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Mentor of the Day: Kathy Altieri

kathypostersWe couldn’t be more ecstatic to be welcoming back mentor, Kathy Altieri!

Kathy mentored last Spring 2012 and loved working with her mentee, Jennifer Ely.  “The motivation and energy from Jenn, and really connecting with her and being able to help not only her, but her faculty and staff as well (at SCAD),” says Kathy.

As for Jennifer, she had just as amazing of a time. “Kathy is incredibly generous and positive and it has helped me so much more than I think she will ever understand just to have her there to answer questions and tell me what I really need to do to make a career as a vis dev artist a possibility!  She’s direct and honest and she has identified a lot of problems with my work, but she has this ability to do it in a way that makes me feel positive that I can correct these things, I just need to work!”

“My time with Kathy was really just an overview from a professional perspective about where I was as a prospective visual development artist. My college isn’t geared for concept work and I haven’t had the chance to get real world feedback. She opened my eyes to my flaws and also filled in the blanks for me as far as what visual development actually means, as opposed to my notion of it from the outside. We also had several conversations about networking and interviewing as well as breaking down some of the specific films she has worked on. That was not a very narrow explanation, we covered a ton of ground, but basically my time with Kathy was a crash course in what it means to be a visual development artist and she identified individual things that I needed to work on to *hopefully* obtain an internship this summer.” Which, by the way, Jennifer did!  She wound up interning at Laika in Portland, Oregon.

“The thing that feels most important about my time with Kathy, aside from the technical knowledge I acquired, was simply that a positive attitude will take you a long way. From the very first email with Kathy I could feel her excitement about working together. She has a way of giving even unpleasant feedback in a way that leaves you feeling inspired rather than defeated. I admire that about Kathy and working with her made it very clear why she has been so successful in leadership positions. In addition to being incredibly talented, she is also humble, generous, and decisive. When you work with someone like Kathy you learn that the way you interact with other people is very important. If I can learn to be the type of person that gives energy to those around me in the way that she does, I’ll be able to bring something unique to whatever environment I end up in!

My time with Kathy has been above and beyond what I could have expected. We started by dissecting my work and assessing strengths and weaknesses. Using her advice I jumped back into a more basic study of how to create visual narrative. I read books, did abstract studies and color studies, and watched tutorials in an effort to conquer digital painting (one of the specific goals set for me by Kathy at the beginning). I learned what a prop page was, and how to actually lay one out in a useful way with textures and turnarounds. I started thinking about and discussing shape language in a more sophisticated way than I was able to before. That is a pile of technical stuff, which really can’t completely illustrate what we actually accomplished. The best way that I can describe it is by saying that I am now very confident that I can take the knowledge I have gained, and build a whole new portfolio that blows my old one out of the water. I understand what’s working and what isn’t in my work to a much higher degree. I still have a ton to learn, but my work has taken a huge jump in the past two months that I never could have taken on my own. The amazing thing is that we aren’t even finished yet! I have developed a relationship with Kathy, and it is fantastic to know that if I have questions or if I am trying to make a decision about what to do in the future, she is someone that I can reach out to for advice and support. The whole experience has filled me with a sense of confidence and direction that is invaluable!”

Check out some of her work below:

JenniferEly_80sdresserpropsheet

JenniferEly_abstractandsketchfortower

JenniferEly_dominatingtower

JenniferEly_abstractstudies

JenniferEly_HoverJellySketch

Jennifer highly recommends Kathy to any one at any level! “Kathy Altieri is the best mentor you could hope for. The most important thing that I would hope to pass on to someone working with her in the future is to not waste her time, or in this case, your time with her!  The opportunity to have hours of one on one advice and feedback with someone of Kathy’s experience and generosity is incredibly rare. Be prepared, proactive, and willing to take any and all feedback with a positive attitude! It works best if you are very clear about what you hope to accomplish for the mentorship, and if you come to each week with specific questions and things you have worked on from previous feedback.”

So if you’re looking for a great mentor, be sure to check out Kathy’s profile and past mentor of the day post.

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