Heritage: Fall 2021

A drawn, picturesque view of a hugh statue on an island in a large lake.

Cullen Cole: Art of Animation

Cullen Cole
’15, BFA Animation
Lead Background Artist,
Powerhouse Animation Studios, Austin, TX

In the Netflix series “Castlevania,” a besieged city is under attack from otherworldly beasts. In the animation “Blood of Zeus,” audiences are taken back in time to ancient Greece. In another series, “Seis Manos,” the story unfolds in a 1970s fictional Mexican border town.

The settings of these popular animated shows are visually brought to life thanks to the creative work of background artist Cullen Cole.

In charge of a team of highly skilled artists tasked with concepting and designing backgrounds for major entertainment companies like Netflix, Cole is helping to “promote truth, justice and capitalism through cartoons,” as the company’s mission statement puts it.

“We are given episode scripts that describe locations for which we then design and paint illustrations. This can include things such as props and vehicles,” he said.

Since graduating from SHSU, Cole has been pursuing his professional dreams by working his way up through several companies creating 2D concepts for video games and animation. His advice for student artists is to remember to seek professional guidance and never give up the dream.

“I get to do what I love every day and get paid for it,” he said. “I get to make art that brings joy to hundreds of thousands of people around the world. It’s also very gratifying to be a part of something so big and to see the fruits of your labor appear on television with your name in the credits.”