Today we’d like to introduce you to Wesley Fuh.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Wesley. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born in LA, but I grew up on the small, modern island of Singapore. We had a couple of dogs in the house, I read a lot of comic strips and watched cartoons – that was what I hoped to do growing up, make comic strips for the newspaper. I didn’t do art formally in school but took classes around that such as graphic design or yearbook club. I drew a lot of cartoons, but not so much from life.
I went to UC Berkeley as a Molecular Environmental Biology major and took a small, intense “for fun” class to make a CG animated short in one semester. It was the first time I got to try this animation thing I was always fascinated by. It broke down the barrier of animation being an unattainable, abstract thing. I was learning on my own and it was a blast! Design, Animation, Story, Filmmaking! All of it were aspects I loved to craft and learn about! I dropped out of Cal, took a year working on my portfolio, took a few online classes in drawing/story, and applied to a bunch of art schools! My parents were supportive but didn’t think I’d get in. I had already been rejected from CalArts the year before.
I started my first year at CalArts in 2015. It was like being on an insane, non-stop rocket path through the world of animation. So much inspiration, stress, work, art. It was beautiful. I learned so much day to day, week by week and grew a lot each year. I formed a little workshop with my friends and we constantly kept each other in check. Pitching stories, getting thoughts on our in-progress films, struggling on the same assignments. I crossed paths with talented peers and folks in the animation industry and was fortunate enough to do snippets of work through my time at school. I worked for three days on We Bare Bears after my first year. I worked as a board artist on Harvey Beaks the following summer. I even managed to squeak into the Pixar Story Internship one summer.
Now I work as a full-time story artist on a cool movie at Pixar. Strangely I think back to all the things that I was learning BEFORE this animation train. My time at UC Berkeley studying biology, and the things around me growing up in Singapore. I often think on how to fold these pieces back into the things I am currently making within the field of animation. I’m curious to see where it all leads.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There have definitely been a lot of micro and macro struggles along the way just at my time at CalArts. But at the end of it, I think about my time in Berkeley. I was trying to learn and break into the field of animation when I had no real connections, training or experience. I was very passionate. I remember seeing a lot of my peers in Computer Science or Engineering land jobs at Pixar, ILM, Disney, DreamWorks PDI, but for technical jobs. I was conflicted if this was my way in, my passions were in the art of animation.
I was a science major, but when I was working on my CG short at UC Berkeley, I would come home after a day of classes and animate in my dorm until 2:00am. And just repeat. No one really knew what I was working on or why. I didn’t really know myself aside from that, I loved it!
I am currently living in Berkeley, but it’s funny thinking back to years ago, when I lived in the same city, in a tiny studio apartment, chipping away at a portfolio, not knowing if it would lead anywhere. I really look up to folks that are self-taught because it resonates to my time when I was struggling on my own in that year. It’s amazing to foster that kind of belief and talent in yourself and make it through.
Please tell us more about your art.
Wesley is a full-time story artist at a feature animation studio. On the side, he makes comics about his life in Berkeley and screenprints the occasional t-shirt.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Wow! What a big question! I hope I can offer something here!
Success I think is more important to define as an interpersonal measure. Like, within an institution like CalArts or a big ol’ animation studio, someone may experience successes – opportunities, recognition, etc – but maybe to a random person outside, these same factors don’t equate as much. So, I think, while it is exciting and challenging to navigate through the system we are in to find success – and watching my peers, I love to celebrate their successes here – I find for myself, to avoid comparing myself to others, I have to evaluate my own path, and think on how far I have come from where I started. I rest on the landmarks that I define as “successful” for myself. But then launch forward-thinking on what the next markers are I hope to stand on. Also, there is a lot to be said and celebrated by the little life things you’ve created for yourself that aren’t traditionally labeled as “successful”. You cooked a new dish this week! You finally got that shelf up in your study! You walked your sweet dog around the block and he actually pooped! I wish for things like these to be celebrated more! You did it!
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sumoswine/
- Other: https://vimeo.com/wesleyfuh
All images by Wesley Fuh.