ETSU digital media graduate Chris Bell is an animator and voice artist whose work is inspired by his love of standup comedy, his family’s gift for humor, an obscure Sylvester Stallone film, the comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan, Disney’s feature length animation, The Emperor’s New Groove, and the YouTube creative community.

“From the moment I started watching YouTube videos, I was like—I want to do this,” Chris says.

He gained the skills he needed to achieve his goal at ETSU, where he had access to the tools, as well as the digital media professors who encouraged and nurtured his talents.

Chris first heard about Create Appalachia from its president, Cher Cornett, ETSU Associate Professor of Digital Media. She taught Chris’s Portfolio Class, typically the last phase of the digital media program—one that is ranked among the best in the nation (#7 in the US, according to a recent Johnson City Press article).

“Because there were very few opportunities in East Tennessee for ETSU’s digital media graduates,” Chris explains, “Cher’s solution was to start Create Appalachia.”

It wasn’t long before Chris became involved during CA’s early months. Today, Chris is a CA subscribing member, with access to a dedicated cubicle and a powerful animation workstation, which he uses to create regular content for his growing YouTube channel: @SoOkayHerestheThing. Chris believes CA’s new Kingsport Center for Art & Technology is just what he was looking for.

“Being part of a creative community with other digital media producers co-working in CA’s high-tech workspace suits me so much better than working by myself at home,” he says. “As a member, I can take advantage of really expensive animation software on really expensive computers, as well as access to a really fine recording studio. It makes everything so much easier.”

So, okay, here’s the thing—you should take Chris’s word for it and come check out this carefully curated workspace for yourself!

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