Hey, my name is Rachel (she/they) and I'm a queer maker,
DIYer, artist, and hacker living right here in sunny Los
I often describe myself as an okayist carpenter, excellent
painter, skilled puppet maker, resentful seamstress,
reasonable traditional sculptor, general CNC wizard,
dangerous electrical engineer, retired software developer,
exhausted project manager, beginner welder, fair molding and
casting, and other various miscellaneous.
In 2009, after 10+ years as a software developer, I took a
leap of faith and quit my video-game programming gig to go
back to school for fine art and stop-motion animation.
Rather than returning to college I sought out classes around
LA and created my own curriculum between local schools and
workshops. Through pragmatism, hard work, and my "don't be a
jerk" motto, I realized my dreams and found my way into
full-time work as a puppet fabricator in the stop-motion
industry. Once inside, I've continued to build my portfolio
of skills and work in various departments, including
painting, puppet fabrication, rapid prototyping (CNC
machines and 3D printing), set dressing, and prop
fabrication (to name a few).
I am grateful for all of the opportunities I have been given
and the incredible artists that I work with across many
imaginative studios here in Los Angeles.
Q&A WITH RACHEL
What type or artist are you?
My name is Rachel (she/they) and I am a lead painter and
puppet fabricator with 10+ years of professional
experience in the stop-motion animation industry. My
focus is on traditional painting, sculpting, 3D
modeling, and rapid prototyping, with end-to-end
technical skills to bring concept art into tangible
reality. My work is kinetic, highly detailed, tactile,
mechanical, organic, colorful, pop culture, surreal,
interactive, cozy, childlike, goofy, and playful.
What or who, inspires you and your art the
Stop-motion is a lifelong obsession and "special
interest" for me, and I am deeply inspired by my peers
and cohorts in the industry. It is a continuing honor to
work alongside such incredible artists who challenge,
inspire, and surprise me at every turn. I wish I could
narrow it down, but the list is ever-growing! I get lost
for HOURS every day just pursuing the hashtag
#stopmotionanimation on social media.
What do you hope people feel or think about when
enjoying your art?
Gosh, I've been so fortunate over the years to work on
shows that align with my values -- a sense of childlike
wonder, curiosity, appreciation of nature, humor,
playfulness, self-reflection, and personal growth -- I
hope those values shine through the work that I produce
and that each film finds its way a resonant audience.
What do you like best about Nova Colors?
OHMYGOSH so happy to fan-girl about this! Honestly, in
my 10+ years in production, I've had the experience of
working with almost every acrylic on the market (in the
US), and Nova paints are by far my favorite. I JUMPED at
this opportunity to sing their praises and share my
experience here because I've been a staunch supporter
from day one of trying them out. The colors are SO
vibrant, and the paint itself is highly pigmented in a
smooth and quality medium. This means a little goes a
long way, and that is SUPER IMPORTANT in my highly
detailed** work. They layer beautifully in washes and
can be thinned to flow easily through an airbrush
without compromising coverage, where other paints tend
to fall apart.
** I always have a pint of the Nova Acrylic Retarder
(299) on hand, which is a DREAM for detail work
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I've actually had the honor of visiting the Nova store
in LA in person many times back when I was living
locally in Mid City. Everyone I've met there was warm
and welcoming and just so freaking helpful!