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Started From The Bottom, Now She’s Here

07 March 2019

Inside Pinnguaq: A Self-Taught Artist’s Journey

My name is Alyssa Amell and I work at Pinnguaq as a Jr Environment Artist. Within my role as a Jr. Environment Artist, I model and texture compelling assets that will later be used in video games and online projects.

My journey with art was never something I even thought I would explore professionally, I don’t consider myself a “Pablo Picasso”, and mostly I only secretly engaged my love of art in my spare time. I have always been taught that there was no money in becoming an artist, and I always felt too intimidated by the male-dominated video-game industry, because of these fears I decided from such a young age that art wasn’t worth the risk and challenge.

One day I decided to pick up art again, cause why not? No one has to see it. Instead of picking up another sketchpad I bought a cheap digital drawing tablet. At the time I had recently been hired as an Administration Assistant at Pinnguaq and I had some downtime at work that I could practice some freeware drawing programs. One day my boss was looking at what I was drawing and asked me to help paint portraits for our company website. My first attempt was my first real challenge with art, I thought halfway through that I couldn’t do it. However, it provided me with an opportunity to hone my skills. Something I think every artist should know is that you should never stop, keep practicing and developing those skills. Don’t throw something away or delete it because you think it looks bad, keep trying, keep learning. Whenever an opportunity at work came up to learn a new skill or art software I decided to go for it, there were some great mentors there and I decided to see that as an opportunity to learn something new. Now I get paid to work on art for more than 8 hours a day! Some days it feels like I get nowhere. Looking back on my art from when I first started has made me realize just how much I improved. Some days I feel like I’m the worst artist in the world, especially when I compare myself to my amazing artistic coworkers.

However, my growth has only come from the ability to not feel overwhelmed and keep focusing on developing my craft as an artist. In a short period of time, I learned how to 3D model and use multiple different software programs for my work. When I feel overwhelmed, I try to keep myself motivated, if you don’t have the drive then you won’t get far. Sometimes it feels like you’re almost at that peak of the mountain, you can just see over it, and then you fall. But you have to pick yourself back up and try again.

Art is intimidating, mostly because I am a young adult and just beginning my formal education in art. Before Pinnguaq I was working a bunch of different retail or office jobs and applied to take a college program related to the sciences. I have always been stuck on a “forever” job because of the world my teachers and parents built for me. I have always thought my dreams were unachievable, but looking at where I am now I can say that they are within my reach.

All it takes is for someone to believe in you- if someone else isn’t cheering you on, then do it yourself. Never let anyone tell you, you can’t. I feel extremely lucky for where I am today, and I worked harder than I ever have to be where I am.

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