Growing up in New York City, I was always surrounded by great art.  I grew up in the Bronx when hip-hop and breakin' were born.  Graffiti was everywhere.  Museums packed with treasured works were a hop and a skip away.  And I soaked it all in.  As a kid, I made art just for art's sake and felt it was my calling.

Until I went to college.  And as it happens to most of us, you have to spiff yourself up and sharpen your skills so you can become part of the workforce.  That kind of thinking lead me to write bios, like the one you're reading now, that might have started with "John Morena is an animator with over 15 years experience creating work for some of the biggest household names."  Blah.  Blah.  Blah.

And after 17+ years of working in the commercial world, that's exactly how I feel - blah.  Don't get me wrong - I've created work that I'm really proud of and collaborated with some really talented, great people.  I'll never knock that part of my experience.  But something was always missing.  Always this lingering feeling of being unsatisfied.  I came into the animation business with the intentions of making animated films.  And I have none to show. No personal body of work.  Nothing meaningful said.

So, honestly, this Area 52 project is born out of these frustrations.  I could just as well have taken 52 weeks to create one animated film in the usual manner.  But then I'd have just one.  And would I ever make another?  Given the history, the safe bet would be to say "No".

Throughout my career, I've always had a penchant for the unorthodox approach to making films.  I constantly had the need to experiment and challenge the usual approach towards achieving a desired look.  They usually worked.  Sometimes they didn't, but that's experimentation for you!

It only made sense to me then, to take that experimentation ball and run with it.  I thought by making 52 experimental animation films, that I would then be an experimental filmmaker. Now I'm realizing I always was.

John Morena studied Fine Art at the University of Connecticut from 1995-1997, Illustration at the City College of New York from 1997-1998 and Traditional Animation at the School of Visual Arts in NYC from 1998-2001.