We had the good fortune of connecting with Princess Bizares and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Princess, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
“Risk” is kind of a scary word to me. For someone as calculated, someone so intent on making lists, planning, making back-up plans to the back-up plans, someone who tries to come up with a solution for every possible outcome, taking a risk is the last thing I would ever want to do. But ultimately, taking a risk has always ended up the reason for my growth and for accomplishing dreams I never thought would be possible.
I’ve taken several risks in life–small ones like drinking expired milk or using my student ID to get a discount even though I graduated a couple years ago (shhh!). Or slightly bigger ones like telling my significant other I loved them for the first time or rescinding my acceptance from a university to study Architecture, to instead go to a community college and study Animation (which I only realized I wanted to do a month after I graduated high school). But perhaps one of the scariest risks I’ve ever taken is one I took last August, when I quit my Production Assistant job at the animation studio I had been working at for almost 3 years.
I was working my DREAM–my incredible, at once I thought impossible while I was in college, dream. I made it in the animation industry! I got my foot in the door. I worked with amazing, talented, lovely, diverse people. I learned so much about myself and animation production. It was the best first job anyone could have ever asked for. But almost 3 years later, and there were no real full-time leads to the next career move. I got a few offers to be promoted to Coordinator, but that was not what I wanted. The pandemic hit and the team was changing. I was the only original member of the production department left. Everything was different, people were moving up or moving out, but I felt like I was stuck in the same place. Was I not changing or moving? Was I even growing?
Of course, quitting my job in the middle of the pandemic with no full-time job lined up was a terrifying prospect. What would I do about health insurance and bills? What if no one hired me ever again and I was saying good bye to my entire animation career? What if this was a mistake? Who knows? But it was time to go into the abyss and try to see what could be out there for me. It was time to take a risk.
And I guess whatever was on the other side of that abyss held some promise because I’m now painting full-time for a show I really enjoy.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I love depicting Filipino culture in my art! I particularly enjoy depicting seemingly mundane moments between family and loved ones. Whether it’s running in the rain with your cousins in the province or spending the morning at the wet market with your Lola, I want to communicate that there’s a lot of tenderness and love in these simple memories. As someone who was born in the Philippines and immigrated to the US at a very young age, I think that depicting these scenes is also my version of a love letter to the memories I remember and cherish from living in my motherland. I’m incredibly thankful that other people have been able to relate to my depictions of those moments as well.
Aside from Filipino culture, I have also really enjoyed creating artwork featuring whimsical animals doing human things! After arriving in America, children’s picture books were so grounding for me. I devoured many books in the library, including Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad books and Kevin Henke’s Chrysanthemum. I think this influence is what has ultimately led me to pursuing children’s book illustration and my own personal style as well.
Getting to where I am today has been far from easy! It’s a constant uphill climb that I’m still striving toward the peak of and I know when I reach that peak, I’ll be off climbing to the next! It’s taken a lot of hours practicing, reaching out to others for help and guidance, cold emails for possible opportunities, working two jobs, lots of rejection, battles with imposter syndrome and self doubt, the list goes on! But I think at the end of the day, I was able to get through it with the support and encouragement of friends, family, and my therapist.
I learned last year how I put so much of my self-worth into my job–how I focused all my energy into the path and trajectory of my career and forgetting that there were other aspects of life I was allowed to and should enjoy. After the realization of how toxic and unhealthy the “grind culture” mentality was for me, I was able to ease up on myself, have more fun, make more room for creativity, and make time for just…living. I ended up quitting my Production Assistant job when I realized I was no longer growing and was starting to feel jaded from it, and when the stress associated with that job and juggling freelance was over, the current job I have–the background paint job I’ve been striving for, for so long–suddenly fell in my lap.
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?
If my friend was visiting the area, I would probably take them to 24 Hot Chicken & Waffle Bar in Studio City. They have the juiciest chicken and you can customize how spicy you want it. Porto’s is also always a solid option. My go-to is the Chicken Milanesa sandwich and the Guava Lemonade. If they just wanted to get a little treat however, I’d go to Wanderlust Creamery. The Ube Malted Crunch ice cream is THE best–I always end up bringing a pint home for my family.
As for an interesting activity, I’d definitely take them to the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City! It’s a quirky little museum filled with unique exhibitions pertaining to art, science, history, and some oddities! My favorite part about it is you’re not allowed to have your phone out once you enter so you feel really immersed in the space and are present in the experience. I also highly recommend going to the Academy Museum to see the Ghibli exhibit! It’s incredibly inspiring and it’s amazing to see some of the original paintings from the different films in person. You’re also not allowed to have your phone out in this exhibit, so you’re really present looking at all the different artwork too!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I really want to give a shoutout to my partner, Garrett Nichol, for being so kind, patient, and supportive of me throughout my whole career. I probably freak out at least once a week about being overwhelmed, feeling lost or like I’m an imposter, and Garrett is always really good at grounding me and talking me through self doubt, especially earlier on in my career journey when I cried a lot about getting rejection after rejection. It’s funny to think about now, but I’m really thankful to have had (and still have) that kind of support.
I also want to shoutout to my friends, Kat Turner, Shin Park, and Javier Molina–all awesome artists and humans who encouraged me, validated my struggles, and helped me take the risk of quitting a job I had outgrown in order to pursue where I wanted my career to go.
Princess Bizares, Lisa Trimm