Creator Spotlight with Artist/Animator Xaviera López

Xaviera Lopez

This week we’d like to introduce you to artist and animator Xaviera López. You can follow Xaviera on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

1. What was the inspiration behind becoming a creator? What do you enjoy most about the creative process?

I have wanted to be an artist ever since I can remember. I liked all forms of art, but I think I chose drawing because of its efficacy, simplicity and the independence it gave me. Becoming a creator means just making something almost everyday for ever. It’s a commitment, not always fun or inspired but definitely fulfilling. For the most part, it’s dedicating a certain amount of time daily to a craft or a project and sometimes magic happens.

I think of the work as a conversation with the original idea. It speaks to me, it changes, it lets me know what it needs, and it always ends up being something slightly different than what I initially thought. This process of turning ideas into tangible things is the most interesting thing I can think of doing with my time.

2. Can you take us through your creative process? How long does it take? Does everything you produce make money?

It always starts with my journals and sketchbooks, or a photo I casually see somewhere. What I do when making animations is a weird process that doesn’t make sense to more technical people. I juggle between softwares and apps. I always draw the main idea in my sketchbook and plan, figure out a way to do it. Then I record what I need. I use myself as a model because I’m talking about personal subjects. It’s also very easy to direct myself, repeat or modify the actions as much as I need to. Then I rotoscope some of the videos (procreate, photoshop), and then I draw the in betweens or free 2d animation. Sometimes I go back to After Effects, make something else like a zoom or motion correction, or add new elements, and go back to drawing. I used to work with pen and paper but I realized I was using a big amount of paper, felt bad for trees and switched to digital mainly. It takes me around a week to finish 5 to 10 seconds of animation as everything is hand drawn. I separate personal and client work. The personal work I do is for my own pleasure, and I don’t expect anything in return. Of course I like when people resonate with what I make, but the reward for me is the work itself. Because of this resonance, I often get commissions, and with that money I support myself and my creative practice. Sometimes I license my personal work as well. That has been my “business model” until now. I love to work on commissions and have learnt a lot, but now I would like to do more and more personal work, life is too short!

3. What do you think is the biggest misconception about your line of work?

That my work is easy to do, or that it’s made with an app. That it’s egocentric, or that because I am a Latina woman everything I make is feminine, or race-related. In reality, everything I make takes hard slow work, and it’s about the invisible, the subtle. It is about myself, but in a way I see it as the opposite of a selfie or showing off.

4. When did you first become aware of copyright, and why?

With my first animation going viral. It was everywhere, sometimes with different sounds, video effects, etc. People on my social channels were posting it without knowing it was mine. And I get it, it’s the internet, and it’s good to be seen. The problem is when we completely lose authorship due to someone using or posting my work without consent, because as artists we put a lot of time and energy into each one of our pieces. So I registered my work and got a lawyer.

5. Have you experienced copyright infringement and, if so, how has it affected you personally and financially?

It is boring to fill out and submit copyright infringement forms almost every day, but at the same time I am happy to have tools to protect my work. I wouldn’t say that infringement has affected me, but it is certainly not pleasant. There’s a lot of me invested into these pieces. I make them mainly for enjoyment and reflection, and if anyone had to make a profit from them, it would certainly be me.

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