Artist Name: Za Vue
What do you consider yourself? Artist, illustrator, painter, designer, other?
Lead Key Assistant Animator and Fine Artist
What kinds of work do you currently do and/or what kinds of projects have you worked on in the past?
I mainly paint these days (personal). However, I also teach both painting and traditional animation.
Could you talk about how you got into art or doing what you do today? What’s your story? What made you want to pursue this path? Were there any challenges you had along the way?
This is a really complicated question but I’ll try my best. I’ve always love drawing ever since I can remember. What really caught my attention however was when I first witnessed my ESL teacher (third grade) at Columbine Elementary School in Boulder Colorado drew these amazing ballerinas. They have such grace and form and so unlike anything I’ve seen up till then. After that, I was obsessed with capturing life and form in my own drawings. Being a young Hmong woman back then interested in something as lucrative as art isn’t the easiest path one can chose. I think that in the end, it chose me. I count my blessings all the time for I know a lot of people who goes through life not knowing their calling.
Did you attended art school or majored/minored in Art or Design in college? If so, what were your experiences with it and would you recommend it? If you did not attended college or did not majored in anything art-related, what advice would you give to those who are in a similar situation and want to pursue art or improve their craft?
I went to school at Kansas City Art Institute for my Bachelor of Fine Art in Illustration. I think that the decision to attend art school or not is very personal and before anyone dives in, they have to look at all their options and make the best decision for them. I know that I wouldn’t have had the exposure to places such as Hallmark and Disney if I didn’t attend the school that I did at that time. There are so many options these days if you’re just looking for ways to improve your work however. There are on line art courses, YouTube tutorials and so on. There’s no guarantee that even if you did invest in an art school for your education that you’ll land a high paying job somewhere. The bottom line is to figure out what’s best for you and jump in. Good luck!
Some people don’t realize that many artists have day jobs in addition to their art career. Do you have a day-job or do you do art full-time? How do you balance art with work and life? How do you find time to work on art?
I’m very lucky in that I’ve found a way to incorporate what I love into my every day job. I knew I wanted to teach even while I was still attending college myself back in the nineties. I can recall one of my college professors telling me to pass it on if you’re ever lucky enough to be in a position to do so. After my time at Disney, it was the most natural thing to do. Teaching at a college is ideal for me for I work hard 3 days a week and get the rest of the week to do my own personal art.
Often times people associate artists with the “starving artist” mentality, even though we know this is not always true. How do you make money from your work?
I get most of my budget from teaching at a college. Aside from teaching fulltime, I also do painting workshops, teach painting classes, sell my work at galleries and compete in art competitions throughout the US.
Where do you get your ideas from?
I paint just about anything and everything so it’s less about the subject and more about the act of painting. However, there’s nothing more inspirational to me than the challenge of painting a really unique model with great energy and personality.
What kinds of tools do you use to make your work? What is your typical artistic process like?
I work in a variety of medium but my favorite is oils. I like the flexibility and challenges that come with it. Regardless of the choice of tools, I believe that one of the most important elements to work on in the long run is your ability to draw and draw well. If you can do this, the rest will fall into place.
Are there any artists you look up to or find inspiring?
Joaquín Sorolla, John Singer Sargent, Nicolai Fechin, Willem De Kooning, Gustav Klimt & Jackson Pollock to name a few.
Do you have any favorite books, apps, movies, resources, or art tools that you recommend?
The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston
Color Workbook by Becky Koenig
What advice would you give to young artists or people just starting out?
Be curious about anything and everything. Practice, practice and practice some more.
Who would you like to work with or work for, if anybody? Could be a person, another artist, or company.
I’m happy where I’ve been and I have no desire at this point in my life to jump back into a major studio. However, I would love to work along and study with my heroes of the past if it’s possible.
What is your ultimate dream project or something you’ll like to accomplish in your lifetime (could be art or non-art related)?
Build a place of creativity where artist from all over can come and expand their horizons
Are there any current projects that you’re working on or in the near future that you want to tell us about?
I’m working on finishing up this little short film called Halley.
I’m also working on prep work for a solo show in December (2018).
What is the best way to get a hold of you or view or purchase your work?