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Lemonade, Paprika, and Virtual Reality: An Interview with Priscilla Wong
Priscilla Wong is a visual development artist for DreamWorks Animation. She is a master of transcending mediums, from digital art to painting to creating fantasy creatures made of cloth and other textured materials. I spoke with her about the role of technology in her work, her predictions for virtual reality’s role in her field, independent distribution, and being a woman a creative field. All the art featured is courtesy of Priscilla, and you can find more of her work on her blog, her Tumblr, and her Instagram. You’ll also find her visual influence on the Trolls movie, set to release this November.
How would you describe your artistic style?
It’s like lemonade with a dash of paprika. I like using real materials, like fabric, and unconventional materials. I think part of that comes from my love for fashion. I love Project Runway. I like different disciplines within art and design: I love graphic design, I’m in animation, I love fashion and industrial design. I try to bring as much of those influences together as possible because I think it makes a unique look and makes it universally appealing. It has a sophisticated mix to it, I feel. What I mean by lemonade with a dash of paprika is that I like things to be fresh but also a little dramatic, a little spicy. I got that from loving Diana Vreeland. She’s a fashion icon and she liked to challenge norms. She pushed aesthetics along from the 20s to the 60s. So much happened during that time and I think a lot of that has to do with her.
What does being a visual development artist entail?
It really depends on the job. I’m very much of a purist, and I look at it as composing a pictorial symphony— that means figuring out design language, what shapes, proportions, color and textural quality. All the visual elements should feel harmonic and very specific to the story on an emotional level. You’re not supposed to notice it. You might think “that’s really pleasing,” or “that’s really beautiful,” but you’re always supposed to think of and be with the story in the film, book, comic or whatever.
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