Current BA (Hons) Animation student Milena Graf from Poland, speaks to us about why she loves animation and what she specialises in, her favourite facilities and how she came to study BA (Hons) Animation...

Why did you choose to study at Leeds Arts University?

Leeds Arts University was an obvious choice for me. It was the best option because of the high quality of the course, the excellent facilities and student support, and connections within industry. I had moved to Leeds from Poland in 2015, so I was keen not to lose the fantastic music scene and beautiful landscape of the Yorkshire Dales that this city has to offer.

Film: Courtesy of Milena Graf

What do you specialise in and what are you working on at the moment?

For the last two years, my creative practice has been based solely on 2D animation and illustration, which has helped me to investigate the use of colour, shape and texture. This year I want to push myself into something new and use the University facilities to the maximum to develop a broad portfolio of work. I am currently working on a projection-mapped performance in collaboration with students from Northern School of Contemporary Dance. I am also interested in experimental animation and will soon have an opportunity to work with 16mm film, which I am very excited about. The other projects I am working on are mostly collaborative music animations. To summarise, my practice this year is an exploration of synthesis of movement, sound and projection.

Image: Courtesy of Milena Graf

Which resources do you use the most and how do they help you to develop your practice.

I spend most of the time in the Mac Suites, where I have access to a wide range of industry level software. Many of our projects involve working in groups, so the regular critiques and peer-feedback help me to develop my practice continuously. I have also learnt a lot from our Visiting Professional talks, where we also get the opportunity to ask questions and gain insight into the industry. In addition to our animation studios, I frequently use the great resource that is the library. I can easily immerse myself for hours in an excellent selection of books and art albums.

What was your route to University? Did you always have an interest in BA (Hons) Animation?

I studied Level 2 Diploma in Visual Arts and Access to HE (Art & Design) at the Leeds Arts University Vernon Street building in the city centre before studying Animation at Blenheim Walk. Every course that I have taken at Leeds Art University has broadened my views and practices as an artist. During my time at Vernon Street the University provided access to all the facilities available on site which allowed me to experiment with art disciplines that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to engage with outside of the University. I have always loved film and illustration but most importantly, motion images in music. I studied music before moving to the UK and animation seemed to be the perfect direction in which I could combine all of my interests.

Image: Courtesy of Milena Graf

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I am now at the stage where I am deciding whether I want to continue with my education and apply for a postgraduate course, or start pursuing my career in the animation industry. I am fortunate as I already create animations with regular clients, so working as a freelancer is also one of the available Milena Graf options. Looking ahead in five years’ time I see myself working in a creative agency or small animation studio.


Header image: Courtesy of Milena Graf