This week at Yellow Machine we had the pleasure of diving into the extraordinary and colourful life of artist, animator and model Cesca Saunders.
How did you first get into the industry?
In 2013, I was studying Fine Art Media at NCAD when a tutor showed me the animation work of David O’Reilly. I immediately fell in love with the way he used the medium to create really fresh freaky stuff. That summer, I decided to go to America to do a short course with the New York Film Academy at Harvard University. When I got home I switched from studying Fine Art to Animation at Ballyfermot College. I now have a degree in Animation and have been working with video games, animation and app design ever since.
Can you describe a typical work day?
I've just started working at an app publishing studio. We make interactive books and games for studios like Nickelodeon, so my work day usually revolves around artwork for the likes of ‘Dora the Explorer’ and ‘Spongebob’, or coding for the app engine. Most recently I worked on adapting a Japanese TV show called ‘Shimajiro’. (I had no idea what was going on but it sure looked adorable). On my days off I plan to start renting studio space to work on my own ﬁne art practice.
What motivates you?
The people around me motivate me. I have some really talented and creative pals who are always surprising me with the things they do. Dublin is a big creative noodle soup so I'm constantly inspired and motivated to keep creating.
How do you integrate social media into your career?
I have two separate Instagram accounts that I use; @cescasaunders is all about my artwork and @princesscca is a little more cat-heavy, with some pictures of the modelling work I do with the wonderful folks at Not Another Agency. I also try to keep my website cescasaunders.com as up to date as possible.
What has been your biggest career achievement to date?
Last year I got to work with illustrator Chris Judge on his new book ‘Create Your Own Spy Mission.’ It was an amazing opportunity to work beside one of Ireland's top illustrators and learn ﬁrst hand what it takes to make a book. Side note: Chris is one of the sweetest people ever! I was also really happy to have a piece this year at Offset's 'Exhibition Time!' - An ‘Adventure Time’ themed exhibit run by another great Irish illustrator, Rob Mirolo.
Have you any advice for people thinking of entering the industry?
Take the time to think about what skills you need to achieve your goals and then ﬁnd out what educational route will get you there. A lot of people have become astoundingly skilled at animation and game design from learning online. Education should be self-motivated especially for creative people, a lot of whom can end up more successful when they are ambitious autodidacts. So if you're out of college or school that should never mean that your education has ended or that you can't work to enter into a creative industry.
Is there anyone that inﬂuenced you to take this career path?
So many teachers and artists; Jason O'Brien my secondary school teacher, Paul O'Brien the tutor who showed me the potential of animation as a ﬁne art medium, Mark Jones a fantastic media technician in NCAD, Miriam Van Gelderen and Gareth Lee who are two very supportive tutors from Ballyfermot College.
Where do you hope to see yourself / your business in 5 years?
Working with great people on great projects I am passionate about.
What is your pet peeve about working in the industry?
To me gaming and animation are really powerful tools for artists that are often dismissed as purely commercial. People tend to have preconceived limitations for a medium. Animation isn't just Disney. Video games aren't all ‘Call of Duty’. David O’Reilly, who I mentioned earlier, has a really experimental approach to video game design. His game, ‘Mountain', is like an existential Zen garden for your desktop. His new game ‘Everything' also sounds incredible. He describes it as '[a game] about the things we see, their relationships, and their points of view. In this context, 'things' are how we separate reality so we can understand it and talk about it with each other.' That sounds like a beautiful and artistic experience to me!
What do you do to relax and unwind after a long day’s work?
Hang with pals, read, make art or just chill out with my two cats and ask them how their day went.
Don't forget to check out her Instagram pages @princesscca and @cescasaunders or her website cescasaunders.com for some seriously creative inspiration.