Hope Sincere is a first Gen Haitian American Visual Effects and Motion Graphics Artist, specializing in short form storytelling. She loves sweets, daydreaming, and sappy love songs. She currently resides in LA making all kinds of GIFs for GIPHY, doing something outdoorsy, or forgetting to turn the oven on for dinner.
Conducting Hope’s interview is GIPHY’s very own Mena Gonzalez. Mena is a Video Editor, Motion Designer and Cat Mom. Currently, her bunker is located in Los Angeles where she works for GIPHY. Her work primarily consists of short-form, branded content made for social media platforms.
Mena: We gotta kick this thing off with touching base on our hometown, Miami. Where in the 305 are you from? What’s your favorite type of pub-sub? Colada, cortadito, cafecito or cafe con leche? And how did you deal with all the road rage?
Hope: First I love how passionate people from Miami are about our city, no matter where you are when you run into another Miamian it’s always ‘305 pride’! In the words of the very wise Miami rapper Pitbull, “DALE!”
I am from Coconut Grove, a neighborhood that was founded by Bahamains, full of expat French hippies, artists, and steeped in history.
My absolute favorite Publix sub is a Publix Chicken Tender Sub with buffalo sauce!
And when I do a Cuban coffee it’s Cafe con Leche, simply for the fact that I care about my heart and the last time I had a colada I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest. But my father swears by it.
When it comes to road rage, lots of deep breathing, and every now and then an explicit word or gesture. I made sure I said a word of prayer every time I hit the road, especially when it rained. I have great reflexes from learning to drive in Miami, which unsurprisingly serves me very well here in LA.
Mena: Totally agree with the explicit language! It’s cute when the Angelinos complain about the traffic here, I mean it’s bad, but not in comparison to the Mad Max fury drivers in Miami.
I love the Grove, I used to hit up the farmers market there every Saturday ❤. I totally feel you on the coffee, sometimes it would leave me vibrating.
I noticed that you cover a diverse range of topics in you work, from health + wellness, to social justice issues and standards of beauty, all the way through to the undocumented workers series you recenlty collaborated on. It seems like the variety isn’t random but possibly a compilation of issues that interest you. How do you go about choosing which projects to work on? And what’s your approach for conceptualizing a piece?
Hope: The diversity in my work is completely circumstantial! At the start of my career I sort of fell into social justice. I started working for many digital news verticals that reported stories relating to often overlooked injustices in the world. I developed skills in visual storytelling for journalism, creating pieces that made complex information digestible, drove a point home or elicited emotion. I built a reputation and journalists, news orgs, and non profit orgs would commission help from me in telling their stories. I never worked on a piece that I felt was maliciously manipulative or that I disagreed with. I have been lucky in that the pieces that generally came my way also aligned with my views.
I say that social justice was circumstance because at the beginning my goal was to work in children’s media. I wanted sunny days and to get to Sesame Street, but I also needed to work. Something interesting started to happen though. The stories I was helping to tell became important to me. Suddenly, I could see the difference I was making, and that was everything.
After a few years of telling these heavy stories and being steeped in the pain of others it took a toll on the soul. I feel very deeply and I was internalizing all of it. I needed a break! So I started looking for and accepting different work from other areas in the media, which eventually led me to working for GIPHY.
My approach to conceptualizing has always been to first think of how I want the piece to be received. What do I want the viewer to feel and how best to express that. Then I go from there. I approach each project differently. There is no set recipe for me honestly, but I’m working on one.
I still take on a couple social justice pieces, I haven’t stopped telling the stories of the disenfranchised. I just now balance it with spreading joy through GIFs. I’ve really had to learn, it’s all about that balance.
Mena: That does sound like it would get heavy after some time. I do see that balancing act manifesting itself in your work, thematically speaking, I get a general feel of positivity and realness throughout.
