A graduate from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, Giezelle Bernal loves creating semi-realistic illustrations and is skilled in 3D animations. She recently completed an animation project called ‘When COVID-19 got me a job‘ . The animated video chronicles her experience working as a medical support assistant (MSA).
Just like many creative professionals, the uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have made her ponder about the future and her creative endeavours. Although not able to pursue art & design as a career at the moment, she shared with me that she is still and an avid illustrator and animator by heart.
What impresses me the most about Giezelle is that she possesses the kind of perseverance that not many people have. She believes in Hope. Hope for a better future for herself and for the art & design industry.
At various points in our lives, we may get knocked down. But what makes a great artist or designer is his or her willingness to be uncomfortable, push past the mediocre and develop the right mental attitude to rise to the occasion. The following is my online interview with her.
Can you tell us a little bit about the creative process behind your ‘When COVID-19 got me a job’ animation?
The process was pretty tough for an individual like me to do this on my own. I started off by creating pixel sprites using a website called Pixilart.com. It took me about two months to create the props and backgrounds. Then I started animating using Adobe After Effects, which resulted in a production hell because I was worried about how the story arc would go. (Despite me not being good at organizing narratives.) I was very focused on trying to create quality designs that look almost like a video game. I wanted to tell my own experience as a clerk, and sometimes I wanted to be honest about my work life.
What kinds of challenges do you normally face working as a visual designer
in the past?
That question is a bit out of my reach, but I will answer it as possible. Everything, from mentally draining and dealing with people that let me down in the past….To be honest, I never worked as a visual designer other than doing it as a volunteer. Trying to get hired as an artist is tough, because there are thousands of other hordes that will beat you no matter how hard you try. It is truly competitive. I was also worried about whether my art isn’t standing out because of my lack of fun personality and of course, being a “woman.” Most of the time, I only did personal projects, which was stressful and time consuming. The real struggle is the sad truth about being an artist: “It doesn’t matter how technically talented you are, if you don’t create something that people want…” That includes a simple vs complex drawings or crude vs smooth animation. If your art doesn’t address real deep meaning…who cares.
How do you handle these challenges?
I stop comparing myself to others and see their work through inspiration. Yes, we all get jealous of other artists for their success, but that will only end up quitting our art and never starting over again. I went through a series of therapy due to my depression and anxiety, but no therapist ever mentions about using art as an emotional coping mechanism. But I did it anyway because studies show art and philosophy can ease out negative feelings and seek truth about themselves.
It seems like working as an MSA isn’t your ideal job, so what are your hopes for the future?
MSA, or medical support assistant is definitely not where I want to stay for a long time. Luckily, I got a different job that is less pressuring which is timekeeping. Despite not having real art jobs, my goal is to have one someday and have my studio after. Of course, in order to reach that goal comes a lot of hardships and sacrifice such as relationships. My greatest fear is we’re all aging until we get old and never reach our goal…Unless that goal was unrealistic and my ideals don’t match with the reality I’m approaching. All I can say is, be happy with what you have, and you will achieve something greater and unexpected.
Do you have any advice for creatives who wish to pursue their passion, especially during this uncertain time?
Please plan ahead, don’t let time pass you by. Working as an artist is a very competitive market. If this is what you love, then work consistently until it becomes your favorite hobby. However, if you want to be professional, then you’ll have to treat it as such. Don’t just spend time alone and work with your designs, you’ll need to find someone that can support you in the long run and go to special event gatherings. Since pandemic is lingering, I suggest starting off by making a portfolio website, creating a blogspot, and start building followers by constantly posting art online often and please interact with other people (not just artists) online to know that you’re supporting them. It’s all about consistency and well-being. I’m not a hot-shot artist, but this is what I been taught before.
Having faced discrimination myself in the past, Giezelle’s life-story truly resonates with me. If you’re an artist or designer, feel free to connect or collaborate with Giezelle.