Today we’d like to introduce you to Rebecka Petersson.
Hi Rebecka, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I grew up in Sweden and was lucky to know very early on what I wanted to do. When I was 11 years old, my art teacher gave me a pamphlet about animation and I knew right away that it was what I wanted to do. I was not the best artist in High school where I majored in Art and Form, but I made sure to draw as much as I could. When I began my studies at the Academy of Art in California, I was lucky enough to get into the annual Spring Show there in my second year.
I studied 3D Animation in University, but added extra classes in Visual Development, with a focus on Character Design. It was not until my last year when a substitute teacher of mine recommended me to look into Set Designing that I did. I fell in love with it and so after graduating I took a few months to build a new portfolio focusing on Set Design and it was with this that I was lucky enough to get a job at Kuku Studios as a Visual Development artist Set Designer on a feature film with the amazing Steve Pilcher as the Production Designer. I was extremely lucky to get in the team that I did with not only stunningly amazing artists, but kind-hearted and funny people as well.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Going after a passion where you leave home to fly across the world and have to spend a lot of money without the assurance that it will pay off is never going to be an easy road. My sister and cousin got many calls during my time in University from a stressed-out version of myself. It was a lot of self-doubts, worries about money if I’d get a job after school, and about fitting in. I try to remind myself in those moments that rarely does great things come easily. Usually, if you just push yourself a little bit more outside of your comfort zone, if you dare to dream a little bit further than you thought was possible, great things will come. I am also privileged to have parents who always encouraged me to dream big and do whatever made me happy. And that is another reason why, even though I was stressed, I never doubted my choices once I had left Sweden. Because during the times I was stressed and nervous, I was also overwhelmingly happy and content. I love the work I do. The feeling when you surprise yourself and do something you weren’t sure you were able to do is hard to beat. And there’s always something to learn. Creating is never-ending and I love that.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I currently work in the art department on a Netflix feature film at Kuku Studios. My focus is Set Design, but I also do Visual Development, Prop Design and Packeting. What I enjoy most about my work is the variation. I love that I get to sketch, paint and work in 3D. As a Set Designer, I get to solve questions and come up with ideas that will help tell the story visually. Not only to solve how the 3D space of the environment/set that I am building will work compared to the storyboards provided by the story team, but also to think about what the set is supposed to say about the characters who live there. This is my favorite part of my job. It involves storytelling, problem-solving, and character development, and I get to solve it all using a variety of tools and software.
Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
Be kind and work hard. Be brave enough to listen to what it is you want to do and not just do what other people tell you you should. It is important to listen to advice, especially by those with experience and who have been where you are, but there are also many roads that lead to the same destination, and sometimes we might find a new road that leads somewhere we didn’t even know we wanted to go. Just do what you enjoy doing, do it well, keep an open mind, and be kind to those you meet along the way.