Caress Reeves ’12 Wins Beinecke Scholarship to Study Animation

Caress Reeves PO ’12 received one of 20 Beinecke Fellowships for graduate study awarded this year by the Sperry and Hutchinson Company.As a media studies major, this award will enable her to pursue her life-long passion for animation. Each Beinecke Scholar receives $4,000 during his or her senior year to help pay for the expenses of applying to, visiting, and moving to graduate school, as well as $30,000 to help cover the cost of a graduate program. Beinecke Scholars are selected based on their motivation to take advantage of the opportunities available to them and to be courageous in choosing a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities, or social sciences.

Reeves said that she hopes to attend a graduate program at either UCLA or the California Institute of the Arts because both include experimental animation in their programs. She would love to work at an animation studio as a storyboard artist, a development artist, or as an actual animator.

Reeves says she has been obsessed with animated films all of her life. She said that while most people outgrow this by middle school, she found internet friends in animation communities who inspired her with their artwork throughout her early teenage and high school years.

“In high school I began to appreciate it as an art form instead of just entertainment,” she said.

Reeves says she prefers traditional hand-drawn animation over 3-D animation because the artist can get a lot of expression from hand-drawn lines. Reeves said she usually starts a project by laying down conceptual groundwork. She begins with a script and a storyboard and proceeds to character design and sketches.

Reeves said that her Pomona education has helped her to understand the media she has watched in her life, and also to be critical of the images and messages in media that convey certain ideals and how they operate through dominant structures. The basis of her media studies experience has been to critically analyze forms of media in terms of meanings that can be drawn from images, and to explore how, based on those images, one can look at the history of society to see why those images are used.

Reeves said her passion is to investigate themes of gender roles and racial signifiers in animation. As a media studies major, she has studied a fair amount of both.

Reeves cited Steve Ressel, the director of the Nickelodeon program Invader Zim, as one of her mentors. For the eight years she has known him, Reeves said that Ressel has always encouraged her to draw and watch a lot of films to see what makes an animation successful.

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