson, and Janusz Kamiński. I love being around people that are passionate about researching ways to enhance the visual narrative of animation, bring new storytelling ideas from these discoveries to best benefit the imaginative storytelling elements within the field of animation.

Over the year that I've been at CCA I've discovered that the most challenging stuff I like to do is story. Mainly, because it touch everything that aides in construction of the film. From animation, to staging and layout, to editing: the story artist gets to handle a huge chunk of the film. Storytelling enables me to focus on creating imaginative art and researching how best to translate my childhood memories into those elements, as an artist.  Most importantly my focus is on learning new theories on ways to advance the look and feel of animated features, through the act of researching scholarly writings on folklores and narratives, and applying it towards the field of animation visuals. I'm committed to utilizing these efforts towards my senior thesis film here at CCA the Sunken Forest. As well as, towards polishing my work in animation and creative writing, before enrolling at USC's Hench-DADA for my Master of Fine Arts, Animation and Digital Arts. 

Last spring I packed up the animation disc, the Cintiq, the library, and trekked across the country, to attend the California College of the Arts here in Oakland CA. This opportunity has been in the works for four years, including ups and downs, but now I have a place to accomplish this goal. The goals that I made to my eight-year-old self, of collaborating on stories that personally have impacted my imagination and add on toward the traditions of the medium of animation.


“There’s nothing harder to do in animation than nothing. Movement is our medium.”
— Milt Kahl, "The Picasso" of Walt Disney's Nine Old Men