2014 Reasons to Believe Alumni Honor Roll

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Role models who give us Reasons to Believe in the power of education

Wesley Burt

Sumner Academy of Arts and Science, 1999

Other Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools Attended: Noble Prentis Elementary and Argentine Middle

Wesley BurtWesley Burt has seen his work come to life on the big screen and in the gaming industry. His character drawings have been featured in film series including the Transformers and GI Joe, and in popular video game projects like Lord of the Rings: Online and League of Legends. He is a concept artist and illustrator who has taken what he loves and turned it into a career.

For the past 10 years he has worked with the team at Massive Black Inc., a studio based in San Francisco that develops artwork and animation for the entertainment industry.

Burt grew up in a family where art was prevalent. His dad was a graphic designer and his mom, an art teacher. He loved art in school, and he also was drawn to comic books. He remembers attending comic book conventions each year at the Reardon Convention Center. He would study some of art and make his own sketches, picking up some of the techniques from his favorite ones.

In high school, he worked toward earning a scholarship to art school. He credits his art teachers at Sumner Academy who worked with him on special projects during planning periods and after school, to help him build his portfolio. A two-week summer program through the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation the summer before his senior year was a stepping stone to his full scholarship to the Cleveland Institute of Art.

He jumpstarted his career while he was in college. He posted some of his work online through Internet forums and was able to secure some freelance work as a result.

“I was only a couple of years into college and I was spending my summers drawing gladiators for a video game company, making double what my friends were making for doing service jobs,” he recalled.

Many would say his talent has helped him achieve his success, but he said it’s dedication and hard work.

Most recently he was recognized by agIdeas, a highly respected design program in Australia, as a top designer in his field – worldwide. He has received several Spectrum Awards, which are considered the most respected and prestigious creative awards for the fantastical illustration industry.