After receiving his early industry training at Academy Award-winning British animation powerhouse Aardman Studios, Andy Hall joined London’s The Motion Picture Company, where he earned the title of senior animator and worked on numerous TV commercials and features, including The English Patient and Tomorrow Never Dies. He then spent five years as animation supervisor for Digital Domain, where his feature film credits included Peter Pan and Oh Brother Where Art Thou… a combination of experiences which perfected Andy’s skills as a master character animator.
In 2005, after a very productive year at CreoCollective establishing himself as a VFX and animation supervisor, Andy joined a52. Since then, he has contributed his unique blend of CGI mastery and VFX expertise to numerous campaigns and projects, including high-profile spots for Burger King, Callaway, Coke, Monster.com, Honda, Lexus and Nike.
Moving Parts Come Together
If you have a degree in what field is it?
I studied Graphic Design in Bristol at the University of the West of England.
Which designer (or design studio), other than yours, do you most admire?
For me, I think the studio I most admire—and the big reason I followed this direction—was and still is Aardman. They have a wonderful philosophy encouraging personal projects and seeing how it can influence their commercial endeavors. They seemed to find a perfect marriage between the two.
What's the strangest request you've received from a client?
Honestly I can't say I've really had one, probably sounds awfully disappointing but strange requests don't normally come up in animation.
If you weren't working as a designer what would you be doing?
I'd love to be a baker, something so instantly rewarding and creative.
What well-known identity is most desperately in need of a redesign?
The DMV could do with a face-lift. I pass one everyday on my way to work, and it has the most pedestrian design. It's challenging to take something like that and make it unique. I guess they decided it wasn't worth the effort.
From where do your best ideas originate?
A great brief, and then the collaboration that stems from that. Everything I work on has many moving parts and many people that help to make those moving parts come together. I'm really fueled by the collaborative process.
How do you overcome a creative block?
Walking my dogs, just stepping away from the "merry-go-round" and taking them for a walk, allows me a moment of pause.
What's your dream project (not client, but project)?
For me it would have to be making a movie. I would love the opportunity to tell a story that is near and dear to me, and put it out there and see what happens.
Do you have creative outlets other than graphic design?
Well doing what I do now everyday—directing, animating, concepting ideas—really allows me to fulfill so many different creative impulses, since it's so different and varied from day to day from shooting live action or spending months crafting an animated piece.
What's your approach to balancing work and life?
Hmm, that's a tricky one. I love what I do and feel lucky to be able to work and spend my time doing this for a living. The two are the same for me because I don't see what I do as work. I make pictures for a living and once in a while I tell stories. It's part of my life...
What product/gadget can you not live without?
A ball-point pen; it offers endless possibilities.
What's your favorite quote?
If they are going to follow, better lead them somewhere.—my Dad
Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession?
You have a wonderful opportunity. Don't take it for granted.
What's one thing you wish you knew when you started your career?
How to come up with a witty and engaging response to a question like this.