Laura Howard, an Animation & Game Arts major from Oaklyn, NJ, is the 2021 recipient of the Marian Locks Senior Award.
The Marian Locks award provides a graduating senior in any discipline at Moore College of Art & Design with the opportunity to jumpstart her career in art and design. The competitive award pays tribute to Marian Locks’ pioneering spirit, her vision and her commitment to contemporary artists.
Howard, a Visionary Woman Honors Program student, has immediate plans for the monetary gift.
"I'm going to get an actual desktop computer setup instead of just my laptop, which is on its last legs, especially after a semester and a half of online school," she said. "I will use these to continue making games."
She'll be supervising three Moore internship students at QuadraTron Games this summer, where she interned last year.
"Now we have triple the number of people, and I'm pretty excited to see where these new projects will go," she said. While at QuadraTron last summer, Howard and classmate Faith Hoysted created the mobile game app Fish Heads.
Drawing was something Howard did often while growing up, even on the backs of her second grade spelling tests.
"My mom tells me stories about how at parent teacher conferences my teachers would tell her I would finish a test, and then I would turn over the paper and draw on it," said Howard. "The teacher would ask why, and I'm like, 'I'm done. I finished the test and I don't want to just sit here.'"
Years later, Howard said Moore had what she was looking for in a college.
"I didn't realize the scope of the animation and game arts program, and when I saw it I was like, 'Oh, like this is a legit thing, I can come here and actually make games,'" she said. Other schools leaned more toward coding and technology, and she was more interested in the art side of game-making. "It felt like the perfect chance to do something like that, and I hadn't really seen it anywhere else."
One of her favorite memories of being at Moore is pitching her concept for a mobile game app to promote the College to prospective students and their parents.
"It was exciting because it was the first game that any of us got to design," she said. "Then actually winning it was a huge confirmation boost to me, like, I could actually have a shot at this. I could have a chance at really professionally pursuing this."
STAR FOX ADVICE
The pandemic required adjustments during Howard's junior and senior years, but she and her classmates prevailed. Howard rented a studio near her home so that she didn't have to do her schoolwork at the dining room table. That perseverance is part of her advice to Moore students.
"One of my favorite quotes comes from this old Star Fox game," she said. "At the end, when hope is seemingly lost, one of the characters says to the main character, Fox, 'Never give up. Trust your instincts.' I think artists, all the time, when we get into slumps and we don't trust our abilities, it's easy to wallow around and feel like you can't be creative again. But I like to remind myself, no, you're the artist, you have the skills, you have the abilities. Let go. Trust yourself, because your instincts will take over and you're set."
See more of Howard's work at wallabites99.com.