Vandalia native worked on Disney’s “Frozen”

Alexander Alvarado also worked on “Wreck it Ralph”

One of the folks most excited about tonight’s Academy Awards has got to be Alexander Alvarado, the Vandalia native who worked on the film, “Frozen.”

The comedy adventure is an Oscar contender for “Best Animated Feature.”

Alvarado, a Butler High School grad, worked on a number of the film’s main characters.

“I was the look development painter for Elsa, Anna, and Hans, and helped create hair for Elsa and Hans,” he says, explaining that the job involves working with 3D models and environments to help bring the final images to the screen.

For his efforts on “Frozen,” Alvarado accepted another award recently, this one given annually by the Visual Effects Society to artists and directors in the film and animation industry. That recognition, presented in an awards ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hilton in Los Angeles, was for Elsa as “best animated character in an animated film.”

Becoming an artist

It wasn’t until his senior year of high school that Alvarado considered art as a profession.

“My mom is an artist, so it wasn’t much of a taboo in out household to choose art as a career path,” he explains. “I started taking extra art classes at Sinclair after my freshman year of high school.”

His parents are Guustie and Ray Alvarado.

Alex says the Sinclair classes, along with those at Butler, helped prepare him for his college years at the Columbus College of Art and Design.

“I majored in illustration and didn’t start out quite as successfully as a lot of the kids who had been doing art from a young age,” Alvarado admits. “But I managed to catch up pretty quickly and made it into the annual Society of Illustrators student show in New York my sophomore and senior year.”

A major break came when Alvarado landed an internship at Walt Disney animation studios during the summer of his junior year of college.

“I put all of my effort into landing an actual job at Disney my senior year,” he says. ” I worked one on one with the chair of animation to build a portfolio, and kept in close contact with my Disney internship mentor.”

Because he knew he wouldn’t hear about a Disney job until October, after graduation Alvarado applied for — and landed — an internship with Laika studio— makers of Coraline and Paranorman — in Portland.

“After coming back to Ohio I had a couple of tense weeks waiting for word about the Disney job,” Alvarado admits. ” I got it on October 10th, 2011, and started work on “Wreck-it Ralph” as a look development artist.”

He obviously made a good impression and was asked to work on some of the main characters for “Frozen.”

Says Alvarado: “We’re all thrilled with the success of ‘Frozen’ and hopefully we’ll continue to do well in the awards circuit all the way to the Oscars.”

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