We had the good fortune of connecting with Grace Babineau and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Grace, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
“Shoot your shot” is the best advice I can give in regards to risk taking. One instance in which I really took risks during my early career was when I was still a student. I went to CTN Animation Expo in Burbank, a fantastic place to network and see some Animation Industry legends’ personal art. It’s comparable to ComicCon, but on a much smaller scale. I went with a physical art portfolio of my “best” works at that time, and I threw that bad boy in front of anyone that would listen. I obviously asked for their consent and help before I did so, but I definitely put a lot of people on the spot. The main risk here was being told “No”. I was also putting my pride and ego on the line in exchange for some constructive criticism. Let me tell you… they ripped my portfolio to shreds. HAH! It was such a humbling experience. All of the notes were spot on and only helped me in my career. In addition to positive risk-taking, I think trying not to take things personally is the best piece of advice I can share. Especially in any art field, where everything is subjective and competitive. Learning to be a good listener and being able to not let things affect you, are critical. I used this experience to my advantage and applied what I learned from my role models’ critiques to my work. Fast forward three years later, and I was on a panel as a professional artist myself at the CTN Animation Expo. Gratitude doesn’t even begin to explain the deep appreciation I have for this experience. I was fortunate enough to experience the other side and try to pay the same energy forward. When I was asked publicly “How does it feel to be on the other side of a project that you even loved as a kid?”, at first all I said was, “Life is a trip.” It’s still true, this life is what you make of it. However NONE of that would have happened if I wasn’t this eager, wild, probably annoying, kid who took risks, and tried to learn and advance from every failure. With risk comes the possibility of failure, meaning you will take risks by applying to dream jobs, and often be told “NO.” But taking those risks will make you stronger and bring you closer to your goal. You just have to keep trying, taking risks, and going for it!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Currently I work full time in Adult Animation, and let’s just say it is not boring. I really enjoy adult-centric animated shows because they are funny and usually provocative. I was raised on The Simpsons and I still have a love for TV animation. Being a painter in The Animation Industry is the artistic accomplishment of which I’m most proud. I think what sets me apart from other artists is that I try to be versatile and mix up my skill set as much as possible. Whether it’s digital or traditional painting, or life drawing versus animating GIFs, I enjoy many forms of media. I got to where I am today because of education, an internship, hard work and the luck of strangers taking a chance on me. The journey to get here has not been easy, yet I appreciate every obstacle because I have always learned something. It’s been incredibly gratifying to get to know and learn from mentors and peers in the Industry. I’ve met many wonderful people who have become friends and have helped me overcome challenges. The lessons I have learned along the way are more about people than about art. I think being easy to work with is a huge lesson and has helped me work with clients multiple times. Also not taking things personally and focusing on the big picture of a project. I want the world to know that if they are in need of an artist with a dark sense of humor, quick turn around, and diligent work ethic, well then I’m your gal! I look forward to future projects and creations, and can’t wait to see what the future holds.
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?
Yes, let us discuss Los Angeles! Now one thing our city has over others is its overall diversity. Not only in its communities, but in its food, music, neighborhoods, fashion, terrain, and plenty more. If I had a friend visiting LA, these would be some local spots that would be on the itinerary. First off, we would go to see some nature. There are hundreds of hiking trails in Los Angeles County. Escondido Falls in Malibu is a beautiful adventurous waterfall hike. Rain or shine, all year long it is beautiful in its own way. You hike up from PCH into the Malibu mountains to what seems like an underwhelming waterfall. The trick is, you climb along the right side, up around on top of it to a larger waterfall. Hike with caution, but once you get to the actual waterfall it is a very serene scene. Same goes for Hermit Falls in Arcadia, a gorgeous underrated hike. Maybe avoid this one if you have a paralyzing fear of heights, because the trek down is narrow. The trail leads you to this lush forest area, reminiscent of Big Bear to me, and one route takes you to these swimming pools. You can cliff jump (be careful), or just chill and have a lovely picnic. The rock pools are tagged with graffiti art so you get this urban LA feel in the middle of nature. Don’t let that deter you because it’s a beautiful collision of both of LA’s environments – nature and city. Another spot that is incredibly underrated is the LA Arboretum! It’s affordable, you can spend an entire day walking around, and the people who work there are incredibly lovely. They have the park split into