Jessica Love is a Lighting Artist at Luma based out of the Vancouver studio. She graduated from SCAD in 2018 with a BFA in Visual Effects and went on to work at Method Studios on films like Thor: Love and Thunder and Spongebob: Sponge on the Run before joining Luma in 2021 to work on Marvel Studios’ original collection of animated shorts I Am Groot. Last month, Variety announced her inclusion in their inaugural 10 Artisans to Watch list and invited her to attend a panel during the Savannah Film Festival on October 27th. The list of fellow artisans includes behind-the-scenes artists that are invaluable to this year’s best films and shows.
Get to know Jessica in this interview, where she tells us what inspired her to make the switch from studying graphic design to visual effects, what she loved most about working on I Am Groot, and more.
What inspired you to get into VFX & how did you get your start in the industry?
I discovered Visual Effects as a career opportunity while I was in university. I was in school studying Graphic Design and Painting, and I heard of a Visual Effects major through some friends of mine. I didn’t switch over until I went to see the film Big Hero 6 in theaters. There is a particular shot with a sunset towards the end that I thought was so beautiful, it almost looked like a painting. I decided I wanted my career to be working in lighting after that experience.
You recently completed work on I Am Groot at Luma. Can you tell us a bit about your contributions and what you loved most about working on that project?
I mainly worked as a lighting artist on the ‘Groot Takes a Bath’ and ‘Groot’s First Steps’ shorts. I think what I loved most about the project was that it was full CG animation. I’ve only ever worked on one other full CG film, so this was a fun change of pace for me. With lighting for animation, you can be more creative with light placements and colors, so it was exciting to have that extra little bit of artistic creativity.
What’s a dream project you’d want to work on?
If I got to work on Shrek 5 I would probably retire because that would be the peak of my career. Or anything in the Harry Potter universe would be extremely cool for me to work on.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring artist?
Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get an offer right away; keep pushing and make sure you ask for feedback on all of your work so you can constantly be improving. Try to train your artistic eye through alternate mediums as well. If you want to be a lighting artist, take up painting or photography as a hobby so that you can have a better understanding of the fundamentals of your craft.
When not working, what do you love to get up to?
I like to draw, paint, workout, and go on walks around Vancouver. I’ve been really into the game “Slay the Spire” recently. It’s a rogue-like card game for Switch that’s really addictive. I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time on that game.