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Working in visual arts: a Q&A with Joel Simon

Photograph of Joel Simon
  • Written byUAL Awarding Body
  • Published date 11 January 2023
Photograph of Joel Simon

In advance of his talk at Teach Inspire Create: Northern Ireland, we spoke to Joel Simon, Director of Hola Lola Animations, about his role in the visual arts and how students can enter the creative industries.

Please could you tell us more about your role as Director of Hola Lola Animations and how you got there?

My role consists mainly of overseeing the projects in production, both from a creative and logistical aspect. Most of my time is taken (fortunately) by steering these projects creatively, making sure that all the artists and freelancers involved know what to do and what style and technique to employ.

I got to this position by first making my own animated films and then (as the projects became bigger) I hired in other talent to work alongside me to bring these projects to fruition.

In what ways do you think UAL Awarding Body qualifications prepare students for the next stage of education and life in the creative industries?

By linking into direct professional experience from individuals who have real life experience of working in the industry. These can provide useful and applicable advice.

What advice would you give to students looking to pursue a career in the creative industries?

I would advise anyone working in the visual arts industry (and animation in particular) to work on their portfolio and animation showreels first and foremost and fine tune their skills as much as possible. I’d also advise students to to identify a specialism, unless (and this is more rare) they are able to delay multiple disciplines.

What will you be discussing at Teach Inspire Create: Northern Ireland?

I will be giving an overview on animation the various techniques, the pros and cons of teaching each and how to help students to develop skills in ways which are not onerous or time consuming.