name: Eliza Ivanova
education: BFA Character Animation (classic animation)
job: animator at Pixar Animation Studios, San Francisco
residence: San Francisco
Mokuso: For how long have you been living in the USA? In which state and city?
Eliza Ivanova: I’ve been in the USA for about 6 years now, four of them in Los Angeles and two in San Francisco, where I work at the moment.
M: How did you chose this country? Were there any other options in the decision moment?
E.I: When I decided I wanted to study animation I’ve started a long search and comparison of universities in USA, France, UK and Canada. Calarts was my goal from the beginning, because many of the best professional animator and directors of animated movies studied there even for one or two years. I was accepted in 6 more universities, but my choice was Calarts in California.
М: Is it easier for a young artist to make his/hers way up abroad?
Е.I: Nowhere is easy, you need to be persistent and to have a couple of people, who believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself. I hear of more and more coleagues who make short and full-lenght projects and movies and cultivate the cinema industry in Bulgaria. One day I hope to contribute to and promote Bulgarian cinema and animation.
М: Tell us how you spend a typical day?
Е.I: At the moment – work and more work. After “Cars 2” (the animated movie) I was transfered directly to “Brave” and just now, one year later, my day is not so rushed. But for short – I’m starting a new project soon.
М: Does the atmosphere of your working place and home affect your personal projects and drawings and how?
Е.I: The environment affects me a great deal, concious and subconcious, and sometimes I’m amazed on how similar projects my coleagues, friends and I work separately and in our spare time. When I draw or think of a movie concept I try to be inspired as much as possible by my personal experience, so that I don’t copy or be influenced by other artists.
М: Since what age have you been drawing? What were your first drawings?
Е.I: According to my family I started drawing before I could speak, they say I loved to do it on their international passports.
М: Have you ever attended drawing classes?
E.I: I’ve attended when I was 7 or 8 years old, but my real art education started when I was 12. I was taught in the studio of Garo Muradian, to whom I owe my whole knowledge in and appreciation of aesthetics.
М: What was the role of your family in your career as an artist?
Е.I: I have a great family… I own big part of my success to them, their support and faith in my abilities.
М: What are your favourite drawing materials?
Е.I: Ink, markers, paints and anything I can find within a radius of one meter.
М: Do you have an artistic nickname?
Е.I: No, I don’t. The only reason to think of one is that “eliza” is never available online.
М: What’s the difference between classical drawing/painting methods and the digital ones for you?(A lot of people prefer drawing with pencils, paints, do you like photoshop and other digital tools?)
Е.I: Art is communication and the way of representing it doesn’t matter for me. I believe the important thing I look for is innovation, even if it’s in something very small, trivial or it’s a matter of personal preference. In this sense I don’t see a difference between classic and modern (digital), I see it as successful or unsuccessful representation of information in all styles or eras.
М: What’s your favourite drawing style?
Е.I: I like everything that crosses the borders of the known in one way or anoher – either trough idea, realization or conception of the world.
М: Do you agree with the statement that cartoons are for children?
Е.I: They are not only for children of course! Animation is a means to express something, not a genre in the cinema art. It’s easy to get confused, but there are incredible animations in almost every movie genre and they don’t step back to other movies by anything. They are even better in many cases. Take Jan Svankmajer’s Alice in Wonderland for example: it is the darkest interpretation of the book and doesn’t get any closer to the atmosphere of other interpretations or types of productions for children. With the development of technologies the borders between computer animation and simulation are washed out. And then comes the question what is the criteria used to define an animated movie? The most famous example is Avatar – it’s 60% animation and 40% actors play, even though it’s considered a mainstream movie.
М: What is the most common feedback that you get about your work?
Е.I: I think it’s more positive than negative
М: And how do you react to critiques?
Е.I: Depends on who do they come from. During the years I’ve learned to count on a small group of people, whose critique helps me develop. Otherwise it has the opposite effect – makes me lazy and nonactive.
М: If you have the opportunity to create your own full-lenght animated movie what will it be about? What will the characters be?
Е.I: Few projects are in germ, but I will let you know when I have a clearer concept about them!
You can find more of Eliza’s work here.