The Nickelodeon Artists Program (NAP) has been providing aspiring artists the opportunity to enhance their storyboarding and design skills since 2011. The program compensates artists who work on Nickelodeon’s animated shows and provides participants with the opportunity to gain full-time employment after the six-month term is completed.
Carl Edward Mongan ‘16 is a talented storyboard artist and animator who is currently participating in the Nickelodeon Artists Program. Through his art, he strives to effectively communicate plot, movement and expression in order to evoke the audience’s emotions. Mongan is very passionate about his art, as is evident with his many animations, including “Temple of the Mime” and “Credit Crisis.”
Mongan said, “I have always been passionate about art. Since I can remember I was doodling; I was drawing Star Wars fan fictions in my second-grade notebook when I didn’t feel like finishing the morning journal prompts that they put up on the board.”
He added, “Then for animation specifically, I feel stop motion movies like Coraline or Nightmare Before Christmas really helped me visualize that animation was this physical thing that was done by people.”
Loyola had a significant impact on Mongans’s growth as an artist, providing him with a wide range of experiences in the arts.
He explained, “Acting was definitely big in my life in high school. I was in Hannon [Theater] for all four years. Walt Wolfe is amazing. I hope he knows that—I’m sure he does. But then, visual-wise, I took design with David Roberts, which I feel strengthened a lot of the drawing that I was already doing.”
Mongan recently graduated from the California College of the Arts (CCA), earning a bachelor’s degree in animation.
“CCA was not on my radar until they contacted me,” he remarked. “They’re really good with their outreach marketing. I got a full-ride scholarship to CCA, which was very much appreciated.”
Mongan has applied to NAP for the past few years. It stood out to him because of the program’s past successes in creating amazing animators. It would give him the professional experience necessary to move forward in his artistic career. This year, he was invited to the program.
Mongan explained, “I applied to everything. For entertainment jobs, you’re just applying constantly, especially to internships and trainee programs like NAP. So it had been on my radar for a while, but every year when I don’t get it, it’s like, ‘okay, I’ll trash whatever was in that portfolio and I’ll make a new portfolio.’”
When asked how he describes his artistic style, Mongan offered, “creepy, kooky, fun, round and expressive.”
He attributes his unique style to influences from artists that he was initially exposed to in high school in classes like AP Studio Art and Design. Fine arts teacher Cristina Saggese, saw some of Mongan’s work and told him that it reminded her of Egon Shiele, an Austrian painter of the early 20th century.
Mongan found Schiele’s art to be inspiring and helpful, and as a result, he more clearly realized his artistic choices and inspirations.
His past experience as an intern working for AFI Health, a not-for-profit, aided in his development as an artist. Through AFI Health, Mongan made animations for hospitals to use as a means of explaining medical conditions to kids.
Mongan said, “It was such a small company that it was just like we did everything. So I did storyboards—which is what I do now—prop design, character design and animation.”
To aspiring artists, Mongan recommended, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help, because I was the kind of person who was like, ‘oh, I’m amazing.’”
He continued, “Looking back on it, if I had taken art classes then I’d be better than I am now.”
When reflecting on his animation experience, he also noted the importance of getting inspired to create art.
Mongan said, “Be excited and take time to get inspired, so you don’t always have to be drawing. You can be just looking at things. I go on walks a lot and that’s usually a space where I can clear my head and be inspired by people, just like random folks.”
Mongan concluded, “the big piece of advice [I’ve] been touching on is that most art fields require you to be your own manager. You have to commit to what you want to get, which is just staying motivated.”
Mongan’s most recent animation, “Temple of the Mime” is featured on his Vimeo, which can be accessed here. He showcases a variety of other animations and art endeavors on his social media pages: Instagram, Twitter and his personal website.