We had the good fortune of connecting with Zach Gracia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Zach, how do you think about risk?
The only great successes I’ve ever had are on the other side of risk. Being a creative professional is a life/career full of risk and risk taking. Every time I put out a new piece of art, make comments/revisions on a design, or simply publish something on social media; I’m taking a risk. I try and remind myself of this every time I step outside of my comfort zone with a new task or project. As a professional artist/designer I’m constantly competing against thousands of the worlds best artists that only get better over time. If I don’t take risks, I lose opportunities to grow, I miss an ability to expand my horizons and I fail at living my life to its fullest potential. I believe failure is what most people fear the most when analyzing risk. However, if I let fear of failure dictate my life and dictate the way I work I would have never progressed and I would never be in the position I’m in today. While I have failed at times, I’m only successful because I’ve convinced myself to get back up and try again, and take lessons instead of losses. Risk is essential for growth.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I currently am working for the Walt Disney Company as a Senior Designer for the Global Product Creation team. We design toys, collectibles, and a variety of other products across mass retailers, Disney Stores, and Disney Parks. I’m incredibly fortunate to be a part of a very talented team and be able to help our audience/guests bring home a little bit of the magic. I grew up with a love for Disney and would try and get to Disneyland any chance I could get. When I decided to pursue a career as an artist I knew Disney was the place I wanted to end up. Before my current role I held a few other positions as an Artist in Residence, Art Instructor, Exhibition Coordinator and a few others. It wasn’t an easy road by any means but Disney was always my North Star and I stayed positive that I would eventually be in this position. I’ve learned so many things about myself and others in my journey so far but I think one of my greatest lessons and assets is resilience. I’ve learned how to really take negative situations and figure out how to learn, grow from them, and continue moving forward. I’ve learned over time that as terrible as situations or life may seem in that moment, that it’s only a moment, and it will pass.
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 love LA for this very reason. There are SO many spots to see and the culture here is truly something to be proud of. In a time before this pandemic I think stops in the city were focused on some of the greatest places to eat and drink, best walls for street art and all of our amazing entertainment venues. LA as a whole city though offers such flexibility and has an ability to at one moment have someone on a beach and then the next the mountains (which I’ve done before.)
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would be nowhere without my parents. My mom and dad have put up with endless detours in my journey, been patient while I forged my own path and stayed positive and supportive even during my worst times. If not for those two I don’t know if I would have had the courage or resilience to continue pushing forward and overcoming all of the adversity I’ve had on my journey. Thank you Mom and Dad!