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Meet Vanessa Plaza Lazo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vanessa Plaza Lazo.

Vanessa, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m originally from Ecuador but moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2010 to start my career in the Film industry. I started from the very bottom, learning and performing every role in Art department. I specialized myself as Art Director working in different type of productions such as Ad commercials, music video clips, Tv shows, feature films, among others. As an eager person, I’ve been always looking to take my career to another level, always keep growing and learning new skills. Therefore I moved to Los Angeles, looking for new challenges and opportunities. I went to CalArts for an MFA program in Production Design, and now I’m currently working in the field sharing my visual criteria and talent as Art Director/Production Designer with other filmmakers.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s never a smooth road, there’s always challenges that test you to make you realize how much you really want to achieve what you are pursuing. A lot of effort and perseverance is always key to make it possible. It is not easy to start from scratch in a new Country, new culture, especially with a different language. You have to learn from their manners and how an entire industry works. Despite the struggles, I consider it’s been always a very rewarding process in which I’ve been constantly growing.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I currently work as a freelancer Art Director/Production Designer. My specialization consists in creating a visual concept for a story that’s wanting to be told. I design spaces, environments, different worlds to transport an audience and make them immerse in a different experience. It is very important to be able to be very creative and maintain a cohesive visual criteria when working in the field because these stages I create are supposed to talk by themselves.

I’m very grateful for the path I’ve traveled to get where I am now. It taught me a lot and made me a very strong professional. I am very determined and work with a very strong combination of artistic and technical skills that not many people have under their belts. Having Scenic artist skills allows me not just to design with a wider perspective, but also to be able to build those designs by myself. I believe having those artistic/technical skills plus my wide perspective coming from the different cultural experiences and journeys I’ve gone through is what sets me apart from others.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I always remember each person I’ve come across this journey for teaching me something. Every experience I’ve had has given me something to carry with me as a learning. However, there’s always some names that are highlighted on each stage of this journey. My parents, of course, are the top names on my list of people that I thank for supporting me from the very beginning. They always encouraged me to be very persistent and never give up.

Some other names I always keep in mind are Alejandra Isler (Argentinian Production designer) and Valeria Sorge (Argentinian Production Designer). Both great mentors that became friends while teaching me about the film industry. I started my professional journey by their side, grew up a lot, and I’ll be very grateful with them for all they did for me. Now that I’m in LA, I’ve been meeting new and great people as well that have opened new doors and giving me chances to collaborate and show my talent as a visual artist.

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