– This is the voice of the Generation Y! – the film critics shouted. – It is the statement of the whole generation! If you miss the film you’ll miss the Future!
For the sakes of my life I didn’t want to miss The Future. I went to see it. I liked it. Cute, honest. Great cinematography for the small budget. But was it the Voice Of The Generation? If you have rich artsy parents with a huge fancy loft in Tribeca and you have spare $20 000 to invest in your first feature film then I guess it is your voice. The representatives of the Generation Y that I have met deal with different problems in very different settings.
The Generation Y I know is hardworking, focussed, self reliant. Yes, they have big dreams and they might be selfish in pursuing those dreams. But they work near the edge of a sawmill blade. The Generation X likes to point out that the newcomers, the Ys, would never have the same resources or the same opportunities as the Baby Boomers had. They would be hit with the joblessness, hopelessness, lack of funds. In short, the Generation Y would have to clean up after the Baby Boomers and Generation X.
Not so fast. Although a lot representatives of Generation Y are part of Occupy Wall Street movement voicing the opinions and demands of the young, there is the other part that is quietly and privately trying to make the best of the cards dealt to them. Before you know, Generation Y is creating opportunities for us, the Xs.
– She is a great worker, – he said. – Nothing is too difficult for her. Photoshop? After Effects? She can do them in her sleep. Rashidah would thrive in a creative team.
– My studio might be too cold for her, – I fretted. Great workers always come with great conditions.
– She is not spoiled. She wants to work.
Rashidah joined the team and now brightens our workday with her cheerfulness. There is no problem she cannot fix, there are no setbacks that can hold her back. Not even my questions.
Q: Animation is a very particular form of self expression. It infuses storytelling with art, and art with movement and a narrative of some sort. What exactly attracted you to animation in the very beginning and if that attraction stayed the same over the years?
I think the thing that has attracted me to animation all stems from being a kid. I remember becoming interested after seeing “The Lion King” in theaters for the first time. Since then its sparked something in me. Watching behind the scene’s specials of Tarzan on TV and seeing how the animator created the character I’ve been hooked and knew it was something I wanted to eventually do when I got older. It stayed the same until I made it to college.
Q: I have noticed that compared to your peers you are well informed on political events in this country, although you don’t necessarily express your opinion. Should politics reflect in their art? Do politics have place in art?
Art wouldn’t be art without politics would it? It gives people inspiration to create a piece of work in any medium to express their opinion in what’s going on in the world.
Q: An artist, when creating a new piece, almost always enters an uncharted territory. It is thrilling but also frightening, like looking for a light switch in a completing dark strange room. Artist’s life has the same feel- we never know what is around the corner, there is no job security or an income certainty, no outside structure. How do you feel with the fear of unknown in your life and in your art?
After graduating from school almost two years ago I had to face the fear of the unknown. After loosing a job l had lined up after graduation, due to downsizing of the company, trying to find any kind of work was a huge struggle. The jobs I did have I’ve enjoyed and learned a lot from, but the thought of not knowing how long it will take to find the next gig was always stressful. Working in this type of industry has its ups and downs. I look at this way, at least I know I can never get bored, using the unknown as inspiration to keep going.
Q: Are there any advantages or disadvantages of being a woman artist?
From my point of view there is no difference between being a woman artist and a man artist. At least I haven’t come across any of them.
Q: How does being an African American define your art?
I don’t really think being African American defines my art. When I create art I’m usually open minded about other races and cultures. I create something that focuses on the story I want to tell for that moment.
Q: What is your ambition? What do you want you achieve?
My ambition is probably similar to other animators/ illustrators out there. It’s just to make work that can get shown in front of an audience. I want to one day work on and create something that can inspire future artist/animators the same way I was inspired.
That was Rashidah’s self portrait. But here’s how a photo camera sees Rashidah: