We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda Julina Gonzalez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amanda Julina, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
You can’t balance things that are intertwined, so untangling the work-life amalgamation is a constant process for me. As a millennial who is an artist and an artist who is a millennial, distinguishing my self-worth from my productivity is not only difficult, but something I’m often resistant to. I’ve always been chaotically comfortable in the “deadline mode” zone, but that type of frantic productivity isn’t a sustainable lifestyle – I’ve had to learn where my burnout point is because I can’t control what happens when I push that far, only that I can stop myself before I do. My work is my passion is my hobby is my ticket through the door if I hustle, if I do it right; it’s a feedback loop, and it can become insidious. Breaking that cycle is something I’ve focused on more as I’ve transitioned into full time freelancing. My creativity exists independently from my work, but my best work is fueled by my creativity. Keeping that balance is a constant negotiation.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Traditional animation itself is something I’ve always known I wanted to pursue professionally. I grew up dancing and drawing, so animation has always made perfect sense to me. A huge aspect of my journey was fighting to get to a position where I was even able to study it at all, because a majority of traditional animation programs are very specific to California. Leaving New Mexico to pursue a higher education in animation was my biggest obstacle, and it often felt like my starting line was set very far back. Clearing that hurdle formed the mindset that I had to commit over two hundred percent. The concept of working twice as hard to get half as far functions as a sort of motivational home base because it makes me gauge what working four or five times as hard looks like for me. I graduated this past December. For where I’m at now — I am an animator, comic artist, concept artist, and voice over artist. It gets pretty cluttered on a business card, I’m always fiddling with the tagline. Having such a broad scope at first was something that really felt like I was doing wrong, because as a newcomer into the animation industry, something I’ve heard consistently is that you really have to pick one specialty and hammer it in, get so good at it they can’t tell you no — it’s great advice I was never able to mold myself to. Once I stopped trying, my perspective shifted to understand that my passion for so many aspects of what essentially boils down to storytelling is a strength. I’m versatile and I’ve decided to like that about myself; it’s pushed me towards unique projects I wouldn’t have necessarily thought myself applicable for if I had tried to fit into a more specific box. I’m currently working on my next comic in the Latina Superhero universe and I’m also animating on an independent film, and I’m very excited about both projects.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shoutout to my family, first and always, and to my friends who are such an incredible support system. I’m eternally thankful to Kayden Phoenix of the Latina Superhero universe for taking a chance on me. I threw my hat in the ring for a twitter call for Latina artists while still finishing out my degree, and she reached out to hire me to pencil her first comic, a superhero graphic novel called Jalisco. I had never considered working in comics before, and didn’t feel at the time that I had the skillset for it, but she oversaw it and guided me through the process; it was her script and her own vision, and she knew what she wanted to create. Witnessing and working with that kind of confidence – especially when my artistic mentorship up until that point had been solely the male faculty of my alma mater – is a gift. She created a team of all Latina artists for the project, and a major aspect of how she approaches her work is to open the door for more Latinx women to come into the film and animation industries. I’ve learned and continue to learn so much in collaborating with her. Her work can be found at www.latinasuperheroes.com.