Meet Sabrina Curry: VFX Artist Extraordinaire!
Motion Graphics and VFX artist Sabrina Curry has an incredibly dry and deadpan sense of humor, but you would never know that from her body of work — which is colorful and poppy. I interviewed her where she works at CollegeHumor, a digital and TV production company in West Hollywood.
“What I like about this company is that they are trying to be more diverse and bring in as many different people as they can, and it’s very refreshing to be a part of that,” she says. Refreshing is right, since the comedy production world, not to mention the VFX industry, is still majority male and/or white. Sabrina is the only person doing VFX for CollegeHumor’s many YouTube videos, whose channel has over 10 million subscribers. In her equal parts tech and art position, having that creative input in the videos each and every week is meaningful, and why Sabrina is our next Smartist!
I want to make that! How do I make that?!
Sabrina grew up in a cozy suburb outside of Sacramento. Despite coming from a family where going to grad school was the norm and business was the career path of choice, Sabrina said her parents have always been “110% supportive” of her as an artist. Her first love being film, she didn’t discover visual effects until high school. Curry says, “I saw some cool videos on YouTube and I thought ‘I want to make that! How do I make that?!’ I just started hunting down tutorials, sitting at my computer, and copying things that I liked on the internet.”
During college, Sabrina set aside visual effects temporarily, choosing instead to study graphic design — but she hit a wall. “I was a little discouraged because going through art school, it emphasizes the traditional aspect of art, and I wasn’t an artist. I couldn’t draw, I couldn’t paint. I went through a period where I thought maybe I should find something else to do,” she said.
Then, in the last semester of her last year of college, one teacher and one assignment turned it around. “We had this typography project, and I asked if I could do an animation instead of print. I did this Pixar style video, and everyone loved it. That was a new thing for me to have people notice my work”, she said, “This professor really inspired me to be the person that I am today. In the 11th hour, I figured out I had a skill, and I ran with it.”
Ever more serendipitous, shortly after deciding not to apply for grad school, someone found her online portfolio and invited her to come interview for a job at CollegeHumor. “I fortunately had some of my work up on Behance. I didn’t think it would land me a job,” she chuckled, “It’s been amazing. I’ve had the pleasure of working with so many people who have made me better at what I do.”
If I keep moving upwards I can open those doors for other women and I’m excited to have the opportunity to be that person, especially for women of color
She’s eager to keep improving her skills by working on personal projects during her off hours, especially animations. As far as long term goals, Sabrina says, “I’d like to be an art director for commercials. I think it would be great to lead a team and really go the distance with an idea.” But that’s not all. She’s already thinking about what she can do with her success. “It’s sad that there are not more [women] in this field and I feel like there should be. If I keep moving upwards I can open those doors for other women and I’m excited to have the opportunity to be that person, especially for women of color. That is one thing I hope I can help change.”