From graffiti artist to story artist – Louis Gonzales, who started as a graffiti artist in the San Fernando Valley, has worked at Pixar Animation Studios since 2000. He takes on the role of story artist in the studio’s newest animated film “Brave.”

Working as a layout and story artist for Pixar Animation Studios over the last 12 years, Louis Gonzales has lent his artistic talent to a number of films including “Finding Nemo,” “Ratatouille,” and “The Incredibles.” As a story artist on “Brave,” Gonzales helped visualize the story of a princess who must break a curse cast on her family and kingdom.

Is it gratifying for you as a story artist to see the finished product when it looks a lot different than what you initially drew?

Yeah, it’s always good to see the film when it’s done, especially here at Pixar. We put a lot of work in at Pixar and everyone is really proud of it. Working as a story artist is considered pre-production, which is part of the planning stage. I haven’t been let down working here. I’m always proud of the movies we make.

How much research did you have to do on the country of Scotland before you started visualizing the setting for the film?

I’ve always felt it was very important to know your setting unless you’re talking about outer space or some kind of fairy land. I was lucky enough to be one of the first people with the film to go to Scotland. We were there for 10 days and soaked in as much of the culture and atmosphere as we could. We wanted to understand the country and the customs.

I read in your biography that you grew up doing graffiti art. Is that still something that interests you?

I still love it although I haven’t practiced it for a long time. It is part of the reason I’m here. Graffiti was an outlet to draw with like-minded friends. It was a big part of my upbringing. All of my friends would get together and do graffiti art. We encouraged each other to get better. It was like my own little art community since I didn’t go to art school.

Do you allow any of your graffiti to sneak into any of your drawings with Pixar?

(Laughs) I’d like to think my graffiti background is in all my art to a certain extent whether it is a direct representation or not. You don’t lose that. It’s something that will always be a part of me. But after all these years, I have evolved and grown.

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