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Life & Work with David Mazur

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Mazur.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I guess you could say I have a bit of a different story than most. I was born in a Mexican border town and adopted by American parents who brought me to Los Angeles as an infant. My father worked in the film industry and my mother was a lawyer. Early on, I gravitated toward the arts, and throughout my school years, was surrounded by people who were incredibly successful in the field.

Growing up in this environment allowed me to imagine the idea of actually making a career in the arts myself, not just getting by as a starving artist but as a successful one. If other people could do it, I knew I could too. Most film kids I know are given a film camera growing up, but ever since I can remember I had a pencil and paper in my hand, drawing every chance I could, wherever I went. I was known as “that art kid,” and I was okay with that. Early on I knew two things: first, I was a pretty good artist for my age; second, I really loved movies. So the logical conclusion I made was to go into the animation industry. My dream at the time was to see my drawings up on the big screen. So I fixated on animation and pursued that path for years. Then I had the opportunity to tour an animation studio to get a first-hand look at my dream job as a professional animator… and… I hated it. In that moment I realized, I could never do this as a career. Being confined to a cubicle by myself, staring at a screen for 16 hours a day.

Suddenly, all the years I spent pursuing this dream… gone. What now? For about a month, I was completely lost and scared that I had wasted all that time, then I had one of those rare moments of self-realization. I knew I loved animation but could never do it as my profession. Why did I choose animation in the first place? It was because I loved movies. That was always my through line, to have my work up on the big screen and seen by millions of people one day. And I realized, why not just cut out the animation part and go straight into live action? And that was it. That was the breakthrough that pulled me out of my slump and into the film world. The fascinating part about going through that whole experience was to see exactly how much of my studies and work transferred from one medium to the other.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Definitely not. I’ve faced many challenges and have overcome many obstacles to get to where I am today. One obstacle I knew I had to overcome was the ability to be vulnerable around others. I’m a pretty reserved person and don’t really like to stand out and share personal things with the world. I had to come to terms that because of that, my work lacked personality. When I compared myself to artists I admired, it felt like their work was on an entirely different level, emotionally. I could feel it, the tingle on the back of my neck, the goosebumps, the rawness of it all, and I knew what I was creating then was nowhere close to that. I knew it would take a lot of time and effort to try and shed those traits, but I’ve started to shift my attention to what really matters in life and why I’m creating art in the first place. I want to tell a story. I want to connect with people on an emotional level and show them that there are others who also face the same daily trials and tribulations of life, that they aren’t alone. I have finally started to learn to let go and become vulnerable. I found the courage to put more of myself into my projects which in turn helped elevate my work. That’s the scariest part of making art. Exposing your truth to the world. When people judge and dislike your work, they are inherently judging and disliking you. I thought I could protect myself by creating art and distancing myself personally from it, but I finally realized that to become a great artist, like the ones I admire, you and your art have to be one and the same.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I’m a director at heart. My job is to come up with a concept and bring it to life. Easier said than done. I have to wear many different hats and dabble in many different mediums. I really like to think outside the box and push myself to the limit. I’m someone with a great work ethic and willing to put in the time and effort needed to hone my craft. I’m extremely proud of that. I have a very unique perspective and a deep sense of curiosity about the world as well as a healthy skepticism about what others might see as normal or taboo. I’m not afraid to challenge and disrupt the norm. I think having these traits has really shaped who I am today and will continue to shape the work I plan to direct in the future. I’m an incredibly ambitious person and have enough drive that I believe anything I set my mind to is possible and within reach. Skills can be taught, but the drive to succeed in the face of overwhelming odds comes from within. It takes a lot of courage to stay true to your personal values and artistic visions. I see my drive as something that allows me to stand out from others and will help me survive and thrive in this industry.

How do you think about luck?
For me, luck isn’t about good fortune appearing at random. It’s about working hard and being prepared so that when an opportunity arises, you can meet it head on and capitalize on it. As an artist with an entrepreneurial spirit, I know that I will need to make my own luck. That mindset will help me to keep pushing forward, to hone my craft and pursue my artistic vision instead of waiting around for something or someone that may never come otherwise. But that being said, I’m incredibly lucky to be a part of such a great industry and to be able to work and grow with so many talented artists. I get to go on adventures and meet people, see places and do things I wouldn’t normally get to do. I think that’s the exciting part of it all.

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Image Credits:

Paris Barton Evelyn Armstrong Lila Bell Miranda Cavagnaro Lily Kurtz

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