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The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

The Student Voice of UNC Asheville

The Blue Banner

Student-artist profile: MichaelAnne Briggs

Briggs poses next to her art at a school exhibition. Photo courtesy of MichaelAnne Briggs

Senior MichaelAnne Briggs, 22, is currently pursuing a degree in new media with a concentration in animation and a minor in computer science. Originally from Glassboro, New Jersey, Briggs is an avid digital artist. 

“I have always drawn from life, or what I see. I have always drawn human forms. I used to draw portraits mainly, either my favorite celebrities at the time or my friends and family. I always strived for realism,” Briggs said. “Most people are artists; they used to draw when they were younger in kindergarten. I just never stopped.”

Briggs’ specific medium is digital, and she uses a drawing software called Krita, a painting platform that can help create realistic pieces online.

“During high school I achieved photorealism, meaning I could recreate a photo by digitally painting it. It took hours of work but it was satisfying,” Briggs said. “By the end of high school, I expanded my portrait work into showing more emotions in the portrait with the same touch of realism.”

Briggs said the transition from high school to college had an effect on her art and style. 

“Going into college, I dropped the hyperrealism and had a more loose approach to my process with less neat lineart, flat colors and put more importance on the color scheme,” Briggs said. “I knew I wanted to use my drawing skills as a career, so I quickly started to teach myself human anatomy. I started drawing the whole human figure, instead of just the face and shoulders. This helped me with learning animation.”

The new media program at UNCA is known to encourage students to pursue unique fields with a realm of concentrations. Minoring in computer science will also allow Briggs to pursue her specific medium in a tech-focused future. 

“Professor Oakley has changed me as a creative for the best. He has taught me how to work hard and put the work into it in order to be the best at what I do,” Briggs said. “He made me fall in love with what I do all over again.“

Christopher Oakley, associate professor in new media, is credited with being an animator and director, painter, photographer, historian and educator. 

“He exposed me to a whole world where I can apply my skills as a digital artist as a 2D animator, and I was able to bring my digital illustrations to life and have emotions and desires, or fears with his teachings,” Briggs said. “I would not be where I am today without him.”

Briggs also attributes lecturer Ashe Cosette as another motivational figure in her art journey at UNCA. 

“I took her storyboarding class last year, and I was completely unaware how much of an impact it would have on me,” Briggs said. “That class was extremely informative and eye opening, and inspired me to become a storyboard artist.”

In May of 2023, Briggs attended the new media study abroad trip to Brussels and the Netherlands.

“It was such a privilege to be part of that experience and soak in everything around me from the architecture, the gallery and exhibit art and even the locals,” Briggs said. “The trip was truly inspiring and eye opening.”

After graduation, Briggs hopes to work in an animation studio as an animator or storyboard artist. 

“My dream job would be a storyboard artist for Pixar,” Briggs said. 

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