Get to Know Jasmine Cisneros
Five Questions for Jasmine Cisneros '21, Set Dressing Technical Director Resident at PixarMegan Briggs | College of Arts & Media Aug 25, 2021
After graduating from the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) in spring 2021, Jasmine Cisneros landed a dream job with Pixar Studios as a Set Dressing Technical Director (TD) Resident. Cisneros learned about the College of Arts & Media (CAM) at CU Denver through friends from high school. Cisneros says her interests evolved once she started taking classes in CAM, leading her to pursue dual degrees in Illustration and 3D Graphics and Animation along with a minor in Creative Writing. During her college career, Cisneros gained experience working as a teacher assistant in CAM’s Digital Animation Center (DAC) and as a lab monitor. A Denver native, Cisneros plans to relocate to California as soon as the pandemic allows.
As far as working for Pixar goes, Cisneros says she loves the opportunity to work with other artists and that her co-workers are kind, encouraging, and helpful as she picks up and hones new skills. “I get to go to work and make art all day,” she says. “What could be more rewarding than that?”
1. Walk us through a typical day for you at Pixar. Is it all fun and games collaborating with other artists and then focusing on your individual projects, or are there other aspects to your day that may surprise us?
A typical day for me includes attending my morning meetings for my department, with the production designers, department leads, and my peers where we discuss where we are at, what we need to fix, and who is going to fix it. After that I start to work on the fixes I am assigned and I also review how my work looks in last night's renders and I come up with a plan for what needs to be fixed and how I'm going to approach it. Then I get to work on making objects and/or set dressing them into place. Throughout the day I am on Slack messaging my team and other departments asking or answering questions and keeping track of tasks that I am collaborating with other artists on. Later in the day artists from all departments review renders with the entire team making sure that everything is looking good and is on track. I say meetings, but the word doesn’t do them justice. Each time we meet it is very productive, extremely funny, and entertaining!
2. What role did CAM play in helping you secure your current position?
CAM provided an environment that allowed me to grow as an artist and a person. I was able to learn inside and outside of class how to promote myself as a professional artist. I learned from my teachers and self-study how to build a demo reel, cover letter, and resume. I learned from interacting with my teachers and peers how to interact with others in my field and how to network. Before I would apply to internships, I would have my professors look at my work and demo reels and give me feedback.
In CAM, I was taught how to use all the computer programs that I use now to do my job. As a Set Dressing TD Resident, the main software that I used is Autodesk Maya, so the courses at the DAC that have helped me the most in my career is the 3D Foundations course, the Hard-Surface Modeling course, the Character Creation course, and the Dynamic Simulation course. These courses taught me everything I need on the day to day.
3. What did you learn about yourself as you studied at CAM? Anything that surprised you?
It surprised me to learn that I could be outgoing when I needed to be. I have always struggled with interacting with others, but in order to get to the future I wanted, I had to learn to communicate with my peers, professors, upperclassmen. Along with my peers, I had to learn how to interact with professionals in the industry. I had to come out of my shell and ask people for advice, help, and feedback. With each interaction, I grew as an artist and a person.
4. What advice do you have for aspiring artists who are trying to decide between going to art school or teaching themselves through independent study?
Formal education and independent study are both really successful ways to learn how to make art. My advice for aspiring artists would be to keep in mind that art is a conversation. Whether you choose the path of self-study or art school, it is important that you are able to reach your audience and you are able to communicate with them. No matter what, art cannot be made in a bubble, so if you are self-studying, make sure you have a strong art community that you can lean on to help guide you in your journey. If you are in art school, make sure you don't keep to yourself and reach out to your teachers and peers. The only right way to learn art is the way that works for you.
5. How do you get into a creative state of mind? Are there certain rituals or practices you employ to get to a mental place where you can create?
I don't struggle to get into a creative state of mind. I feel like I am always there. The challenge for me is to do the regular everyday things, like cooking, cleaning, etc. If I ever get art block and I need some help, Pinterest and Instagram are platforms with a lot of art and amazing artists and seeing their work helps to inspire me to go out and make my own.