The New York Society of Illustrators offers an annual Student Scholarship Competition, and one of our Academy of Art University students won a $500 scholarship. Elijah Mazur, a 2D Animation student was surprised to learn that he won the “In Memory of Kazu Sano” award. Kazu Sano was an AAU alum who passed away in May 11, 2013 after a long illness. Kazu left a legacy in the world of illustration and especially in the hearts of those who knew him as an instructor and classmate.
Elijah heard about the competition from his friend and illustrator, David Henry Lantz, who was a finalist last year. Elijah was impressed and decided to submit his own work. He didn’t expect to win since it was the first time he ever submitted to a competition.
Mazur is a second year student, and he’s setting his sights on working as a pre-production artist in the animation industry after graduation. His focus is on character design and storyboarding.
“Animation is a great way to see your ideas being brought to life! And a lot of people that inspire me are from the animation world as well.”
Mazur’s inspiration comes from artists and designers like Tom Oreb, Kevin Dart and Paul Rudish. “However my biggest inspiration is Genndy Tartakovsky; he is a great artist and one of the most respectable animators out there. And we share something in common; we both are Russian speaking! And of course my family and friends inspire me to keep working.”
When Mazur was asked if he was influenced by any of his instructors at AAU, he was quick to respond, “AAU has a lot of great teachers! I think there are two teachers who have changed the way I look at my art today! One of them is Adam Caldwell. He was my Analysis of Form teacher. Adam is a great painter and he helped me to be not as concerned about mistakes and flaws. That helped me to stop being so worried about how I draw and made the whole process just so much more enjoyable! And the second teacher who helped me a lot was Shaun Featherstone, who was my History of Animation teacher. I've never seen anyone being so invested and interested in what they are teaching. I've discovered a lot of inspiration and great artists during his class! And it got me familiar with cartoon modern, which is my favorite style of illustration.”
Mazur shares a few words to motivate other students, “AAU is a great place to start your journey as an artist. As long as you remember why you are here and what you work hard for, you will be able to accomplish everything you want.
Try to learn something new every single day! Don't be afraid of trying new things! Always challenge yourself, work hard and keep growing as an artist. Do more than expected; surprise yourself and the people around you.”