Gabby Zapata is a recent Ringling College of Art and Design graduate, she is now working at Digital Domain Studios as a story/visual development artist. With tradeyourtalent she speaks about why Disney films inspire her, life as an everyday inspiration and moving forward.
You recently graduated from Ringling. How does it feel like and what are your future plans?
Post-Ringling is going to feel very surreal! I have been spending all week trying to relax and just have fun for once because I never really had the chance to due to working on my short film. But now that all of it is ending, I'm certainly going to miss it. As for future plans, I am luckily going to be a story/visual development artist at Digital Domain Studios! As I have mentioned on my blog, Digital Domain's has been known for its epic special effects (ie. Titanic, Tron, 2012, iRobot) and the new studio here will focus on feature animated films! I'll be working under people who have been at Disney/Pixar so it will be a great experience to work with them! It's a super great opportunity.
When did you decide to pursue a career in art?
I decided to pursue a career in art at a very young age. Ever since I was little, I grew up watching many Disney films, cartoons, you name it. When I was little, I became obsessed with The Little Mermaid because it is such a beautiful film and I loved the movements, design, everything! I remember telling myself that I hope I can do something like this when I grow up. I had no idea how, or even it there was a career for it! But years passed by, I started to focus more on art. I took all your basic art classes all the way through high school, and then I heard about Ringling and I went from there. It has been a thrill trying to learn new things and just keep improving on your work and then look back and see how much you've grown as an artist.
Everywhere. Inspiration for me drives from everyday life and from my fellow classmates. Life is an everyday inspiration and comes in many shapes and forms.
How do you overcome creative blocks?
That's a tough one. Going through art blocks can be such a challenge. You find yourself doubting yourself in your abilities and makes you want to give up. What I do to overcome that, I go out for a drive by the beach (since I live near it!) and just relax. I don't draw when I am there, I just absorb the sunlight and take time to reflect on myself. If that does not work, I just start looking for inspiration. I started collecting many "Art of" (ie. Tangled, KungFu Panda, etc) books and those are fantastic to look at for inspiration. Another thing that I do is just watch random films and see what I get from there. They do not have to be animated films, it can be anything. But as a general note, I just try and keep on moving forward and not worry about it because it will eventually get better.
Can you name your favorite artists?
Oh my gosh, where do I start?! There are soo many artists I admire and aspire from! Last summer, I started using google reader because I realized that bookmarking a blog and checking each and every one of them individually was going to be a pain. So anyway, some of my favorite artists are Brittney Lee, Glen Keane, Claire Keane, Dice Tsutsumi, Nico Marlet, Lorelay Bove, Peter de Sève, Bill Pressing, Pete Oswald, Lou Romano, Victoria Ying, Bill Schwab, Willie Real, Jeff Turley, Edgar Degas, and sooo much more! What I like about these artists is their uniqueness. If you happen to stumble on their artwork, you will be able to tell who it is because of what they specialize in. Aside from that, I like to be inspired by my classmates too. They are full of ideas, that it is impossible not to be inspired by other people.