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Meet Rayna Buxton of Buxton Animation in Valencia

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rayna Buxton.

Rayna, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up in an area surrounded by plants and wildlife, and I enjoy working with the themes of nature and fantastical creatures in my art. I’ve always thought it important to show that the world is filled with magic and mystery, even in the places and things that we have grown to consider mundane.

My first experience with animation was through a 4-H project in grade school, and I quickly fell in love with it. I started creating animated shorts in my free time and took three internships at Grasshorse Studios. Afterwards, I went on to work there as a contractor, doing a mix of storyboarding, design, and 2D animation. After graduating high school in 2018, I was accepted into California Institute of the Arts, where I am currently working towards a BFA in Character Animation.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I was lucky to have a supportive family, but I grew up in a very rural area, focused mainly on farming. There was a lack of emphasis on art. When a local program attempted to add art to the STEM program, making STEAM, it was argued that the A should stand for agriculture instead. It was difficult to find local scholarships for my chosen field of study, as well as resources to help me improve my art.

COVID-19 has also been a major challenge, as it has changed the way I will move forward with my education. It has been much more difficult to hold onto inspiration. Like everyone else, isolation has been challenging for me, and I can no longer spend much time with the friends I made in college and hope to work with in the future.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
My focus is on 2D animation and design, and in my own films, I strive to create work with a different look than what I see typically and what I have done before. I like to push the limits of what styles are considered “animatable”. As a contractor, I have worked on music videos, commercials, and PSAs.

What were you like growing up?
I have loved art ever since I could hold a pencil. One of the firsts gifts I remember was a “How to Draw Horses” book, which I worked from obsessively. My community would frequently ask me to work on projects around town, such as murals or painted cut-outs for events.

I also had a love of animals and food, both of which remain prominent in my life and art today. My first animated film, that I made in 5th grade, was “Hairball Revenge”, stemming from my love of cats. I created many sculptures from plastic bags and duct tape, covering them with fur and beads to create fantastical creatures. I was especially obsessed with unicorns, and I’m sure my younger self would be pleased to know that I have gone back to drawing them today, as they will be a repeated theme in one of my in-progress personal films.

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