Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Queen Gigi

I'm very fortunate to work with a family of talented folks who inspire the hell out of me every day. From the veteran character artists who have seen and done it all, to the designers on my team who immediately took me under their wing and taught me so much of what I now know, to the fresh energy and ridiculously advanced skill of the young interns - there's rarely a day that goes by when I don't learn something new and exciting from them. All of the people I admire at work have not only the amazing technical skill but a love for what they do every day, all while being 100% humble. It really is a quite infectious environment. Not only do we have the fortune of working with a surplus of creative talent, but we are surrounded and supported by awesome project managers who make sure we're organized and on schedule. Frankly, they also keep us from losing our minds when deadlines, meetings, and requests pile up.

After all these years at Disney, I'm finding that inspiration not only comes from the artists and designers (or creatives as we call 'em), but from all the other folks who surround us and keep us in line. I guess I'm just in awe of anyone who is just flat out unbelievable at whatever they do, no matter the skill or profession. The 'queen' in the playing card above is the definition of one of those people. That's Gigi, our Project Manager for the last 3 years. To say that she did an amazing job in that span of time would be an understatement. Not only did she do what PM's do best and solved all of our problems at work but she did the same in our lives as well. Her door was always open if you felt like venting, laughing, or in my case, telling dirty jokes and annoying the hell outta her. What she had to deal with on a daily basis - from juggling projects, to dealing with all the other groups in and out of the company, to making sure we were sane at work and in life was truly inspiring to watch. I know that the example she set definitely rubbed off on a lot of us. Eventually, I think we wore her out with our drama and she has since moved up to Pixar. Seeing as how we can be a bunch of babies every now and then, I really don't blame her, but in the end, we're all lucky to have had her for as long as we did. Not many people like her come through life that often.

Ok, about the card - Gigi was nice enough to lend us her house to use as our poker hall. Even though she didn't play, she still ran the show and kicked us out when we got annoying enough. She has a total of 3 kids - well, one real kid and two corgis who are perched in each arm. Gigi's drink of choice is a Cadillac Margarita (and lots of 'em), hence the crazy double fist action. The card, which is the size of an actual playing card, was her going-away gift from me. I also included a letter with all the dirty jokes I forgot to say just for good measure. The cool thing is, we still get to see her up at Pixar every now and then. I've already got a few new jokes up my sleeve for the next time we meet!



Eric-the human talent sponge

You've produced an amazing body of work. I hope the studio can find someone as talented as Gigi to keep your butt in line. Ever since I saw your Ratatouille concepts I've been a big fan.

Keep it comin'.

IAN said...

Your work has always been an inspiration to me. But it's awesome to hear you yourself are inspired by others. Great story.

Whitney Pollett said...

What a sweetheart you are!!
We are all very lucky to have you too Mr. Tan!

Bianca Beneduci said...

Trully inspiring. Thanks for sharing your stories and your work with us!
Keep it coming. I'm a huge fan!

Regan said...

Beautiful work. rock it out all the time. Keep it up. -- HOT PARTS.

Anonymous said...

Hi Eric - We've never met but Gigi forwarded the link to your blog. I just wanted to let you know that I love your work - the Queen of Hearts card is genius - and share your love of the Geeg. Not only have I also worked with Gigi but she is my closest friend (and godmother to my son Walker, your biggest fan!). I know you will miss her but I know she holds you close in her heart. All the best and I look forward to meeting you one day. - Michele Baggett

Unknown said...

Hey Eric. Beautiful work. My name is Uriaha Foust and I'm an art director. I'm wondering if you freelance? I'd love to talk to you about a job I'm working on right now.

my email is:

Please let me know.


Stacey Aoyama said...

aw, the Gigi card...that's great. It sounds like you have lots of good memories together! Now who will you tell your dirty jokes to? Hard to find a cool girl like Gigi who not only laughed at your jokes, she didn't report you to HR!
:) I'm sure she misses you!

Tanner said...

Thanks for all the compliments everyone! I always like to add some commentary to explain each piece i post and I found myself typing like crazy and finding it tough to stop. That's just a credit to how much the Queen there means to us.

DW- They already have put someone in place who kicks my butt even harder. We call her Tomato.

Ian- Yeah, I've always been inspired by everyone around me who excels at what they do and does it with the utmost humility. And it's definitely humbling to me that I inspire you or anyone at all.

WP- You're the 1st one that came to mind when I described the ridiculously advanced talent of the interns.

Thanks Bianca, Ray-gun, and Uriaha

Michelle- Geeg has spoken so highly about you. And i miss the days at work when Walker was around to be my formidable opponent at ping pong and fooseball.

Stace- Uh, all my 'dirty' jokes pale in comparison to all the ones you've told me. HR was already alerted that you are back on Disney property ;) Run!!

Vince M said...

I love it!

Dorota said...

Eric - you are one of the most talented and humble artists I know. We are so lucky to have you here.
I love the Gigi card!!!!

Tanner said...

Thanks Vince and Dorota! I appreciate your comments!

Gigi Duenas - I don't know what hole you crawled out of, but you better slither the hell back in it before I take gum basket to your jaw! WHACK!!!