We had the good fortune of connecting with Yael Givon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yael, how do you think about risk?
I think what usually makes us so scared of taking risks is the fear of losing something we hold dear. It would be easier to take a risk if what’s on the line is not as important to us, or if we’re unhappy with our current situation. It could get complicated when the price is high, though without taking some risks, there will be no room for growth.
One of the biggest risks I chose to take was moving to another country for the sake of my career.
People move and relocate all the time so this might not sound like much to everyone, but for me it was a difficult decision to make. I left behind a life that I was pretty content with. Israel is where my family and friends are, where I grew up and where I feel most at home. Even my job wasn’t bad. I was getting paid to draw. It might not have been my dream job, but I was able to support myself through art, which was good enough already.
I remember having dreams growing up of working abroad at companies that make the type of content I actually like to consume. That type of industry didn’t really exist in Israel at the time, so I always talked about working abroad one day.
When I got accepted for my first job in animation in LA, I spent the rest of the night wide awake, crying of both hapiness and sadness.
Happy for obvious reasons. I managed to reach a personal goal. I was excited and looking forward to this new chapter in my life. Even the move sounded thrilling, since I’ve always wanted to live abroad at least once in my life.
On the other hand, sadness was also hitting me hard. I had only two months to quit my job, say goodbye to my family and friends, leave the apartment that was my home for three years, and was also concerned about how all of this would affect my husband and his life. Not to mention the better healthcare I was leaving behind and all the bureaucracy that comes with moving countries.
Even after the move, I’ve chosen a career that is not known for it’s stability. That first job was only going to last half a year. What if I couldn’t get another job after this? Hustling to stay employed is part of this business, I had to learn and adapt. Though I’ve been lucky enough to stay employed consistently so far.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
One of the things I liked the most about studying animation was to experience peoples’ live reactions to my movies as I was showing them in class. There is something very exciting about being able to spark a feeling in other people. Sometimes it might not be the exact feeling you were going for, but we all have our own life experiences and come from various cultures so we perceive things differently. Those differences can often make it more interesting for me, as a creator.
I think my art is strongly based on how I want to make people feel when looking at something I created. I use many tool to serve that purpose, it could be the composition, color, lighting, story and so on. As artists, we have different ways to try and lead our viewers thoughts and imagination. I spend many hours staring at masterpieces, trying to understand how they used these tools, and trying to figure out how to translate it into my own art. Every drawing I make is part of my own personal learning curve and a small step forward to become better at what I do.
My favorite compliments are the type people mention their senses in; When people tell me they can actually smell a room I designed, or if my color choices made them feel calm and relaxed. As a visual development Artist, it shows me that I successfully created a believable environment or scene.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I feel like what’s best about LA is all the exciting events and activities that are happening in the city throughout the year. There are a lot of cons, expos, concerts, plays, anything you can think of that is happening in the world will probably happen in LA, too. I really like Lightbox Expo, which is an expo very specific for people in the animation and games industry. It’s a fairly new event, but was especially interesting to me. A lot of my favorite artists, all gathered to show and celebrate their art and profession. This year I’ll have a booth there, too!
I also enjoy the variety of different foods and restaurants the city has to offer. There are so many people from different backgrounds and cultures, so there is so much to choose from. I discovered many types of foods that I’ve never had before, some of which that have now become my favorites. My favorite restaurant is in Pasadena and is called Chong Qing YaoMei Hotpot. It’s a Chinese style hotpot with a wide selection of ingrediantes and very delicious flavors. I go there pretty frequently with my friends and family.
Besides trying all the food I highly recommend visiting Huntington Gardens!
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?
This is probably true for everyone, but my parents have a lot to do with who I am as a person today. Both my parents are artists, jewelers. Their studio is part of the house I grew up in, and was an integral part of our daily routine as a family. Our fields are a little different, but I grew up in a house that understood and supported my art. They were also a perfect example to how you could make a living as an artist. They always let me try and explore my interests, feeding my curiosity by buying me art supplies, traveling, and letting me take as many different afterschool classes as I wanted. One of those classes was hiring a tutor to teach me graphic design when I was about 11 years old. I was studying how to use 2D, 3D and animation programs from a young age and it has become an inseparable part of my artistic process to this day.