Today we’d like to introduce you to Amber Vucinich.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Starting from a young age like any other artist, I was obsessed with drawing, doodling, doing anything on my notes in the margins that weren’t actually taking notes. I assumed I was never going to do anything in the art field because (at the time), I didn’t realize that you could make a career out of being an artist and have longevity doing a passion versus working at one of the jobs teachers would implore you toward in high school. High school was when my best friend urged me to work in animation, and her words had always stuck with me as the moment – in junior year, AP History class – when I realized that someone believed in me enough to encourage me to pursue my passions!
Luckily my artistic life has been a whirlwind, thrusting me through years without a break as I tried to make it into college; I know some people don’t need artistic teachings through the structure of a school system, but BOY did I need it. Jumping from the CSSSA (California State Summer School for the Arts) held at CalArts, to working myself to exhaustion in the one year of community college to not stay in community college and boldly only applied to one school but thankfully it worked out!! I attended CalArts from 2012-2016 while balancing thirteen classes and three jobs.
I learned basics for animation and found the focus and soon passion of my life in storyboarding. Looking back now, the struggle of having to afford school, constantly worrying about having to drop out because of funds, and working in such a competitive and at times unsupportive environment, school taught me lessons I didn’t realize would help to influence my vision and future, and change me into the artist and person that I am. Graduating school, I overhauled my portfolio and after testing for numerous shows (the artist equivalent to an interview), I was blown away that Disney reached out and got in contact with me.
Since October 2016, I’ve had the absolute delight of working on four shows in the animation industry. I’ve been so lucky to work alongside people that I idolized in school and the classmates and artists that I know online and never could have thought back then when I was 16 in school that this would be my life right now. I’ve grown so much as an artist and still have so much to grow in to, but I’m so content with where I am and what I’ve achieved, I can’t wait to see where I go from here. 🙂
Please tell us about your art.
Professionally, I work as a storyboard revisionist at Disney Television Animation! I learn so much as a revisionist from my peers and the job is so rewarding and it allows time for my own personal illustrations. Typically, my personal art is of pretty girls and fashion that I love, or fanart of shows that I’ve worked on or that my friends work on, but the overarching message of my art is support and normalization of wlw in art.
As a bisexual woman and member of the LGBT community, it’s disappointing how media – specifical cartoons – have a lack of openly gay characters and positive queer messages that aren’t seen between the lines of the shows. I recognize the privilege of living in the US, where I can be open in my identity when there are other artists who cannot do much in other countries around the world. There are amazingly hard working artists in the industry changing that, but we have a long way to go, and because of that, I love being able to have the freedom to express that part of myself in my art. If people can come away from my art and can see that there can be understanding for those outside of your specific lifestyle, that would be the best part.
I’ve always been interested to learn more about my culture as well and want to implement it in my art going forward. Half of my family is Chilean, and the rich history that comes with that culture has always been something that I’d love to express more in my art. The use of color and highlight aspects of life that I love dearly is always a focus in what I create in my spare time, and I love every ounce of it.
What do you think about conditions for artists today? Has life become easier or harder for artists in recent years? What can cities like ours do to encourage and help art and artists thrive?
With the accessibility of the internet, especially with Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and other websites, it’s become so much easier to post your art and to connect with other artists! Getting feedback and see how professionals work and interact with one another is a great way for artists to see and get recognized; the negative aspect of that is that there are more competition and more artists than ever before.
Resources to teach yourself artistic skills are out there and easily accessible and in some cases, people don’t have to attend art colleges in order to get hired in art fields, something that was impossible for me to think of at the age that I was in school for. I feel like classes for art that are 1. affordable and open for all ages and skillsets and 2. are easily accessible in the community would help artists thrive. Having a support system in your community really changes the way that you’re able to create in a positive and safe place!
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
The last show I worked on – Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure – is currently running on Disney Channel and the first two seasons can be found on Disney +. I’m active on both Twitter and Instagram, but honestly, the best way to support me is to follow my work and comment on it! I love talking to people about art, or memes if that’s your thing (my user name on both is mbrleigh).
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mbrleigh/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/mbrleigh
Amber Vucinich (Naomi Hicks for the photo of myself)