Alumni6
Academia Cotopaxi

Juan Carlos Larrea - Class of 1996

"I’m still 5’5. I haven’t grown much since then. I think I even shrank a little. The world looks taller now-a-days. It's hard to quantify growth and I would love to find a better description than just saying "a lot". " ...

Growth comes out of challenges and I've had my fair share (like everybody else) and it has helped me grow artistically and emotionally. I'm not that much different from my Cotopaxi years, I am however, a much better version of myself.  I had to learn to take criticism about me and my own work, and embrace it instead of feeling negative about it. To get to this point, I had to first identify the moments my pride was getting in the way of my personal progress. Maybe it came with age, I'm not sure, but being confident and humble has opened a new path for me to continue my own growth and it's also given me closer and tighter relationships at work.

 

Juan Carlos

What is Juan Carlos doing?

He is a BFA (with a major in animation) from Ringling College of Art and Design. He is a Lead Animator at 343 Industries (a studio within Microsoft) working on the Halo franchise.

 

Juan Carlos’s thoughts and learnings from Academia Cotopaxi

“So many different feelings and memories! Everything from awkwardness to the beginning of lifelong friendships, to teachers that got me thinking about learning differently than i was used to.
To begin with, that’s where I learned english as a second language. That alone opened up a new world of options. Being immersed in a language so widely used in the world is something you can’t put a value on. The faculty (in multiple areas, like music, chemistry, art, literature, math, etc..) was top notch too! They were encouraging and cared about all of us. They really wanted us to succeed in the world and this is why after all these years I still keep in touch with many of them. I’m fairly certain that I would not be an animator now if it hadn’t been for the support I got at AC.

I was encouraged to be an artist. So much so that my final senior project was a cartoon magazine where I drew comics that used humor trying to mimic what you used to see on a sunday morning newspaper. I don’t know what other school would’ve allowed me to do that. Also, being surrounded by people from all over the world gave me to get a taste of different cultures. With time, this led me into a path of understanding different people and how much value there’s in that. Knowing, learning and accepting anything that’s different from you only makes you a better person and a better human being. And for me, it also made me a better artist.”