Spotlight: Angelica Russell
Her given name is Angelica Russell, but most people that know her, know her as Jelly! Jelly graduated with a BFA in 2D Animation from the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in December 2021. After a few months of working, and then a month long trek across Europe, Jelly moved to Los Angeles with her boyfriend and angry cat Razzle to pursue a career in the wonderful world of animation. Her work has been featured on Warner Brothers "Animaniacs," Dreamworks TV "Harvey Stret Kids," and Nickelodeon "Shimmer and Shine." Check her on Instagram here!
A Q&A with Angelica about the Viva LA Experience
How has living in LA influenced your artistic style and the way in which you express yourself? Has LA influenced your choice of materials, media or message?
After living in LA for a few years, I got into gardening. I do not know if it was living here, or if it was simply my natural inclination, but it is a way of expression I had not considered before my time here, but I have fallen in love with. I'm not the best, but it makes me happy, and I think that's what's important.
I don’t know if LA influences me or if I want to influence it. I want to see more gardens and more wildlife and pollinator friendly spaces in the city. They are good not only for the planet, but for us too. Enjoying nature is really good for stress management. What they say about stopping to smell the roses… it’s true. Plant some native wildflowers and smell those too!
What aspects of living in LA do you most appreciate? Which do you find most challenging?
I like that you can grow things here all throughout the year outside, and the greenery tucked into little neighborhoods. When people think of LA, many think of all of the concrete and the glamour. But I’ve always found myself attracted to the little patches of nature and greenery in people’s yards. I used to call LA an alien landscape because the plants here were so odd and fascinating to me.
What is challenging, however, is the cost of living. Rent is unbelievably expensive. I don’t mind the traffic or the summer heat. But feeling like I cannot afford many of the places I’d like to live is a huge challenge, and it’s one that I know I’m not alone in facing.
How has your art helped you grow as a person?
Growing up, I was never one for words. If I needed to express something, it was usually through art. For example, I really want to let people know about how LA can be home to so many plants and wildlife. It’s actually how I chose what to paint for my Viva LA piece. It is a tribute to some of the wildflowers and the pollinators that are native to southern California. There’s black sage, California poppies, and California brittlebush. And it features pollinators like Allen’s Hummingbirds, Bumblebees, and even green sweat bees (kinda gross I know, but look them up, they look like jewels!!). All of these amazing plants and animals are locals! And there are so many more that I wish I could have included!
What advice would you give kids growing up today who love creativity but may not be exposed to art?
My advice to any kids out there interested in art is, do what makes you happy. If you want to draw, then draw. If you want to paint, sculpt, craft, make music, or garden (yes, even gardening) it’s all art. Art is just a way to express yourself, a paint brush is just one tool of many. Find what makes you happy and do it just for that reason. If you really want to learn something, many people online are kind enough to share what they know on the internet. It’s awesome!
If you could have one big wish come true for Los Angeles of the future, what would it be?
It’s very hard to pick just one thing, but I hope that housing becomes affordable so more people have time to live and enjoy the city and not just work to make ends meet. That would be incredibly nice for everyone. And more gardens in those affordable homes and apartments.