Jaafar Alnabi | Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Jaafar Alnabi

A black-and-white photograph of Jaafar Alnabi


BFA in Filmmaking
Current Career
VFX Artist/Compositor
Brooklyn, New York

Where did you grow up?

My family is from Iraq but I grew up in Minneapolis.

What was your major and how did you choose it?

Filmmaking. There’s nothing I love more in this world than films.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

Tough question—I’ve enjoyed learning from so many teachers. I still keep in touch with Piotr Szyhalski and Katherine Turczan. Their classes have always left a lasting impression on me.

Describe your internship(s).

I participated in WorkArt, a study abroad program in Heidelberg, Germany. It was an internship at a gallery. It was a pretty mellow internship and the town was quiet except for lots of tourists, but still had a lot of bizarre moments.

Did MCAD prepare you for life after graduation? In what way?

It prepared me in excelling my artistic visions, my process, and technical skills. I was still pretty directionless and bounced around a lot after graduation. It wasn’t until recently I figured out what I wanted to do and started working towards that. Even though COVID has halted it, I still have a road I’m working on. I don’t think school really prepares you for “real life”—everything kind of gets thrown out the window as soon as you step out the door.

Your biggest takeaway from MCAD?

The community! I miss bouncing off creative energies with my peers and friends. Also, I just like to learn new things.

Work by Jaafar Alnabi

Work by Jaafar Alnabi

Work by Jaafar Alnabi

Describe what you do for work and how you feel about it.

I composite art for network television shows. It was a lot of fun working on shows and watching them air weeks later. I'm currently working on research for my second feature-length script as I try to navigate getting my first script made.

How did you get your job?

I taught myself how to use the software Nuke and then created a worksheet of all the studios in New York. I started sending out my reel to everyone on the list until I eventually landed a short gig that got extended.

What inspires you/your work?

Oh man, lots of things: science fiction, middle eastern culture, avant-garde, movies, and music.

What advice do you have for current MCAD students and/or artists at the beginning of their creative careers?

Something you might love now might bring you displeasure later on and it’s okay to let it go.

How do you network yourself and your art?

Instagram, LinkedIn, art events, and creative spaces.

Current obsession?

Psychedelic rock, ambient/experimental noise. Middle Eastern History, cosmic horror.

Work by Jaafar Alnabi

Work by Jaafar Alnabi