Interview with Artist & Animator Xaviera López
Meet Chilean artist and animator, Xaviera López. She has stretched the limited possibilities of short format videos through meticulous hard work and visual flair, producing linear animations of simplified self-portraits inspired by her personal inner influence. As a former Art Director and Vine influencer, Xaviera has proven the sky is truly the limit for her art.
We caught up with this talented lady, who was kind enough to answer questions about her journey and what’s to come.
When did you decide to devote yourself to your art? What lead to that decision, and where did that decision lead you?
First of all, thanks so much for having me!
I knew I wanted to be an artist since I was a child. Art has always been what inspires me, what I want to do and what I want to be good at. Devotion to me is a mix between love and determination, a word that comes from religion, so I guess I am devoted to art. There was no specific moment or a conscious decision, it’s been like this since I have memories. At the beginning it was pure love and passion, and I decided to become an artist despite my own fears, insecurities, and what everybody tells you (this is not a safe path, you’re not going to make it, etc.) As I’m growing it has turned into a more mature relationship where I take care of myself and my work in a consistent way. It feels like gardening. This last year I decided to travel around and see some of the artworks that shaped me in flesh and blood and it’s been quite an experience because in Chile all I had were books. These days you can find me crying in museums. Overall, art has been very healing. I’m grateful and willing to continue for the rest of my life, I can’t wait to see what I’ll be doing as an old woman.
What and who nourish/inspire your creativity?
There are some very practical aspects to it: I take care of myself, I do sports, eat well, get enough sleep, I do pleasurable things. I believe that you have to do this if you want to produce something of quality, whatever it is. I don’t believe at all in the myth of the tormented artist. I read a lot, watch lots of movies, go to every exhibition I can, I go to nature, I meditate.
I go to therapy once a week. This has been really important because most of my work crystallizes moments that feel important in my personal growth and the way I relate to the world. Therapy is not always pleasant but it is such a source of inspiration for me.
Can you talk us through your creative process?
I would say my work is a mix between my inner world and cultural references. I have a journal since I was 13 years old. I write without any filter so it’s something I do only for myself. I describe my dreams, thoughts and feelings with details and make doodles to explain certain things. Sometimes I’m sitting at my desk writing and doodling, and while doing this an image comes so I figure out a way to make it a real thing. Other times, I’m listening to a podcast or reading a book and there’s an idea that resonates or that makes me remember a painting I saw. Then I have to draw a lot, all my work is hand drawn at 15 frames per second so I take about a week to finish a few seconds of animation. There’s always the initial idea, a vague image floating around, and the end result, which is like a strange twin of the original idea.
What attracts you to drawing & animation over other mediums?
Drawing is a way of thinking and a tool for communication with others. Abstract thought is difficult for me, so everything gets easier to understand when there is some sort of graphic to explain it. It is also the simplest thing to do, you can find pen and paper pretty much everywhere and if you can’t, you can still draw with a stick on the sand. If you practice enough, you can make real what’s inside of your brain which I find exciting. Animation is the next step, it’s the magical moment when drawings have a life of their own.
Your work is mostly black and white. Which I love! Is this a personal preference or is there a certain significance behind this color scheme?
Thank you! I think most of my choices come from growing up in a place where I had to be resourceful. It is all about simplifying things as much as possible while maintaining expression, do as much as I can with a minimum of elements. I also love that it’s timeless, clean, elegant and universal, but I want to start experimenting not only with colors but other techniques too. We’ll see what happens.
How do you choose the subject of your work?
Most of my work includes self portraits. It makes sense because I am talking about my personal experiences, but it’s also really comfortable and easy to direct myself and get what I want. The subject comes quite naturally, as it is an ongoing moving comic about what feels important in an honest way.
Do you ever experience creative blocks? If so, how do you overcome them?
Of course! I have these periods where I work many hours a day for weeks and then my brain feels empty and my hand hurts. So I go away and do something completely unrelated (like going to a trampoline park). I come back to my work after a few days and it’s better. I am also writing down ideas constantly so I have a bucket list for those moments.
Congratulations on your impressive client list! I love the animation you did for Starbucks. What project are you most proud of?
Thank you! All of them are very dear to me, I still can’t believe I get to do what I do for a living. I’ve had so many great opportunities but most importantly I’ve had creative freedom. I love to make branded work because it’s always a challenge subject wise and an interesting exercise creatively.
Do you have any advice for aspiring female artist and entrepreneurs?
Go for it! Be stubborn, be honest, be brave, learn to enjoy the process and the rest will come.
What is your interpretation of a Raw Femme?
A woman that is honest and authentic, someone that accepts both her light and dark sides. Someone that is willing to be herself just as she is, and by doing this she embraces and supports others.