We had the good fortune of connecting with Flora Rees-Arredondo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Flora, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
I believe that there are an incredible amount of important voices and stories that still need to be heard. As long as there are unheard voices in entertainment and animation, I will continue to create artwork to support them through my own independent short films and artwork created for my clients.
My artwork is for every Latina, Latinx, mixed, or bi-racial individual who ever felt lost or unheard. My art is about challenging social norms and presenting artwork that makes you think about the world around you.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a Latinx self-employed artist based in Burbank, Los Angeles, California. Since graduating from San Jose State University in May 2020, I’ve worked in animation, video games, and illustration for a range of clients like Warner Bros. Animation, FS Studio, and Color of Change. I was a 2019 Production Intern at Cartoon Network on the show “Victor and Valentino” and Directed the award-winning 2D animated short film Malinchista.
I’m most inspired by Mexican American history, Mesoamerican mythology, sociology, and social activism. Most of my personal art projects and indie animated films stem from a social issue or a piece of history that I believe deserves attention and discussion. When possible, I choose clients and work depending on their social impact and/or dedication to diversity.
From graduating college and starting my career in the middle of a global pandemic, I’ve learned how to trust myself. Working in entertainment means constantly juggling multiple jobs while also looking for future jobs. As a self-employed artist working freelance and contract jobs, it’s up to me to track my books, balance my life, and upkeep my brand. The way to stay calm amidst all the chaos is to trust myself to be able to handle what the future brings.
As a relatively “green” industry professional, I fully understand how hard it is to get “in” to entertainment. I’ve dedicated a lot of my social media presence to supporting aspiring artists and professionals as best I can, whether through posting daily jobs on my Instagram stories, recommending upcoming BIPOC creatives, sending resources to mutuals, or answering industry questions when artists contact me by DM or email. I’ve been honored to be invited as a panelist at events such as San Diego Comic-Con, LightBox Expo, and Latinx in Animation, where I’m happy to answer questions about entertainment or share my experiences as a Latina artist as best I can.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m still relatively new to LA, but I do have my favorite spots in the city:
1. Brand Park and Library: a huge park in a beautiful neighborhood, just on the edge of Burbank and Glendale. It’s my absolute favorite place to plein air paint or hang out in the whole city – you can admire the grounds, have a barbecue in the picnic area, take your kids to the park, play sports in the large field, have a picnic on the vast grounds, admire the Japanese garden, the historical Doctor’s House, go on several hiking trails, go to the library or adjacent art gallery, and more!
2. Old Zoo Trail: as an avid hiker and outdoor gal, I’d recommend this vast network of trails in Burbank and Hollywood! The Old Zoo Trail is just one of them, and it starts right next to the Travel Town Museum. You’ll be able to see most of Burbank from the top, and there’s a picnic table perfect for a break down one of the side paths. If you explore the area, you can also stop by the many picnic areas by the road, go horseback riding, or decide to go to the Zoo!
3. Iliad Bookshop: if you’re a bookworm like me, this book store is a must see. I haven’t found an old-school independent bookstore like Iliad in years, and it has all the character you would expect. The owners are friendly, there’s a wide selection of books to be found, and you can spot their cats roaming around the shelves!
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?
I’m thankful to my parents for supporting my artistic career before I even decided to become an artist. I’m grateful that my mom is a professional artist, and supported my artistic journey my entire life. It’s common for Latinx parents to be skeptical over an artistic career, but my dad always supported my artistic path. My parents actually wanted me to work in animation and specifically at Pixar long before I even considered the industry as a career!
I’d like to thank my Animation/Illustration university program at San Jose State University, the Shrunkenheadman Club (aka the SJSU A/I student and alumni community), and the program coordinator David Chai for always pushing me to fulfill my potential as a professional artist. Our tight-nit and supportive community gave me the inspiration, skills, and connections for a heads start in my career, as well as friends for life!