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Blog . Alumni Stories: Ben Zingo '15


Alumni Stories: Ben Zingo '15

04/02/24  |  Posted by Anthony Scalmato  |  Posted in Animation

Animation alum Ben Zingo, class of 2015, discusses his career and time at CIA.

Where do you live and what are you doing to stay creative these days?

I live in Rochester, NY and work as a Motion Graphics animator at OpticSky Productions. I still love to stay creative and strive for more. Every Monday I go to a figure-drawing group, on Thursdays I draw at the local art museum (they’re open late on Thursdays), and I often participate in the monthly 11 Second Club animation competition. I also review and critique animations on discord, and just generally keep an ear out for interesting bits of dialogue that could make for a fun lipsync animation exercise.

What’s been your most satisfying professional accomplishment since attending CIA?

Just seeing the improvement of my work over time has been hugely rewarding. It’s often hard to see your own growth when you’re so focused just on making the work, but when you look back on your work, you’d be amazed how much you can improve in a single year! I’ve also found it really satisfying and rewarding to then turn around and apply that knowledge and expertise to critiquing other animator’s work, and helping other people to learn & grow too!

What are your creative/professional goals for the future?

Broadly, I’m really excited to just continue improving my knowledge and skills in 3D! Some day I’d like to have enough experience (and confidence!) that I could teach students. I love to share knowledge, and I know what a big difference it can make in a developing artist’s life!

How did CIA help prepare you for your current role?

Having deadlines, and a structured environment helps train you in having a problem-solving mindset. So much of my job (and art in general!) is about problem solving, and thinking up different ways of approaching a problem.

Was there a specific piece of instruction or advice you received from a faculty member that's proven especially helpful? If so, please share what it was and who provided it.

Presentation is as-important (sometimes more important..!) than the work itself. Even if you have good work...if you present it poorly, or cheaply, or hap-hazardly, it demonstrates a lack of care that brings down the whole experience. So put some time and thought into not just your work....but how you present it!

What's your fondest memory of being a part of the CIA community?

Being surrounded by like-minded people who are passionate about art and creativity, is a wonderful thing. Try to stay in touch with people! And find groups outside of school that keep that spark alive!

What advice might you offer to current or prospective CIA students interested in charting a career path similar to yours?

Keep being creative outside of work, and don’t give up! A lot of motion-graphics jobs tend to be pretty dry- they often revolve around business, finances, education, etc. and they aren’t looking for a lot of creative input. So it’s a great idea to have projects outside of work where you can play with ideas, problem-solve, and learn at your own pace!

To view more samples of Ben's work, please visit the link below:

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