Andreas Aristodimou has always been interested in art! From drawing cartoons in primary school, he has moved on to experiment in a variety of art subjects, from traditional to more modern ones. His dream to live as an artist inspired him to move from Cyprus to England and to do everything in his power to gain as many skills and knowledge to achieve it.
While studying BA in Visual Communication (Illustration) in Birmingham City University, Andreas experimented with various techniques to try and discover what it was he really loved in visual arts. “In the summer of 2017, before my final year in my BA, I decided to test myself on how motivated I am, trying something new that I was afraid of in the past.” Andreas started working on a personal stop motion project and, after creating his first stop motion animation film, fell in love with animation.
He dedicated his final year in BA to learn as much as possible about animation, creating another two-stop motion animation film and graduating with a first-class degree. After receiving recommendations of Arts University Bournemouth from his tutors and students at BCU, Andreas decided to study his masters here. The sea and nature surrounding AUB, as well as its reputation on the internet, assured him of his decision and he says, that “this choice of mine appeared to be the best thing I‘ve ever done in my life. I managed to balance a great quality of life in and out of the university, making great friends, having awesome support from tutors, technicians, and students from a variety of departments.”
Head Tutor of Animation Production at AUB Paul Ward was the one who helped Andreas take initial steps in his chosen work, helped with the decision to specialise in the Model/Puppet Making and enabled him to ‘see further’. Having received plenty of help from the university’s technicians, Andreas pointed out how supportive Gideon Bohannon and Ben Diamond were, demonstrating techniques he has never tried before. He also acknowledges costume-making skills and the feedback he received from a fellow student Nicole Cuddihy, without whom, he says, he would not able to complete his master’s project. Aardman Animations’ model maker Marika Aakala, who had also graduated from AUB, up to this day supports Andreas by providing feedback and guidance.
Andreas expressed that the ongoing support that received during his time at AUB “shaped me to the artist I am today. For the first time, I had the opportunity to see and work with professional armatures. My work was constantly changing through my 4 years of studying. I feel like I am always trying to find ways to express myself.”
Andreas believes his stories are what makes his characters special. Finding inspiration in his environment, from different forms of art, landscapes and cultures, to people’s behaviours and relationships with themselves and others, he aims to pass feelings to people through his work. “The reaction from the viewers when the time comes to watch my creations is the most rewarding moment for me, it feeds my soul and gives me the desire to do it again.”
“My most defining work was my first stop motion animation short film I created by myself in my own time which boost my will and since then I am just always looking to get better in a field (stop motion) that is so creative.”
Through trial and error, Andreas developed a problem-solving mindset which he believes, is a key skill he gained while studying at AUB, along with becoming better at decision making and working effectively to meet the deadlines.
Reflecting on his experience, Andreas advises taking advantage of every single person you meet at the university because it’s an incredible community of artists. His tutor Paul Hilton was especially helpful with developing useful contacts while studying.
"I feel blessed with every single contact I made in the university, from students to technicians, to tutors and visiting tutors. They all created the ideal environment for me to be motivated and perform at my best.”
He also highlights the importance of putting your heart in everything you do, taking the feedback and progressing without letting anyone put you off. His experience has led him to believe that you can do everything if you try. “Try again and try hard!”
“The words that motivate me since my BA was from a great tutor of mine called Joel Mercer, which is to fail! Fail again! Fail faster! This is the way you learn or at least this is the way it works for me, being less scared to try new things!"