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Meet Sherman Oaks Art Director and Photographer: Casey Moore

Today we’d like to introduce you to Casey Moore.

Casey, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
As a kid, I always had an interest in photography, movies, comics basically everything nerdy, but it wasn’t until I got out of the coast guard that a combination of extra cash and seeking a new hobby that finally made me take the leap into photography. After a couple of years of shooting skating and portraits my style started evolving more towards the composite/conceptual realm. Since I had the gi bill I decided might as well go to school for graphic design to round out my skillsets of digital art and photography. During school my interests and style continued to evolve towards the key art industry,Right before graduating I won an internship at The Refinery and that allowed me to make the big move to LA! Been here for a few years now and it’s flown by.

Has it been a smooth road?
It certainly hasn’t been a smooth road. When it comes to composite photography/key art the east coast is certainly a small pond compared to a city like LA where all the best of the best live and even to be a jr art director often requires years of in agency experience. Getting the Refinery internship was certainly a big help with getting my foot in the door with agencies. For the first couple of years, I landed in-house freelance gigs for agencies here and there but I also picked up a lot of direct freelance projects making everything from movie posters for indie directors to band promo shoots. Then one day I had a friend contact me randomly needing help on meeting a deadline, I helped out and it turned out the project was for Ubisoft and since then I’ve mainly been doing artwork for many of their big franchises.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
While I had been doing composite art/photography on the east coast for years prior, I’d say winning the internship competition for the Refinery Creative is one of my proudest moments because it was an instant foot in the door into the actual key art industry here in LA which is the best of the best. But at the same time, I’d have to say it’s a toss-up between that and getting contacted by Ubisoft to be on one of their main key art teams because as a lover of all things nerdy it doesn’t get much better than working on artwork for some of your favorite game franchises!

Every story has ups and downs. What were some of the downs others might not be aware of?
I think all artists face struggle on their way to success and it’s especially true in LA, where the best of the best in the country is basically the average. It’s hard to get agencies to even give you that chance when they expect 6 years in not only in agency experience for a jr art director position but they also expect all 6 years to be directly in the entertainment industry. Which is in stark contrast to the east coast where 4 years of just professional experience opens you up for senior art director positions. So with only a couple years of working in LA specifically I still have to deal with agencies saying my portfolio is awesome or I’ve even been told I am as good as their current artists but because I’m short a couple of years in agencies I can’t have the job.

Is there something we can do as a city to improve the outlook for professionals like you?
I’ve been a movie buff since I was 2 years old staying up to watch the Elvira show as a baby with my mom (yes I remember that far back) Growing up like most kids I also loved video games and comics etc. So LA is the place to be because now as an artist and photographer of coarse I want to work on all these amazing entertainment industry projects because I grew up getting excited by all this stuff. Now when it comes to whether I’d suggest to someone else if they should move to LA and go for it, that’s all dependent on skill as an artist and being honest about that skill. I actually turned down an in-house photographer position for one of Florida’s biggest agencies just to move here for an internship at The Refinery Creative. You have top agencies on the east coast wanting me straight out of college, I had tons of addy awards etc under my belt, so I certainly thought I was ready to move here, But it was still a hard road and took me a couple of years to even get my first good break. Not saying I’m amazing or anything but it shows the expectations LA has. So I wouldn’t suggest moving here for someone just coming out of school with the average skill level. However, if they can compare their work honestly to professional work like movie posters, video game art, professional photographers here in LA then I’d say it’s certainly worth giving it a shot.

As for what I think the city could do to improve upon this industry, for starters, it’s to give new artists a chance more often. I get it, it’s a bit of a gamble to give an unproven artist a chance in a high-stress environment and it takes effort sometimes to take someone who is at 75% of where you want them and get them that last 25% of the way. But they are looking for the easy way out when it comes to hiring talent and I don’t think it builds the best end game teams. If you look at resumes of many artists here you’ll see most have multiple agencies over a few years and I can’t tell you how many theatrical artists etc I’ve talked to who don’t even like movies. If agencies would put in that little extra effort to give those new artists that extra push they need to be great then they would have teams with huge amounts of loyalty, passion, and gratefulness. Not a team of artists just going to work and waiting for a better opportunity to come to them. A perfect example is when Ubisoft brought me onto their team. It’s a dream a come true, video game art is amazing and like I mentioned as a video game fan it just doesn’t get any better. Even when my mother had a very bad medical scare a few months back and was put in a medically induced coma I still worked my ass off remotely and met the deadline. Not because I needed the money, not because I don’t care about family or even scared of losing my position. I worked my ass off to hit the deadline because the passion I have for the work they are doing was an amazing stress reliever to help me get threw the tough time, that’s right I enjoy work so much that I consider it a stress reliever. But not just that I feel a tremendous amount of loyalty to my team who gave me a shot at my dream that I can’t imagine leaving them high and dry even though I’m sure they could find a temp to replace me. Now how many artists at agencies feel that much loyalty and passion for their job? I think it’s a safe bet to say there are tons of artists right there at the cusp of amazing who have more passion then the majority of career artists in this industry who are just waiting to find that dream agency to give them a shot, and if it was given to them they would completely change the atmosphere just with their passion and drive.

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Image Credit:
The Nearly Deads, Lions After Dark, Dylan Taylor,

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