Josh Barnett is a young artist, producer and animator from London. In February 2017, he submitted his show reel to the VFX Festival x Rich Mix Scholarship competition, and won. We caught up with him to find out a bit more about him, and his plans for the future.


Tell us about yourself, and how you got in to this industry.

I’ve always had a passion for TV and animation. Not necessarily the main stream stuff, more the things that attract a cult following. I’m really inspired by music videos too. When I was younger I used to make little comic books and scripts for fun. Then, for a long time, it was my passion to make animations. But the truth is in the UK there’s not much going on on the cartoon front, so I did consider going to America to pursue it, but then I found a love for producing.

I didn’t do art in school, or anything like that, because I like to take ownership of my art and didn’t like being told how to be an ‘artist’ and how to create my art. Schools have to follow a syllabus, and there was this perception that you were only good at art if you could, for example, draw a hyper-realistic portrait. I guess it may be down to the preference of the teachers too. There’s definitely a lot of courses available in London and loads of stuff for young artists. I’m quite a pro-active person so I’m constantly applying for courses and opportunities!

What does winning the VFX Scholarship mean to you?

It’s a real privilege to win a scholarship. I genuinely didn’t expect it. I went to this festival that I really wanted to go to, and met lots of people, but I didn’t think I’d get anything like that from it, so it was great to feel like my work is actually good by someone else’s standards.

How do you anticipate the scholarship will impact your career?

It will definitely impact my career in the sense that in the media industry it’s always important to be doing courses, and although I’d probably normally go down the producing route, I think this will really develop my creative side.

How did you find out about the scholarship?

I applied to submit my one of my films to another short film festival associated with Rich Mix, but I missed the deadline. Margot (Rich Mix Young People’s, Family and Community Producer) then got in contact to say she really liked the film, and suggested I submit it to the VFX scholarship competition.

Do you feel supported as a young artist?

The political climate in the UK is a bit difficult, I do feel like there’s a big thing for art at the moment. People like escapism and getting away from what’s happening. There’s a big art community in London, and around the world, and I have a lot of friends that are in to arts, and in my experience, everyone’s willing to help each other.

What is your dream/ambition?

I want to make a career for myself in career in TV & film, and advertising. I want to do a bit of everything. In an ideal world I’d really like to start up my own production company. Just making content that people will enjoy! Content that will make people think or laugh.

What are you working on now?

I do a lot of different things. I tutor mathematics, and I do freelance work to fund my own work, and I have some cool ideas and projects coming up…I can’t really talk about them though!

If you could bring any of your animated characters to life – which would it be and why?

I had one that was a bit like a British ‘Family Guy’. It was set in Camden, in a block of flats, and loads of families fighting with each other! I don’t think there’s anything like that on British TV. I’m not sure if that means there’s a gap in the market, or no place in the market though. It’s on the back burner for now, but maybe through this scholarship I’ll meet some people and be able to get it off its feet!