We had the good fortune of connecting with Ros Fiol and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ros, what do you attribute your success to?
Definitely my community. Though I still have a ways to go, I owe all my present strides to the people that helped me get here in the first place.
I see ‘community’ as something that takes many shapes. Community is my graduate cohort and the many teachers who became mentors for me, but it’s also the places that shaped me and the collective imaginations that give those places meaning. I also find myself, time and time again, returning to my lifelong friends and family for guidance. Where I find belief in both who I am and what I do, I find community. It’s what I draw from for inspiration, what motivates me to follow through, and what connects me to something bigger than myself. None of us exist as finished stories with neatly tied bows. Honoring the idea of heritage, in its broadest sense, has guided and will continue to guide me in life.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I love things that are obnoxiously punchy and somehow also manage to wax sentimental; high energy choreography is a big part of my animated work. Those who know me personally are often subject to the way I fill a room, and my body of work is a pretty accurate reflection of how I move through the world. There’s an initial element of POW!!!–via bright colors or fast/silly physicality–but upon more private engagement, a more sentimental edge as well. At times hyperspecific to my lived experience, the stuff I make is a precariously self-indulgent gesture that hopefully resonates with others: a tender treatment of our pasts to help us face the future.
I’m very lucky to have grown up with creativity all around me. My grandfather was also an artist, and he encouraged me to lean into my voice from day one. I’m learning that a lot of my voice has to do with honoring roots. Though I’ve struggled to strike a balance between creative fulfillment and career satisfaction, every twist and turn along my life trajectory has brought me back to making. At this point, committing to art is as much a stubborn return to form for me as it is an obligation to my inner child.
The video games I overstimulated myself with as a kid blend confusingly with other stories from mine and my parents’ childhoods; 90s Sonic the Hedgehog meets suburban Miami-Dade county, meets a middle-school anime craze, meets crazy Cuban artist grandparents, meets…vague recollections of swim camp? Whatever this nostalgia-scape is, I hold onto it dearly, and reinterpret it in just about everything I make.
I’m all about surrounding myself with people who believe in my life’s work–whatever it may be–and who I am as a person. The rest will follow!
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?
We’re going to take the expo line out to the water, walk the Venice Beach boardwalk, and DANCE! I’m all about blue skies and boogie nights. Restaurants + sightseeing are admittedly things I’m not an expert in.
I love exploring cities one road at a time. We’d pick a place to start and then wander! Like ants 🙂
My favorite parts of LA – the ocean breeze through Burton Chace park, those purple flowers that decorate the city in spring, and all the small clubs peppered throughout West Hollywood, Silverlake, and DTLA – were all things I found by accident.
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 have so many, but let me be brief and list a few!
– My graduate thesis mentor Kathy Smith, as well as Bob Mueller and Maribel Toledo, who were my rocks at similar career capstones (undergrad + high school, respectively).
– Shengwei Zhou, for connecting me with Shoutout LA
– Franco Zacharzewski, Brooklyn-based illustrator and lifelong friend
– Miami (305 Till I Die!!)
– My twin brother Marc and parents Judy and Raf
Everyone listed here (as well as hundreds of other unnamed heroes) have shaped who I am as a person, which is fundamental to my work.