Get Animated with Alec Jerome
by Amanda Levy
Alec Jerome Kreisberg, 26, is an artist specializing in animation, videography, and musical composition, currently based in the North Miami area. Kreisberg has described his work as heavily immersed in the worlds of art and technology.
“I’m kind of a mix in terms of like where I come from as an artist. I have to work with a lot of different methods and processes, but when I’m working on my own stuff it all just blends together. Some of the videos I’ve been creating are these surreal situations that are kind of tapped into dream mentality. They have deeper meanings if you choose to go in and think about it, but they also just make for really stimulating/mesmerizing visuals. Whether it’s the music, or the characters involved, or the situations, they all stem from actual thoughts or epiphanies I have, while I’m either thinking or dreaming.”
With a variety of skills in the fields of music, video, and animation, Kreisberg combines his talents to create scenarios that can only be found in a visually frenzied imagination.
“There’s no laws of physics in the virtual world. With animations things can just happen and we just accept it and it’s okay, and that’s what I love about it. It taps into an internal understanding that anything can happen at anytime.”
“Things get status quo really fast in this society of just endless content. People end up being bored with stuff that is actually really groundbreaking and incredible. So you have to operate like the internet, you have to channel the internet. A lot of the artists that I really like are doing that. They channel this manic, nonsensical-type mentality.”
In terms of professional work, Kreisberg recently worked with the environmental organization, Before It’s Too Late. The organization commissioned a mural that currently resides against the Hunter-Hamersmith and Associates Advertising building on NE 125th Street in North Miami. When scanned, the mural comes to life with 3D and 2D animations provided by Kreisberg.
“I’ve done animations about the environment and pollution. There’s a lot of organizations hopping on that, not because it’s a trend, but because it’s an actual problem and we should be focusing more on that anyways. I think they both go hand in hand; making the world a more futuristic place means we’re going to have to regulate the rebuilding of the planet. I think that artists need to keep pushing these ideas so that it all becomes status quo.”
Learning about this project, it makes sense why an environmental organization attempting to spread their message would reach out to an artist like Alec Kreisberg. It is thought-provoking art for a thought-provoking topic. The highly stimulating visual elements of this work forces the viewer to think about what it is they’re looking at, while allowing each viewer to find their own meaning in the work itself.
It is clear that art and animation have always been ineradicable aspects of Alec Kreisberg’s life. But it is truly rare to see a creative whose craft not only plays a large role in his professional life, but also carries a deeply personal history along with it.
“I always knew I wanted to be an artist. It was very ingrained in my mind that this is who I am and this is what I have to do. I was pushed into music by my parents, but deep down I always wanted to be a cartoonist or animator. I was drawing all the time, and I could just never stop. And that plays into just this natural, constant drive to connect my imagination with reality without using language. I had to go through years of patience and practice to even get to the point where I can make a 30-second animation in one day.”
Although music was not his main passion, Kreisberg learned to use this skill to his advantage. Now as an adult, he is well versed both instrumentally and stylistically in the field of music. His preferred instruments include the piano, violin, and guitar. But the use of music is only one facet to the multidimensional quality of Kreisberg’s work. Where animation is used to convey the inexplicably tumultuous nature of the human psyche, music is often used to communicate sensation and consciousness.
“When I finally got good at music, which took a long time, I was like ‘okay I can actually use music to push some of my ideas forward’ and I actually successfully did in 2018. I have this short film that was all shot and animated by me, and set to music I composed. It’s called The Prophet and it’s based on artificial intelligence. It was more of an experimental process for me. But I was able to kind of leverage all these things that were going on in my life. I was able to travel and take advantage of these opportunities to get footage. It was completely independent, and it was tough. That 6-minute video took me 8 months to make.”
Kreisberg’s creativity and curiosity have long been the primary driving-forces in his life. He keenly recalls moments as a child in which animation and story-telling allowed him the freedom to create his own world; a world without rules or limitations, but endless possibilities.
“Around 1998, I was 5, my dad had this Sony Vaio computer, and there was this super obscure, incredible software. It was called Microsoft 3D movie maker. Some of the stuff I was doing with that software was so complex, and so awesome, I’m still doing stuff I was doing on that software today. This was before I was even editing videos, this was before I was even shooting videos. I was on this computer creating CGI moments, and it really made me say ‘yeah of course I can do this’. I’m beyond lucky to have even had that epiphany at such a young age. If other kids had that software they may as well have realized the same thing too. But I was the type to get fully immerse in things, so you have to really be focused, and you have to really want to do it. No amount of software is going to inspire you. I’m still doing the same thing more or less just at a higher quality. I’m the same person, I’m just older.”
Like many artists, Kreisberg has had to find the courage to truly pursue the lifestyle he’s always dreamt of. But finding this courage would mean going through the trials and tribulations of life itself. These are the experiences that force us to look deep inside ourselves, and evaluate the very moments that change us. Moments so incredibly difficult, one simply cannot explain with words alone.
“Life was good, but when I was 11 I found out my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. That lead to the next 7 years of being in hospitals, and being on this isolated path where I didn’t really relate to a lot of people around me. And that’s important to say, because it’s this degree of isolation which enabled somebody like me to cultivate myself, in a way. It was a lot, but I was a kid, so I wasn't really processing the trauma. In December of 2011 when she passed away, that lead to a degree of dissociative depression. But after doing music for years, I was invited to partake in a music studio with certain individuals I went to high school with. It lead to all these bands forming, and music projects, and just a ton of experimentation in terms of lifestyle. It was really just that feeling of being free, that I was finally in this position where there’s no rules. There’s no maternal caregiver/authority figure in my life, telling me to stay on track, and to study finance, and to become an architect instead of an artist. She was awesome, but she was very ‘play it safe, don't take risks, don't travel a lot’ - basically the opposite of me. And you know, obviously I have a lot of love, and felt a lot of sadness when she passed. But if not for that, it wouldn’t have pushed me to just say - you know what, this is life, there’s no guarantees, so if you have ideas that you need to express, and if not expressing them is going to turn you into this depressed robot, then you can count me out. I’m not going to accept playing it safe.”
“All these factors combined are why I’m still here, doing what I do and pursuing this creative lifestyle, where you can make fine art, you can make commercial art, you can make personal stuff, and it all kind of just blends together. And with the help of the internet, it all compounds and shows what’s really going on. Which are the themes you have going on in your head, the ideas you want to show that aren’t always easily conveyable with language. And I’ve talked to some people that say ‘I have nothing going on in my brain, I have no imagination.’ And I don't relate at all because I have constant imagination, and always have.”