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Meet San Fernando Valley Artist: Elyse Filigheri

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elyse Filigheri.

Elyse, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always been a creative person. Growing up I took music lessons and was involved in band and choir. I liked to draw, write stories, and take pictures. My friends and I had a lot of fun making our own comics and movies throughout high school. Being creative is just what I’ve always found to be the most fun. My interest in music, art, and storytelling led me to the decision to study animation. With the portfolio I created at a community college, I was accepted into the Character Animation program at CalArts in 2010.

CalArts provided me with many great opportunities, I was able to start work as a freelance artist during school. It was difficult finding steady work in such a competitive field after graduating, but I had the recent fortune of becoming employed at Creationville. I now work to create illustrations and animation for projects currently in development. I’m really proud of the projects I’ve had the privilege to contribute to. I’m so excited to show everyone what we’ve been working on here at Creationville!

Has it been a smooth road?
Many of my family members died when I was young. Most significantly, my father, in a traffic accident when I was two years old, and my mother, at sixteen due to cancer. I had to grow up really fast. I’ve struggled off and on with depression and anxiety, and feel lonely often. A lot of times I’ve wished that I had a parent to guide and support me. In the past, I’ve felt like I have no idea what I’m doing, and wondered if the path I’m taking is the right one. After my mom died, the only thing I knew for certain is that I had to work hard and focus if I wanted to make a life for myself. Having experienced so much death at a young age makes me take nothing for granted, Today I am finally seeing the hard work pay off. I live with my fiance, Paul, and our cat, Ember, and I’m starting my career in the field I studied. I’m very happy!

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
I feel like I’m still starting my career, so it’s hard for me to say! I think my proudest moment was actually landing my first job after graduation. I’d done some freelance work here and there but never had any steady income as an artist. It was really tough, and I started to question my choice of career. I was constantly asked if I had a job yet, and it was depressing having to say no every time. My life felt like it was on pause. Then I landed my first steady job, and my life changed. Every time I complete a project I feel so proud and fortunate to be making a career through art.

Every story has ups and downs. What were some of the downs others might not be aware of?
Trying to make it as an artist is enough of a struggle, but it was even harder not having my mom around for strength and advice. The only family I have now, lives on the east coast, so it’s easy to feel lonely. When I was in college, I didn’t have any safety net if I failed. I had to be very careful managing my money in order to pay for tuition. Even though it was scary being on my own, I learned a lot of good life skills.

What’s your outlook for the industry in our city?
Definitely! There are a lot of animation studios in Los Angeles. The only downside is how much it costs to live here. Sometimes I wish I could live in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, but it’s not really possible! I think Los Angeles provides a lot of opportunities and unique events for artists to build their careers. If you can afford it, I recommend living in L.A.

Contact Info:

0-hcostume01 1-graves3 2-winnie2 3-trees2 4-cats 5-goldfish 6-pumpkins 7-doxyImage Credit:
All artwork is 100% created by me. My photograph was taken by Amanda Candler.

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