I’m glad to hear you never compromised yourself for the work, I really enjoyed the social commentary pieces you did choose to work on. You have a very dynamic style that I feel really does connect the viewer with the story, and that’s a unique skill.
Hope: Thank you Mena!
Mena: What mantra do you use when your computer crashes?
Hope: I love the Bad Boys movies with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence (especially since they were set in Miami). And there is this MANTRA that was a running joke in the films its WOOSAH. Dictionary.com defines it as “a slang expression used to indicate or achieve a state of calm and relaxation”.
I love it, whenever life becomes overwhelming just say “Woosah.” Take a deep breath in, deep breath out, you got this. Just a small obstacle you can figure it out. WOOOOOSAHHHH. *Disclaimer Woosahh will not bring back your crashed file because you forgot to save. Save your file!
Mena: I’m gonna try that one next time I see the spinning rainbow wheel of death.
Hope: Wooosah, not today satan!
Mena: What artistic styles influence you?
Hope: All of them. Every so often, I will find an artist that I really like and use them as inspiration, like Marcelo Monreal with his floral portraits or Mason London with his really cool looping animations. But more often than not, I gravitate to whatever style or technique I am into at the moment. Right now I am thinking of playing. I want to mix 3D cell art with frame by frame animation and composite into live action for a personal project, and at work I am really loving painterly strokes and textures in illustration.
Mena: What would you like to share with other artists starting out on their own creative journey?
Hope: Don’t be afraid to create and share when you feel you haven’t figured out your own style. That’s one thing that I have always struggled with. I am so used to telling the stories of others using all kinds of styles, it became daunting to tell my own stories and create my own art. And I rarely have. You don’t have to be known for one look or artform, it doesn’t need to be perfect or ‘pretty’. It does not have to appeal to the masses. Just create. Tell the stories. However they flow from your center.
Also, Woosah. It aint that deep.
Mena: I can totally relate to that, sometimes the blank canvas can be intimidating. Where do you derive inspiration for your work?
Hope: Everywhere and everything. I’m a romantic, I listen to fiction audiobooks all day. The pictures that the words paint in my head influence me all the time. I’m also a tech head. I studied VFX and Motion Graphics. I love to explore the tools of the trade. I am constantly scanning the web for new updates and plugins on all of the software I work with. I’m always watching tutorials or researching how to upgrade my hardware for better performance. I pin images and videos all day on everything. Documentaries, junk mail, a perfectly ripe mango, everything inspires me.
Mena: I enjoy fictional stories as well, and I could see how someone that’s so empathic and imaginative could create solely from stories being narrated. What are you listening to rn?
Hope: Right now I’m listening to the Zone War series by John Conroe. It’s a sci-fi post-apocalyptic story. Set 10 years after Manhattan is attacked by thousands of drones, and about a reality show that follows the treasure/salvage hunters into the still active drone zone. Good stuff, I recommend!
Mena: Loveeeeeee scifi’s, I’ll have to check that one out since it sounds like our inevitable future.
Hope: Hey, hey, 2020 isn’t over yet, don’t jinx it! *quickly quietly prays to say she didn’t really mean it*
Mena: Some GIF + stickers of yours that I’m absolutely obsessed with are the zodiac sign(s) series, it’s straight fire, what’s your sign?
Hope: Thanks! I am a Sagittarius which is indeed fire. (ha)
Mena: That checks out. I’m actually a water sign, your Pisces GIF — “I’m not religious I’m spiritual’:
is TRIGGERING for me… I feel like I’m definitely guilty of having said that at some point LOL. While we’re on the topic, what’s your favorite GIF?
Hope: It’s a toss up between monkey hug (honestly any nice hug will do):
and this robot reaction:
When I first saw it I couldn’t stop laughing. I relate so hard.
Mena: Cute and horrifying, nice variety you got there.
Hope: Ha! Coincidentally, that also perfectly sums up my personality when I’m drunk……. What, too much?
Some of Hope’s favorite GIFs she made recently at GIPHY: