We had the good fortune of connecting with Tabatha Roche and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tabatha, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I’m from the small town of Erie Pennsylvania. I’m the oldest of 3 and a first-generation college graduate in my family. My parents didn’t have much growing up and didn’t have many opportunities to grow in their hometown. Knowing they wanted to build a family, they made a huge life-changing decision and immigrated from Mexico in the ’90s to give us opportunities they did not have growing up.
I’ve always admired how my parents built a life for us from literally nothing. Along the way, they had to learn a new language, adapt to a new culture, while working 2-3 jobs at a time to save enough money to invest in their next step. Nothing came easy for them, and they made sure that we grew up with the same work ethic and values. They wanted to show us that we could achieve any goal we had as long as we worked hard, made smart decisions, and practiced a couple of life lessons they had picked up as they’ve grown and learned from their mistakes. Being the oldest sibling, I felt a lot of pressure and responsibility to succeed in just about every aspect of my life. So any time I have to make a life or career decision, I think back to the perseverance of my mom and dad and know that even if I fail, I can get back up, learn and adapt and try again. They made a huge decision to leave their life in Mexico years ago, so I work every day to be better and better in my professional career and my personal 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 never thought I’d end up being an artist, let alone excelling as one. My parents were shocked & confused when I told them I’d be leaving a well-known business university that I worked hard to get into, and moving to an unfamiliar Art School that we weren’t even sure had accreditation. I had a teacher once tell me to choose a job I love and I’ll never work a day in my life. I wasn’t happy in classes like math, science and economics, but I loved the graphic design course I had as an elective class. So I moved to Pittsburgh, PA, and spent the next 3 years at art school studying Motion Graphics & VFX. I learned as much as I could and my first demo reel got me Best in Show at graduation, which eventually landed me my first job at a small production studio. It was there where I started learning that yes, you can get paid for doing art.
I got to work on a variety of commercials and promos, but after 3 years, I wanted to go for bigger and better clients. The small production studio wasn’t willing to expand their horizons and it was the first time I didn’t feel supported to strive for success. A combination of “we’ll never get those clients” and “you’re not good enough for those jobs” was enough for me to make a huge decision and find my next move. As afraid as I was, I packed up my life and moved to LA to try to find somewhere that encouraged growth and somewhere I could continue learning from better artists than me.
I think what sets me apart from others is my work ethic, dependability, and my inability to say “I can’t do that”. I have learned to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and to choose the path that scares me the most. I’ve found that the unknown scares me, but I’ve always decided to run towards it instead of settling for what I already know. I always end up learning from those experiences the most.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am a foodie, so I would take them to all my favorite spots, starting with a visit to Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood. Then I would find a Yeastie Boys truck and grab a bagel sandwich. I’d spend some time driving around Burbank and grabbing some delicious iced coffee from Café De La Olla on Victory Blvd. I would of course take them to a Koren BBQ for dinner in Koreatown and then to Milk on Beverly for some of the best Ice Cream I’ve ever had. Then I would drive down to Long Beach and walk the shore on Rosie’s Dog Beach, it’s a dog lover’s dream. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Of course, I owe a lot of my success to my parents, brother, and sister. Their constant love and support is everything. There is someone to who I would like to dedicate this shoutout to, and that would be my tremendously supportive and amazing husband. We met as freshmen in High School, and he’s been my best friend and biggest cheerleader since. He’s into everything in technology and has helped my artist brain understand how computers work. He’s built and maintained all of my machines since college which has been a godsend. He’s even had to learn a bit of my profession to better understand my struggles and help me navigate my way through them. He also shares my love for food, art, and Elvis.
I also feel like it would be a disservice not to mention the Motion design community, which continues to play a huge part in my growth. Joey Korenman (School Of Motion), Nick Campbell (Greyscale Gorilla), and Chris Do (The Futur) are founders of 3 major companies who have helped motion designers around the world come together and learn from each other. They have helped me grow as an artist in this industry immensely, and I love that they’ve made this knowledge more accessible.