We had the good fortune of connecting with Abby Fitzgerald and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Abby, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I’ve found that success in artistic branding is often tied to two things: passion and personality.
An artistic brand isn’t something that you sit down and make up on the spot; it’s less “What should I be?” and more “What am I naturally?” Look at your work as whole and pinpoint the patterns. Are you drawn to morally rich narratives? Are you fond of one-liners and slapstick comedy? Are you just really into designing steampunk wizards? Whatever it is that you’re passionate about often manifests in all of your projects in some way or another.
For example, I’m a big Broadway fan. I pose characters like they’re on a stage, I interpret acting choices with theatrical flourish, and I love a good musical number. If you look at any of my work, these things find their way in–well, sometimes it’s as obvious as making my thesis film a musical, but it’s not always that blunt. I make sure that my personal interests are tied to my art so that I have the necessary passion to complete them. Personality is the fuel for passion, and hooking it up to your work gives you endless inspiration.
And when your interests shift, so does your brand. That’s okay! As soon as your work/brand starts to feel dull, switch it up. Passions are flexible, but your personality is consistent, and that’s how an artist brands themself–and it’s often what recruiters are looking for!
So, if you’re struggling to find yourself in your art, take a step back and look at your body of work like a puzzle. What interests you? What keeps coming up in your work? Are you still passionate about it? If yes, emphasize it and have fun! If no, turn your attention inward and find what makes you happy. A happy artist is a successful one because true success is satisfaction with one’s own work.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a character animator, I’m fascinated by acting. After all, 3D animators are actors by proxy! I think a strong performance can really sell a shot and make it memorable, and that can come from the grandest of hand gestures to the quickest of eye darts. There’s so much to analyze in movement, and once you know how to spot the arcs and antics and so on, you’ll find beauty in every motion. The technicality of the craft combined with the art of acting makes animation a wonderful middle ground to work in as an artist.
I attended Ringling College of Art + Design to get a BFA in Computer Animation and Minor in Creative Writing, and I’m currently a Junior Animator at ICON Creative Studio! Even though I’m extremely new to the industry, I’ve found that the best asset to any new animator/artist is a supportive community. Ask questions! Reach out! Watch movies together! Seriously, nothing beats watching a 3D animated movie with a room full of animators. When you’re part of an industry pipeline, especially when working remote like we have been recently, it’s easy to get stuck in your own little corner tweaking the same mouth corner for 200 frames and slowly losing your mind. Taking a step back and remembering that you are part of a team that believes in you and is ready to help you grow is crucial to succeeding.
It’s all collaborative, and excitement is contagious!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Vancouver, and I’m all about the food! My first month here I had pho every week. Find a local pho spot, then stop by one of the 24 hour Breka Bakeries (a personal favorite of mine) for a sweet treat, and take a leisurely stroll around Stanley Park!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shout-out to Ringling College of Art + Design, my fellow Ringles from college, and of course my family!