different types of terrain based on geographic origin, which is DOPE because it feels like you travel the world of plants in one day. They have Australian plants, tropical plants, Japanese plants, green houses, wildlife, ponds and much more. I recommend checking out any type of LA nature on a week day if possible, because it is getting increasingly more crowded on weekends. And if you are like me and despise crowds, the weekdays will be much more enjoyable. Let’s move on to some dank eats. For pizza, you need to go to DeSano Pizza Bakery in East Hollywood. They have wood fire pizza ovens from Italy and an entire toppings bar with fresh garlic ready to be devoured. For brunch, I love an old school diner in Pasadena called Russell’s. There will be a wait, but it’s well worth it. I recommend the Denver omelet with a blood orange mimosa – yum! Now for the best tacos in LA… This is probably the most debated category because there are so many amazing and authentic Mexican food spots here. There are two carts that are truly the best in my opinion. El Flamin Taco cart in Echo Park is BOMB, best al pastor tacos I have ever had. And my all-time favorite is Durangos Tacos in North Hollywood. They pull up to a tiki bar called Tonga Hut, the oldest tiki bar in LA, around 8pm. And these tacos are mouthwatering barbacoa tacos. You will need to go for round two while you’re drinking Tonga Hut’s strong tropical rum drinks. Even though it is a chain, I highly recommend Kopan Sushi and Ramen. Their Tonkotsu spicy ramen is delicious. Another fantastic ramen place that will knock your socks off if you like spice is Silverlake Ramen. Now for nightlife… There are so many different vibes and events in this bustling city. My favorite music venue is the El Rey Theatre in the heart of Hollywood. Also, if you can catch a flick at the Chinese or Egyptian Theater, I highly recommend it. Good Times at Davey Wayne’s is a trippy bar experience. You have to climb through a refrigerator to get into this 70’s iconic dance spot. Down the street is LA’s own Tim Burton bar called Beetle House LA. This bar is an immersive experience and feels as if you are in one of Burton’s spooky movies. Also the event “Funky Soul” at the Echoplex in Echo Park has been a favorite of mine since I was a youngin! The event is on Saturdays and free until a certain time, then it’s only around $10 for the rest of the night. It’s all funk and soul music and it’s definitely a judgement free zone where you can dance your weird booty off. If you want something more low-key, but with a breathtaking view, drive down to Signal Hill near Long Beach to a local spot called “Top of the World”, also known as Hilltop Park. With panoramic views of our gorgeous city, it’s a romantic date spot or a great place for a fun solo adventure. These are just a few suggestions. There is so much to do in pretty much every LA community. No matter where you go, or what you do, I genuinely hope you enjoy and get to experience Los Angeles to its fullest! 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?
There are so many people I want to shoutout for all the help they have given me in my life. I am incredibly lucky to have met some amazing teachers, mentors, and friends throughout my career. However, support for the arts in my life started from the beginning. I want to take this Shoutout opportunity to sincerely thank my parents and family, especially my Mom, Dad, and Stepmom Lauren. Since I was a child, they were supportive of my dreams in their own unique ways. I know this is certainly not the case for everyone, especially when it comes to support in the arts. While my parents were not literal artists themselves, I learned a lot from them that can be applied to art. Work ethic was the number one take away from my parents. I have always known the value of a dollar and hard work. From day one, my Mom was like, “When are you going to get a job?” So I had odd jobs as early as 12 and was on a payroll by 15. Each job helped me in my artistic career. Whether it was working in retail, restaurants, or bars, babysitting, or catering, I have applied those skills to my current field. Due to my parents instilling discipline, but also showing support for my art dreams, I had this really positive balance that I still try to maintain in my life. My Grandmother and Aunt taught me how to paint at a young age and learning the craftsmanship early was an immense help. I was also lucky to have a family with a great appreciation for design, who liked going to museums and art shows, and also a love for television, which is part of the reason I was drawn to working in animated television. I watched a LOT of TV growing up, so it was as if I was training for this for some time. However, NONE of this would have happened without my family’s love and support. In addition to supporting me, they have always held me accountable, which in turn helps work ethic and artistic discipline. There have been numerous occasions during which I wanted to quit a job because things got hard. Each one of my parents would hear me out, but more often than not, always pushed me to see the job or project through to the end. They’ve always been right. Oh, and I know they will LOVE reading that. Sincerely though, they are all the hardest workers I know. They set excellent examples of true hustlers who never give up. My family is the core to my artistic success, I wouldn’t be here without them. Thank you for always exemplifying a solid work ethic, and consistently building and supporting my dreams. I love and appreciate you all very much.