Brian Mainolfi is a graduate of New York University and an animator who has worked at Walt Disney, Dreamworks, Warner Bros., and Sony. He has drawn movies such as Pocahontas, Mulan, and Tarzan, and TV shows such as The Simpsons, American Dad!, and The Boondocks.
Name: Brian Mainolfi
Discipline: Visual Arts
Class Year: 1989
Current Gig: Director on a new animated series for Netflix
Best Lesson Learned at BSA: My senior year, I did very well. My art teachers loved my work, and I felt very confident going into my Senior Review. However, Mr. Kent and the other art teachers just tore me apart. They heaped criticism on each and every piece, and explained how it could’ve been better; how it could’ve said more. And I was transformed. I was also a little mad — how come they hadn’t told me all this 4 months ago, when I could have redrawn the pieces? But I understood – don’t settle for what comes first. Keep improving, keep asking – how can this be better? Even now, as I go to direct a section of a script, I ask – what can I do to improve it? How can I bring more than what is already there?
Most Awkward Moment at BSA: Artists aren’t naturally outgoing, but I wanted to dance at my Senior Prom. I arraigned secret lessons with a seasoned dancer, but alas – at prom, I probably still looked like a human version of wind-up chattering teeth.
Funniest BSA Memory: Our painting teacher usually played the radio during class, and one time the song Stand By Me started playing and one person started singing, “dah dah DUM DUM…” and when the lyrics started, the entire class began singing along. We painted and sung the entire song, and when it was done – that was it – we never sung along to another song, and no moment was ever so perfect.
Proudest Moment: I am proud to have attended the school, and to have met such wonderful, lifelong friends. While there have been many wonderful moments, such as having my design chosen for the (short lived) mural in the basement, I think the thing I was most proud of, is being able to have designed esteemed Visual Arts Head Stephen Kent into an episode of the animated show, American Dad – where he would be viewed by millions around the world. He was so instrumental to my artistic growth, it was the least I could do to repay his support.