We had the good fortune of connecting with Aisling Harbert-Phillips and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Aisling, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Animation and VFX are an area of film productions where you definitely have to HUSTLE. Depending on what movie, or show I’m on I can end up working a lot of hours which leaves very little time for myself. I have learned over the years to always make sure to take time for myself creatively because while it’s fun to work on big projects, I need to do something artistic otherwise I burn out. Excelling at what you do is important but you don’t have to sacrifice who you are.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
All things creative were an escape from my home life growing up, by the time I was in 7th grade I knew I wanted to be involved in animation some how, I loved art class and in high school joined the Media and the Arts Academy where I was president my senior year (nerd). Then I went to community college for a couple years to get my Associates of Fine Art, joined RCC Art Club and Anime club learning more about all the different things you can do in art. I transferred to the Art Institute of California- Orange County and had a huge interest in 2D animation. I worked on Yo Gabba Gabba and did some small projects including the documentary I AM COMIC where all animation and design was my own. I started doing animated music videos for my friends bands to give me potential portfolio pieces and keep up my practice. There are a lot of The Maxies and Undercover Monsters videos out there from over the years. The Writer’s strike made seeking full time employment very difficult since nothing was being worked on. I got a job doing frame by frame photoshop and after effects paint on stereoscopic 3D movies for the movie G-Force (yes the guinea pig movie) and a Dawn of the Dead theatre release. I ended up staying in VFX working on over 28 different films (supervising a few) and getting back into compositing. During this time, I would take figure drawing classes, program classes and trying to fit in my own work, with my work hours being insane (up to 100 hours a week) there wasn’t a lot of time for that. I had toyed with the idea of getting back into animation again, but it wasn’t until working on Sponge Bob: Sponge Out of Water that I didn’t turn back. I loved the work, the people and being part of a creative vision. Since I was still doing long hours, I started doing post it drawings of the day, ended up with a whole wall full of them and would do illustration prompts for Girls Drawing Girls. Compositing and VFX go hand in hand to help develop the final look and feel of a film/show by doing work sometimes pre or post production on key shots for sequences.. After working on a lot of tests for larger companies, we picked up Green Eggs and Ham and Teen Titans go to the Movies, I was the Digital Art Director for season one at Deluxe Animation, then jumped over to Warner Brother’s Animation for season two to be their Supervising Technical Director. It was a lot of work, especially during the pandemic but we got through it and I’m better for it. I had a lot of personal losses my life, so many friends moving away, taking care of my mother, losing my father to cancer, my closest aunt and three friends all through a pandemic made it hard to have motivation to do much of anything, but I started doing a few pieces here and there even if it was just for mental health. Going through everything I did helped me slow down on my art, I was so concerned about time constraints that I’d rush through. When things started ramping down it gave me more time to take care of myself, especially creatively. I drew more, even if it was a little doodle or if I wasn’t in the mood to draw I’d move on to the next piece, since then I have gone back and completed some of them, it’s fun to take another stab at something you were sketching a few years ago (most everything I do is digital which helps as well). After taking a little break, I am currently working at Marvel Animation as a Senior Compositor which feels like it’s meant to be, I grew up loving cartoons and comics, the team is amazing and my work life balance continues to be more fulfilling. I’m learning, getting past personal pains and growing as an artist. I have put in so much time and effort to be in the industry that it makes sense for me to concentrate on myself a bit.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My husband and I love little Tokyo, unfortunately it was hit pretty hard from the pandemic but there’s still great anime stores, art stores, general stores and restaurants. I love to get ramen at Shen-Sen-Gumi, or wander around to grab sushi or a steamed bun. It’s great for people watching, finding little trinkets and getting sweet treats or tea at the Marukai then hitting up Kinokuniya book store upstairs. There’s also some fun museums across the way from the plaza and it’s close to the arts district where you can grab a drink at Far Bar, the Mermaid and see some amazing art shows. I live in North Hollywood so my local spots are great for a drink, Forman’s Whiskey Tavern, Idle Hour (they do Drag Bingo too!), Brew’s Brothers, and Stouts. I live super close to Circus Liquor for all you Clueless fans that want to take a memorable photo it’s worth it and you can find some interesting finds inside as far as drinks are concerned. A few great restaurants in the Noho/Burbank area are La Bamba (Puerto Rican), Tonir (Mediterranean), Gyu-Kaku (Japanese BBQ), Salsa and Beer (Mexican food) and Noodle Monster (a mish mosh of asian cuisine and soup). I like to go see concerts, but lately I’ve been going to see bigger bands, everyone loves the Hollywood bowl and the Wiltern line ups).

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am lucky to have a very supportive husband (David Phillips) that gives me a nudge when I get into a self doubt cycle. I would be nothing without my friends and family, I’m an outgoing person that thrives off interaction. I have different circles of friends that I always try to blend together because I love everyone with their creative and supportive energy! My home town friends (Emily, David and Sydney Alarcon, Amanda North, Robert Skaggs, D’Arcee Namjoo, Marcus McGhee, Beth Richie and James Rector), My local friends (Alex Jay, Alex Watson, Dan and Kathy Levy and Oscar Velasquez), my art teacher Mrs. Reinis and her aid Chonasit Scott Garpot, my college art professors Robert Jew, Chris Claflin and Kati Angelov. Anyone whose ever been on my team creatively because you’ve had to deal with me the most, especially the Green Eggs and Ham comp team! Anyone whose supported my growth professionally Johnny Fisk, Scott Johnston, Lindsey Kaiser, Piero Piluso, Bill Perkins, Helen Kalafatic, Sean Gantka and my Marvel family. My brother Kyle Harbert whom growing up used to get me into the coolest stuff. My mom and dad for teaching me to do the hard work. My step daughter Madelynn whom had me draw a bunch of pictures for her when she was little and continues to inspire me with her imagination. My band mates Raph and Thomas. My college art friend Phillip Dickenson. You draw pretty. My creative neighbor’s Jennifer Fournier and Bobby Coddington. Bad Ass female co-workers Sylvia Filcak, Leila Tilghman, Sarah Reese Edwards, Cait Campbell, and all the talent at Girls Drawing Girls. My artistic friends fuel me if we have collaborated, I’ve seen your band, you’ve drawn a picture or we’ve had a fun conversation you’ve inspired me guaranteed.

Website: aislingharbert.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/awesomeaisling/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aislingharbert

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/awesomeaislingart

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVEYp8QsLnI

Other: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbasIlmS14Q https://vimeo.com/user49386210 https://www.imdb.com/name/nm4090869/

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