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Amanda Bonaiuto


“Without getting lost I don't know if I'd ever get anything done. I recently deleted instagram for a bit because I felt like it was preventing me from getting lost, or getting 'bored' and feeling really in my own head.”


Amanda Bonaiuto’s portfolio will take you through worlds of adventure, childhood nostalgia, and the confusion of present day “adulting.” Her animations are dreamlike; filled with plants, animals, and characters so familiar that you’ll have swore you came across yourself. The hand-drawn looks have us remembering the cartoons we used to watch and love as kids. We had the pleasure of speaking with Amanda on a few topics such as her upbringing, how she got into animating, where she finds inspiration, and the importance of being bored.


Where are you from?How does your upbringing influence your work?
I'm from Massachusetts! My whole family lives there; a huge family with lots of extended relatives. I grew up surrounded by cousins, as well as a brother and sister. I'm the middle child and I always found myself acting like the quiet, calm, and collected kid of the bunch. I didn't talk much because I was so, so painfully shy. My upbringing influences my work a bunch, I make work directly tied to my childhood and experiences, even if I'm not meaning to. I feel like it's all very present, the way we react to the world has so much to do with how we were raised and how we understood our surroundings as kids.

What are your hobbies?
I really like riding my bike and taking long walks/hiking, talking to my plants when I wake up in the morning, I like to teach animation, drawing/painting and writing in my studio. I recently started riding mopeds around Brooklyn with friends. It's really opened the city up in a huge way to different foods/flavors and places I wouldn't normally go.

A human to bird interface becomes a source of happiness for no reason.

How did you get into animating?
I was always in the art room in high school making lots of paintings and would stay there long after the school day ended to keep making stuff. I was inspired to try animation when one of my teachers showed me films by The Brother's Quay. My mind was blown, I had never seen anything like that and it opened up my brain in a huge way. I made two experimental animations in high school using different techniques. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was definitely interested. I just knew I wanted to be an artist!

We love all the characters that appear in your work, are these people you know? Do you find yourself people watching for characters?
I feel like they might all just be different versions of myself, haha. I use myself as a reference for character movement a lot, so I feel like I see myself in the characters, not necessarily in how they look but in how they decide their actions. I definitely people watch! I pay a lot of attention to hairdo's, how people move through space, faces and hands, especially hands.

Do you find that you have a few major sources of inspiration or is it a combination of everything around you?
Man, I get so inspired by fine art and films, live action and animated. If I'm feeling a little stuck, going to a gallery or a museum and looking at painting or sculpture really helps me. I often don't look at animation while I'm working, but sometimes I go down wormholes and get really obsessed with one piece of animation and watch it over and over for inspiration. In my commission work I'm often working with music, and the music plays a huge role in the visuals and discovering narratives.
What is your favorite part of the process when creating a new video?
I have three favorite parts - When the ideas feel boundless and new, when I've realized a character and feel like I understand what they're thinking and how they approach their world, and when it's coming together at the end and I feel like it's actually working, haha.

In a desolate truck stop bar, filled with animals a truck driver learns to love his fears and desires.

What is your favorite part of the process when creating a new video?
I have three favorite parts - When the ideas feel boundless and new, when I've realized a character and feel like I understand what they're thinking and how they approach their world, and when it's coming together at the end and I feel like it's actually working, haha.

How do you feel about creativity and how it affects your daily life?
I mean, I can feel it when I don't feel creative. The day/world feels different and less interactive. I try to keep my eyes and ears open, sometimes it's really hard and sometimes it's a flood :)

With Gone Missing we're highlighting people who "get lost" in their passions. Is this something you can relate to and if so how?
Definitely. Without getting lost I don't know if I'd ever get anything done. I recently deleted instagram for a bit (tbd) because I felt like it was preventing me from getting lost, or getting 'bored' and feeling really in my own head. I like to spend a while staring at a blank wall thinking before I start working on something, and it's hard to do that with an endless feed at your fingie tips.

Where are you based now? Have you been working on anything exciting recently?
I seem to be straddling Los Angeles and Brooklyn. I'm teaching at The New School and Pratt Institute right now, and working on several commissions. Currently making a music video, working on some animation for a live action short film, and animating for a short documentary about plants. I rented a studio while I'm here and that's been pretty life changing. I'm also about to start pre-production on a new short film called CONFETTI and it's all I can think about.




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