She's ri-Freshing: Digital Designer, Anissa "Snooze" Hanley


When did you discover your passion for art and when did you know you wanted to pursue it as a career?

I knew I wanted to pursue art since I was younger. This is a story I like to tell people. When I was about 6 years old, I got a Gameboy Pocket for Christmas. The first game I played for it was Pokémon Blue. It was my favorite game. I played it 24/7. This sparked my interest in gaming. As I got older, my love for games grew. I then told myself, I want to create my own video game one day. From there, I got interested in art. I drew my own comics and created my own creatures. I drew a lot in elementary school which gave me the opportunity to enter this art contest my school was involved with. I won and had my art hung in the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. As I got older, in 9th grade, my computer teacher gave me a copy of photoshop. That’s when i took my art to the computer and made digital art. Photoshop was my greatest tool. I used it for everything. School projects, Christmas presents, you name it! I even had people asking me to design their presentations for them because they liked the way I did mine. When I went to college, I still had an interest in game design and wanted to study that. I got introduced to different forms of digital art such as videography, graphic design, motion graphics, etc. I then decided that I wanted to do a little bit of everything. So I did! Creating art is something I love to do so I wanted to build a career from that.


How did you get the nickname “Snooze”?

Snooze was given to me sometime either 8th grade or 9th grade. I’ve always been known as an workaholic. Because of that, I don’t sleep as much as I should. So I’m always tired. That’s how I got the name. I need a good Snooze :)

Tell us about the video game you created. What inspired it?

I created my first video game for my college thesis project. I graduated from Parsons. I always had an interest in fear. Why? I guess it's because you can learn a lot about a person by what they’re afraid of. So I knew I wanted to create a horror game. I based my game off of phobias. The story was about a guy name Brandon Ryder who had just escaped from Wingate Asylum. He suffers from amnesia and a variety of phobias. One of those phobias is Scopophobia, the fear of being stared at. When he escapes the asylum he finds himself lost in the woods and can’t remember how he got there. The objective is to find clues to help trigger your memory. At the same time you must avoid eye contact with other escapees. If you make eye contact, you’ll black out and start from the beginning. Weird game right? :)


What are some of your favorite self care practices? 

Self care is very important to me. I find myself getting stressed a lot due to all the work I do. To relax, if I'm not creating art, I'm playing video games. Any game will do as long as it doesn’t stress me out. I also like to put my feet up, watch a good movie or show, and drink a Shandy. I love Shandies. I love to surround myself with people who have the same goals and perseverance as myself. When I’m alone, I pray. Talking to God helps me let out my frustrations and stress. I feel everyone show have their own self care regiment as it’ll help during those tough and unbearable moments.  

How do you get in the zone to work on your art? How do you get past a creative block?

To be honest, I get all my best ideas in the shower. I don't know why! I guess it’s because I’m alone with my thoughts. When I have good ideas, I write them down. I have a long list of things I need to create. Ugh! I usually put on something amusing on tv but nothings that’s distracting. I put my cat to lay next to me and then I start my art. I notice I get creative blocks when I'm trying to not have a creative block. I start to over think what I'm doing and it causes me to become stressed. To alleviate those moments, I simply just walk away from what I was doing and come back to it later. That way my mind is refreshed and it'll be easier for me to focus.