Hi, I'm Collin Leix!
I'm an animator and illustrator at Gunner Animation. Please check out our website and get in touch there if you'd like to work with the group. Even though I'm generally not taking on projects directly, if you have something spectacular just for me, please get in touch anyway! I'm still open to especially meaningful, artful or far-reaching projects. Little Hill is my site showcasing art and animations done personally and through my work at Gunner.
HOW I GOT HERE
Animation is my favorite channel for creative expression. It's the most calorie-dense medium of expression I've found, and brings together so many things I love: Sound, gesture, color, place, narrative, story... Animation holds such potential to evoke feeling for me, whether I'm watching it or making it.
I’ve had an interesting road to animation. Growing up, there were clues along the way as to my future career, like the fact that most of my elementary school books had sequential drawings in the corner to make perfect flip-books. But before defining myself as an animator, my animator brain was split in two. I was a classical violinist and an oil painter.
From the age of 5 through college and into my professional life, I played violin in orchestras, quartets, and summer camps. I absolutely loved being a part of a beautiful fabric of sound and learning about history through the history of music.
Running parallel to music, painting has always been a love of mine. I especially loved portraiture. Even as a kid, I had a knack for it. If we ever end up at a party or meeting in person, you will make my day if you ask me to draw your portrait. Grabbing a napkin and a pen and cozying in to draw someone’s portrait gives me a huge buzz of joy - equally for the challenge of drawing a new face, and getting to know a new person.
Painting and violin always existed in completely separate realms for me. I got more serious about painting and thought it would always be my career.
THE BRIDGE TO ANIMATION
When I entered the Masters of Fine Arts program at the University of Michigan, I completely thought of myself as a painter. But by the time I finished, I was an animator. In this program, I had free reign to explore. I experimented with creating graphic scores, which are drawings that are meant to be read over time as music. This naturally led to trying my hand at time-based work. I had discovered a bridge between music and painting - animation!
My first animations were stop-motion pieces about landscape and maps, with little characters moving across them. It was so much work, but the first time I stepped back and hit ‘play’ to see what I had done, I gasped. It was wizardry. There’s something inherently enchanted about animation that never gets old.
Since starting my business in 2013, I’ve worked in 2D animation, 3D animation through Cinema4D, stop-motion animation and hand-painted frame by frame in Photoshop and Animate CC. I’m also designing and animating in virtual reality. I’ve animated branding, worked on music videos, crafted unique explainer videos, and animated things just because it made me laugh. I am always trying to make each project better than the last.
In 2018, I started working fulltime at the Design-forward Detroit studio Gunner. We're doing some really fun work, come check us out!
By the way, why 'Little Hill'?
My business is called Little Hill because of my name, Collin. Colline means 'hill' in French, as does Collina in Italian and Spanish. I studied Art History in Italy for a year in 2008, and my nickname by Italian friends was 'Collinetta,' or Little Hill. I liked it because I don't need the whole world, I only need my own elevated place.