Anthony Gargasz first used Photoshop at the age of 12 when his friend showed him Photoshop and now works at a design studio in Hollywood. In this interview, learn why Gargasz decided to be self-taught despite receiving $30k in scholarships and how he was able to improve his artwork through feedback from other artists.
Thank you for interviewing with us Anthony! Can you introduce yourself to our readers and tell us how you got started? What are some resources (books, websites, etc.) that you used to learn digital art?
You’re very welcome, it’s my pleasure. My name is Anthony Gargasz & I’m a digital artist & designer. I first got into digital art when I was about 12 years old & my friend showed me photoshop. My mind was instantly blown. Seeing how pristine everything looked compared to MS Paint made me very keen to learn what could be done with it. From there I started making forum signatures, and eventually adapted my concepts to larger canvases. The magical internet was the single greatest resource for learning digital art. I learned most basic techniques from popular tutorial websites, but the digital art collective EvokeOne was the most helpful of them all. It was a place where I could receive great feedback & criticism from awesome artists. Showing my work to others who I thought made cool work & receiving their feedback helped me develop a vision that I could translate into art.
On your website, you mentioned that you’re 20 years old and self taught with a month of college. How is self-learning compared with going to school? Which do you prefer and why?
Self-learning is the way to go with anything creative. I think that teaching myself taught me to absorb & interpret things in my own way. When I got to college I had already been passionately pursuing digital art for about 6 years. Starting off in fundamental classes drove me crazy. They filled in some basic design principals I had never picked up, but I didn’t see it being worth it in the long run. On top of that I had no interest to learn general education classes such as math & english. Seeing some of the graduating portfolios & experiencing terrible work be praised over hype inspired me to drop out. I didn’t want to work my ass off for a piece of paper that said I went to a fancy school & am now a fancy designer. I wanted to show my work to the world & let them decide what I was capable of.
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In 2010, your artwork “Dream” won 1st place for a $15,000 scholarship to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh but you didn’t attend that school. How different do you think your life would be if you were to choose that direction?
My life and character would be drastically different if I would’ve chosen to stay in school. I would be 6 months away from having a college degree, with a hefty amount student loan debt even with the $30,000 in scholarships I ended up having. I don’t think I would be better off whatsoever. Dropping out of school made me more motivated than ever. Two years went by of me constantly striving to live up to the high expectations I set for myself. That period of hard work and sacrifice all paid off. I now work for BLT Communications in Hollywood, CA and work on advertising campaigns for the entertainment industry. Being 20 years old & moving 2000 miles away from home to a place I’ve never been was difficult, but the experience has already taught me more than I could ever imagine learning in school.