Veteran Hopes to Create New Worlds Through Video Games

Eric Quinones is pursuing an art degree after serving in the Air Force
Eric Quinones stands in front of the Fine Arts building

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Eric Quinones '23
Anticipated graduation year: 2023
UMKC degree program: B.A. studio art
Hometown: Independence, MO

After seven years serving in the military, Eric Quinones from Independence, Missouri, is on a new path. The junior in studio art is pursuing his dream of becoming a video game designer and exceeding his own expectations along the way.

Why did you choose your field of study?

I hope to utilize my degree to get my dream job, which is a video game designer. I chose my field of study (studio art) because it helps me gain a leverage on becoming a video game designer as far as putting the art in my background and in my portfolio to design more intricate stuff.

Eric works on a painting with consultation from a graduate assistant
Quinones said studying at UMKC has allowed him to explore new mediums of art
What inspired you to pursue video game design?

I’m an avid gamer and I enjoy video games. I wanted to create a video game of my own that would have good storytelling and drama rather than just guns and swords and killing. So the art is art of the gaming itself. Creating visual art within a 3-D world that doesn’t exist.

What are the benefits of the program?

The benefits of the program are to build up a portfolio, as well as building up your art background to find out what kind of art styles you like, whether it’s painting, drawing or photography. UMKC has great faculty.

Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?

I’ve learned that I can achieve more than what I thought. I’ve never been very good at school, but now that I’m in college, I’ve passed my first two years and I’m working on my third year, which is beyond my comprehension of what I used to be.

Do you have any scholarships? What do they mean to you?

I have the GI Bill. I was in the Air Force from 2010-2017 and went on two deployments, one in Cuba and one in Qatar. I was doing HVAC, so it’s a drastic switch; I can’t just come out of that and say, “I want to do video games.” So I have to go to school. The GI Bill has been a huge benefit.

What do you hope to take from your experiences at UMKC into your professional career?

I hope to take this degree and all the forms of art to better advance my idea and scope of what I want to create as far as video games go. My old works can inspire me, as well as the writing I did in the basic writing courses. That helped me as well. All the classes really do help out in general.

"I've learned that I can achieve more than what I thought." — Eric Quinones, junior in studio art

Eric stands outside Miller Nichols Library holding one of his paintings, which depicts a video game controller and military dog tags
Quinones served two deployments, one in Cuba and one in Qatar
Have you felt supported?

Very supported, very encouraged. Definitely in the beginning years, they know everyone is fresh out of high school. They’re trying to figure out their life. It’s the same with me, being a veteran and coming back into the real world. The faculty is very supportive, they help guide you to resources to help you along your path.

What are you most proud of during your time at UMKC?

I would say the art I’ve created because without the need to create art, the art wouldn’t exist. But I hope to pursue that a little more after school, that way I can get more of my art out there, more of my ideas and concepts out there.

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