Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Art becomes reality for UTSA alumnus

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At midnight after the kids have gone to bed, cable network Cartoon Network switches over from its series of family-friendly cartoons to their more adult counterpart Adult Swim.

Since its inception, Adult Swim has been a breeding ground for all types of mature animation and bizarre content, and if you tune in on certain nights, you will see the work of UTSA graduate Brent Noll right on your TV screen.

Once a fine arts major, Noll now lives and works in Los Angeles as an animator for the critically-acclaimed animated series “Rick and Morty.” The show follows the adventures of Rick Sanchez, an alcoholic scientist with a knack for interstellar travel and misanthropy, and his grandson Morty Smith, a distressed but good-hearted 14-year-old.

The show can be as darkly creepy as it is side-splittingly hilarious, but the animation is what really brings the worlds Rick and Morty explore to life. Whether the two get trapped in a netherworld composed entirely of women or visit anatomy themed amusement parks that take place inside the decayed body of a dead homeless man, Noll and his team of animators have their work cut out for them.

Born in San Antonio, Brent only spent a year at UTSA before transferring to Texas State. “The art program wasn’t challenging enough,” noted Brent, who also described college for an artist as “a holding pen to keep you until you finish, only to receive a piece of paper.”

Though Brent’s insecurities about the Texas education system remain, he attributes his love for writing and drawing to his time spent writing for The Paisano during his tenure at UTSA.

“I knew originally before going to UTSA that I should write for The Paisano,” Brent stated. Brent’s parents were both writers for the paper when they were students, which piqued his interest in joining the organization.

Though Brent wasn’t an experienced writer, he knew he could draw. After talking to members of the paper, Noll immediately knew this was what he wanted to do.

“This is it. This is going to be the club. This is going to be the thing in college that I do,” exclaimed Noll. “I’m going to make some friends and I’m going to do art. This is how I’m going to fit in here.”

Although Noll spent his whole life in Texas, he knew that the place to make his dreams come true was in Los Angeles. “I was diehard driven to move to Los Angeles,” Noll said. “Los Angeles is where animation was and I knew that.”

As Brent’s portfolio of drawings increased, so did his vocal presence on social media about his art. He would show off his talents anywhere he could, especially on his Facebook page where other animators began to take notice.

Before “Rick and Morty” had even started, creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland began scouting for talent to help put the show together and create the initial pilot that would become the first episode of the series.

After one animator working for the show at the time was forced to leave, Brent received a call one night and was asked to fill in the missing position on the animation team. “I showed up at the office, they liked my stuff and I was hired the next week,” recounts Brent on the call of a lifetime. “It’s been amazing ever since.”

Now living and working in Los Angeles, Noll has been enjoying his time at his dream job as an animator on “Rick and Morty.” One of the new projects he is currently excited about is a crossover gag where the titular characters invade the living room of fellow animated family “The Simpsons” during the infamous couch gag of each episode.

Brent still thanks The Paisano for all the skills he has acquired. “I didn’t realize it was this self-run organization by students who found advertisers to fund their writings,” Brent stated. “It had this legacy behind it. I really respected that.”

Brent wants his newfound accomplishments to be a sign to any student that you can find that thing that makes you special within the walls of any institution.

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