Mandy | From advertising to paper artist
By Charlotte Jongejan
From an early age I remember loving arts and crafts, always making things. I grew up in Liverpool and left to London to study Graphic Design, specialising in advertising.
I started looking outside the UK for job opportunities and found one at a renowned advertising agency in Amsterdam. I jumped at the chance and ended up working as an art director at different agencies, learning a lot about the craft and the industry.
5 THINGS ABOUT
PAPER ANIMATION ARTIST | BOAT OWNER | SELF-TAUGHT PROGRAMMER | EARLY RISER | PILATES
LEAP OF FAITH
In traditional advertising, print, TV and online advertising are largely separated but the last decade there has been a shift to a more integrated approach, which is how I like to work. I am very hands-on and stay involved from concept to production. So I decided to start animating my art myself. My first solo project was an animated film about moving into an Amsterdam canal house called The Move. I loved the whole process; the precision of the set build, the creativity and mechanics of the animation. The response to the film was really positive, that’s how it all began.
Through my network in the advertising industry I could keep taking on projects as a freelance art director. And to pay all the bills at the end of the month I had a job in a bar on the side.
Meanwhile, I was investing as much of my time as I could in my own projects. I was working crazy hours and it could get quite lonely, but I was doing what I loved.
Once my portfolio had a good mix of animation, film and illustration, I got involved in a campaign for a big toilet paper brand, which turned out to be really successful. Who knew toilet paper would be my big break!
I made the scary decision to quit my bar job, which at the time was my steady income. I just had to free up my time and my mind to work on my art, there was no other way.
THE TOUGH TIMES
Establishing your identity as an artist is difficult. People want to be able to describe you and your work in one word, while I still haven’t really figured out who or what I am! I do know I am capable of a lot of different art forms, which means I can work for many different clients and projects.
It can be hard to separate your private and personal life. When things aren’t going well in one, it affects the other. I try very consciously to have a positive attitude, towards myself and my environment, it works!
In the beginning I supplemented my income by working in a bar and as a hostess. And I took on all the work I could get, from freelance art direction in advertising to designing set builds and animation sequences.
I used to worry about money constantly but as the workflow evened out I could relax more. Now, I always have money saved up to last me at least 3 months just in case.
5 INSIDER TIPS
Get up early and keep structure in your days.
Networking is very important, you can meet people that will help you further in your career anywhere, anytime.
Be proactive and always jot down your ideas.
Be confident and positive – to yourself and also to the outside world.
Stay in touch and close to your friends, you’ll need them.
GET IN TOUCH WITH MANDY