We had the good fortune of connecting with Carolyn Ramirez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carolyn, what role has risk played in your life or career?
As I look back in my career, there has always been risks in all my choices. Taking risks is very important especially if they involve growth and progress. Every “risk” that I took shifted my career in the direction I wanted to. Looking back it didn’t seem that way. I was doubtful, scared, and always second guessing myself. But there was always a lot of thought and planning before taking these leaps. So I would say, I have taken many calculated risks.
When you are starting in your career I believe it is absolutely important to take risks especially when you “don’t have much to lose.” They can be learning lessons on deep self reflection. Every risk I took, made me look deep within, challenging my belief in myself; Could I do this? How will this backfire? What will I have to gain or lose? Will I be ok if it doesn’t go the way I intended too?
Regardless of the outcome of the risk, the answers and journey you will undergo by changing the course will always bring growth and will be rewarding. People always say they regret the things they never did. When it comes to making a life changing decision I try to think, when I am old, will I look back at this moment wishing I had done this? Usually that is my way of deciding if something is important enough to undergo the challenges that might come with taking risks.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I graduated in fashion design and worked in lingerie design for about four years. I absolutely loved lingerie design, I could have seen myself in that field for longer. But it wasn’t my passion, deep down animation always brought me more joy. I love painting, I love seeing all the development art from animated movies, and when I was in Fashion, that love never went away. It wasn’t easy to make the switch, I had to learn an entirely new set of skills on my own. I couldn’t afford to go to a nice art school, but luckily living in LA, the animation studios, union, and local colleges offered classes taught by people in the industry. It took about five years for me to finally break into animation, a lot of testing and rejections. I had my day job in lingerie design to fall back on, so I am grateful I put my college degree to use for some time before making the leap. Once I started working in animation my personal “art style” was put to the side. I focused more on fitting the styles of each show. There is always a balance for me since I didn’t go to art school I want to learn as much as I can on every show I’ve been a part of, learning different styles and techniques. I feel like I am still learning, and once I have the time I can come back to whatever my style will be. I think it is important to always be open to learn and grow and if you have a unique style, that is great! But if you don’t, there is still so much opportunity you can contribute too, just always be willing to try everything.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Favorite spot in the city, I love nature so I probably would take them to Elysian Park. This past year, Elysian Park has been my favorite place in LA. The neighborhood is so peaceful, it is the perfect place to go on a jog, you get to see Downtown from the top then as you go down, there are so many pretty trees, everyone has their dog, and it is really cool to see all the hawks that fly around. Down the street on Sunset blvd, there are many nice spots to eat, my favorite chinese take out Combo A, or delicious vegan options at Sage, deep dish pizza at Masa. The area overall has so much to offer. My other favorite food spot would be “Evil Cooks” in El Sereno, they are now my new favorite taco spot in all of LA, everyone has to try them. Outside of the city, anywhere in nature I love being in the mountains or water so the options are endless. I am always down for a crazy adventure in nature.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family, friend’s, mentors all played an important role in where I am today. The list is long, since I chose not take traditional schooling to get into animation. I really had to rely on my network and mentors to really find my way.
I will try and briefly name a few starting with my sister Arlyne, who exposed me to animation and many friends. My first mentor Richie Chavez who so humbly took time out of his evenings to look through my work ( I did not know about all the amazing animated movies he had worked on at the time, a true master). When I was stuck with deciding to go to art school then finally chose not to, my friend’s “T” and Dario who had entered CalArts, would let me into workshops, go over my work, and introduce me to a lot of their classmates who later became coworkers.
Another set of mentors that really changed my life were from Tigobo animation, Reno and Flavie, they were from France and I had always been influenced by French animation and comics. For over two years I had a chance to be taught by them in LA and for a few months in Angouleme France. That experience with them really impacted my life. An experience I will cherish.
Once I started my career in animation there are sooo many people to thank. My friend Deb who first gave me a test which got me my first job at Cartoon Network. Then my coworker Juliana who taught me color design which then became my next career move at the studio. From there, my art directors (Martin Ansolabeher, Sandra Lee, Valerio Fabbretti, Hans Tseng, Young-Ji, Yaoyao) have all given me many more chances to try new things and opportunities I would have never imagine.
I really do have to thank so many people in my career. There were a lot of people who positively impacted me and influenced me. I am truly thankful I wouldn’t be where I am today without any of them.