Sebastian Curi

Sebastian Curi Illustrator Freelance Founders

Sebastian Curi is an Argentinian illustrator and animator based in Los Angeles. He creates colorful characters using big bold shapes and strong lines. Originally an animator, Seb spent around ten years in the animation industry before switching disciplines to focus on illustrative work. His experience allowed him to develop a unique style of illustration, centering around quirky figures who live in their own super stylised universe. Thanks to his previous experience, they just so happen to animate beautifully too.

First Question: Do you consider yourself a freelancer or a founder?

I would say a founder? Freelance for me has this connotation of working for somebody else that is never quite attractive. I like when I can collaborate and we can benefit of the work we can do together.

Can you tell us how you got into a career in animation?

It was a long sequence of events but I think it all started with my interest on working on something creative. I had different jobs when I was studying but it took me some time to do something fun and related to what I was into. I studied post production so working on video was something expected. I started as an assistant video editor and somedays I would have to work small animations here and there. Those small animations became my favorite part of the job and little by little I changed jobs until I got a position as an animator on a nice animation studio called Plenty.

What made you make the switch to illustration? Do you still practice both?

I switched to illustration after 12 years of working in the animation industry. For me, it is all about freedom and ownership. Illustration lets me create work that I feel engaged with, and that I care for. I just fell in love with design and illustration when I came to Los Angeles and started to meet so many illustrators doing cool stuff. I enjoy being able to create a space for my work and grow from there. Illustration has allowed me to do that.

I still practice animation here and there. Sometimes for commercial projects. And other times, ideas are just a better fit in movement. Animation is beautiful and kind of magical at the same time, and I don't want to loose that. But as a craft, it is very time consuming and it can be very demanding. I like my lifestyle to have a slower pace.

We love your style; it feels very original. How did you develop it?

In 2017, I started drawing just for fun. I don't consider myself as a drawer, and before this I never drew. Maybe as a kid, but nothing serious. I found something that was related to graphic design but flexible enough to work with soft boundaries. It started very primitive with shapes that I would repeat, blocky piles that would create an abstract person, a mix of bright colors that I would like so much that I would translated to other little experiments.

I don't think of it as something original though. I see my work as a merge of all the things I remember and the artists I follow. Like a collage or a distorted version of something else. It's always an idea or a memory that meets another one and it creates a visual idea or sketch.

You've won awards, worked for incredible clients, and have secured representation. Can you share more about how you've been able to achieve your goals?

For me is all about learning and keeping it fun.

I believe we are able to make changes as many times as we want to. So I studied and dropped three different degrees; journalism, post-production, and graphic design. In that order. And my jobs were the same, I worked at a ton of studios and production companies in different parts of the world and with all type of positions.

To experiment and let our curiosity lead is better that sticking to a salary or a comfortable position. In the long run, I feel people who take risks create resilience. And if you can enjoy the everyday then you are all set. The sum of all those small decisions make a career.

In the long run, I feel people who take risks create resilience.

What has been the highlight of your career thus far?

For sure, I would say to be able to get home and cook lunch with my wife everyday. I really care about my lifestyle and this is the only job that gave me time to see friends, exercise, do personal stuff, and also work on things that are meaningful to me.

When you're constantly creating, how do you stay inspired and motivated?

I have my ups and downs like everyone. I try to be efficient and execute as well and as fast as I can when I have something good going on. But it is never a situation when I'm constantly creating.

I work a ton so I tried to be critic of the production, and when something doesn't look right, I can let it go. To be motivated is something that has changed over time. I'm a very very passionate guy, so at the beginning, it was just about sharing a work environment with talented people.

Then it could be a challenging project, a big brand or client, a huge responsibility, or even an amazing pay. Nowadays, it is more about trying to find interesting stuff to work on. Making my work evolve. Doing the same things in different ways. Like painting with acrylics or drawing with markers on big paper sheets. That change keeps it fun for me and that is all that I need.

What advice do you have for creative people who want to pursue their passion as a career?

I would say, start now, and try to find people better than you to work with. And when you are like them, leave and do it again with other people. Your passion is going to change with time, so evolve with that. There is nothing wrong with working different positions and nothing wrong with trying to find something that feels right. Sometimes the process can be hard, so health first.