Isabel Bolivar   02 October 2018

Andrés Jaramillo is a creative director specialising in animation, motion graphics and VFX for commercials and music videos.

Born in Colombia, he completed his undergraduate degree as an international student at the Miami University of Art and Design. Then, thanks to his skill and creativity, an American production company offered him the opportunity to work in Los Angeles on a talent visa. Since then, he’s really made a name for himself.

He opened his own design studio with other creatives providing quality visual content for clients such as Disney, Tinder or Marvel. Recently, he’s also participated in the production of music videos. One of them, "The Hamilton Mixtape: Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)’, won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Video with a message.

It was a great pleasure to interview him and find out how he found success in such a competitive market and what he thinks about life as an immigrant.

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What does your heritage mean to you?

My heritage is everything to me. It’s the essence of a person - what makes you different and you and your work stand out. It makes you unique. And if you live abroad and have a different background and culture to the people around you - it gives you that extra special something -.

Why did you move to Los Angeles?

I moved to Los Angeles with a little bit of luck. It was always my dream city, a place where I wanted to work. However, I wasn’t very hopeful about living in the United States because of the complicated visa formalities.

But when I was in Canada, I received a call from a production company called 3ROUNDBURST. They offered me a job with them in California on a talent visa. The best thing here (besides the weather and beaches) is that it’s the perfect environment for someone who wants to work in the entertainment industry. There are plenty of talented people to learn from and the opportunities to improve every day.

"Living abroad gives you that special ‘extra’. Having a different background and culture makes you and your work stand out."

What do you think the benefits and challenges of being an immigrant in the United States are?

I understand why some people think that being an immigrant is a bad thing. And why some see it as more of a challenge than anything else. Obtaining a visa or a green card is difficult.
But I’ve been very fortunate as I didn’t leave my country because I had to. Moving to the United States was always a question of my professional growth.

So to me, being an immigrant is a good thing. There’s a lot of paperwork and legalities to get through, but in the end, that’s what helps you grow as an artist and a person. Those obstacles make you stronger and help you learn to overcome the small things in life. It gives you a different perspective and teaches you to overcome difficulties.

Do you have clients back in Colombia, or only in the United States?

I have projects in both countries, but lately more in the US. As I live in the United States, it’s the most accessible market for me. It is more challenging to work with foreign clients due to costs.

Thanks to my background I understand the mindset of the Latin American market and its processes. I am always trying to create opportunities for artists from other countries (especially from Colombia) to work here.

"I always try to create opportunities for foreign artists (especially from Colombia) to work in the United States."

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What inspired your career?

Cartoons. Besides school and playing, I spent most of my spare time in my childhood watching cartoons and drawing.

What is your most significant professional accomplishment?

Working with people and companies that I admired since I was a kid. It was incredible to receive emails from Disney, Marvel, Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network. Something I’ve also enjoyed recently is working on music videos - being able to participate in the shoot and learning how everything works in this industry.

How did you become successful in such a competitive market?

I’ve always let my work speak for me. I’ve tried to do the best job I can, to be honest, and never go over someone else’s head. That has opened doors for me. If you’re a good artist and a good person, that’s your letter of recommendation. It doesn’t matter where you come from.

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And speaking of Colombia....

 

..do you still send money there?

Yes, I send money to Colombia. One of the reasons is to pay for my bills and expenses which I still have there. The second reason why I send money is to support my family. I also pay for the work of Colombian artists and designers that I cooperate with. With this said, I send money at least once a month.

How far would $100 go in Colombia?

Prices are getting higher and higher over there, but I think that $100 could buy ten days’ worth of groceries for a family of three.

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