Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fun Facts

  • I graduated from CalArts in May 2014
  • My three years at CalArts were the worst years of my life
  • I'm working on an animated adaptation of my tiny book "There's a monster behind the shower curtain."
  • Hopefully eventually soon-ish I will have my tiny books on sale somewhere
  • I'm working on something else with nice people, but I can't tell you
  • I interned at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival from May 20-Aug 28, 2014
  • Interning at Jacob's Pillow was the loveliest thing; that place is beautiful and magical
  • Dance is great
  • I wish I were a dancer
  • I killed a wasp this summer
  • I am now working at YoungArts (in Miami, FL) full-time, doing all their Social Media, among other things
  • I like YoungArts
  • I miss my best friend Ambar Navarro from CalArts
  • I interviewed Ben Folds the other day
  • Camille A. Brown's production, "Mr. TOL E. RAncE", which I collaborated on, won for Outstanding Production at The Bessies (dance awards) this month
  • "I met a robot at a ballet once." screened at the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival this month
  • "i" screened in my home country this summer for Anima Mundi
  • I commute 2+ hours a day
  • Miami knows nothing about bubble (boba) tea
  • I hadn't blogged since almost a year ago
  • Whoops

My cell phone attempts to capture the beauty of Jacob's Pillow; it does not succeed.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Look, It's 2014

I'm finally settled in at CalArts after a fun but crazy winter break doing a lot of fun stuff with YoungArts. And thanks to my being nerdy in high school and taking a lot of AP classes, this is actually my sixth and final semester of college. Yay, graduation in 4 months!

Last semester ended on a pretty cool project for a creative writing course here called Literary Citizenship: Tiny Press Practices. It made me feel good about the possibilities in being an artist for my own sake, and I got a chance to self-publish my first book.

It's a small, hand-sewn 2.5" x 2" book with a balsa wood cover. The story is entitled "There's a monster behind the shower curtain." and it's a sort of metaphysical tale about a girl who befriends the monster that haunts her bathroom at night, and learns how to deal with the inexpressible things in life. 

I made a run of about 40 books, but I want to alter the layout and design a little bit and do another run of 50, and possibly sell them via Etsy or the likes. (But I also like giving them as gifts.) 

Friday, November 22, 2013


As usual, I am insanely off-schedule with my blogging. Being Social Media Girl for the National YoungArts Foundation kinda does that to me. Like, oh, I have things to say about myself? And I'm supposed to spend MORE time on social media??

But also, I'm very happy to be able to share me-things with the world. Yay, things!

To go in chronological order, (and yes, this is how outdated I've gotten) the Cartoon Brew Student Animation Festival finally premiered my first year film "i" back in September. I did an interview with them, and then watched my film look nice on Vimeo, and sighed in thankfulness. Here's the article:

i from Cartoon Brew on Vimeo.

More excitingly, in my opinion, I made public for the first time live footage of my first staging of "i" back at CalArts in October 2012. This is real:

"i" performance footage from Isabela Dos Santos on Vimeo.

Then, it was YoungArts' birthday, and I made this for them. You can click on it! Oooh, programming: And then I produced the second episode of YoungArts TakeOne:

Also, Camille A. Brown's "Mr. TOL E. RAncE" continues to show around the country, and you should go watch it! I made animations for it, but also, it's a really important show. It seems like fun and entertainment, but it hits you very deeply at the end and I think it's doing a lot to update the conversation about race and stereotypes, and in a bigger lens, just about identity and compassion in general. I'm writing a blog post for YoungArts reviewing 12 Years a Slave (which was beautiful and made me cry for weeks) and I'll talk about working with Camille on this. For now, check out upcoming performances and go see it!

And, finally, today I received my very first Vimeo Staff Pick! For "I met a robot at a ballet once." It's so nice. Jason Sondhi must have known it's my birthday tomorrow (WOAH, cake day tomorrow). My favorite part of is his comment: "this is heavy." It makes me think of suitcase tags.

"Some emotions in life should come with this sticker."

If only I received a Vimeo Staff Pick every time I checked in overweight luggage for a flight. I'd have a lot of Vimeo Staff Picks.

Currently working on making a ton of handmade little (like 2.5" x 2") children's books, end-of-semester things, animating on Aron Bothman's upcoming film, and my upcoming thesis project. Stay tuned for updates (maybe).

Monday, September 16, 2013

YoungArts TakeOne

I did something crazy while working with YoungArts this summer. I decided to get my friends and make art for ourselves. It evolved a lot from my original pitch to the collaborative result, but we ended up starting a web series of cover songs. The catch is that the performers do not talk to each other ahead of time--and we only give them one take. As we kept calling it, "it's like a high-stakes jam session." It's great.

Happy to say now:'s the performance video!

Plus Tyler edited an awesome Behind the Scenes feature:

Of course, I also am responsible for that little intro animation, which features the yet-to-be-released (but I guess now they're partially leaked) t-shirt design characters for YoungArts Week 2014.

YATO has been a really cool project. I mean, that's an understatement because I'm extremely sleepy right now and can't begin to properly express my feelings towards this group of kids and the feeling I get from making art with them, even if I couldn't be there in person. It's just so...right. You don't get that often in life and there shouldn't be any hesitation to hold on to it when you do. This was my attempt to get a couple of artists to do what they love with the people they love, at a time when we all kind of forgot that was available for us (or, for them. I'm still stuck on a hippie-infested ant hill in suburban Los Angeles). It meant a lot to me, and I was jealous not to be there with them, but satisfied that they were more-than-pleased with the experience. Plus, like, WHATTHE--how did they do that! And here I sit with my key frames...

Anyway. I hope you enjoy what we created, and that you stay tuned for more! Off to bed.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

For more premiere-related news:

I made my most recent animated film-of-sorts public yesterday. Enjoy this quirky existential crisis, "I met a robot at a ballet once.":

I met a robot at a ballet once. from Isabela Dos Santos on Vimeo.

And for the record, I did go to a ballet this summer in NYC after making this film (American Ballet Theater of course, with Daniil Simkin performing that day BECAUSE WHAT A GORGEOUS DANCER HE IS). While I did not have a robot sit to my right, there was a middle-aged woman there who after the first intermission magically transformed into an old lady, and at the second intermission that old lady started up conversation with me about how much of a gem Daniil Simkin is and about what it takes to be a truly captivating artist, that intelligence and being truly human to your audience will take you further in life than talent alone. Close enough, I suppose. She did not eat her playbill, however.

But, anyway, it was a good day in my life. The weather was nice and I ate Goldfish snacks by the Lincoln Center fountain.

EDIT September 2013: I got word that "I met a robot..." is off to Amsterdam to cause life crises internationally at the KLIK! Animation Festival. Yay!

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Year Later...

I'm happy to announce that "i" will finally come out of its password-protected cave, thanks to Cartoon Brew's 2013 Student Animation Festival! The line up of 8 films will begin premiering one film per week starting July 8th, so stay tuned for the exact date. Actually, all films look fantastic, so stay tuned to Cartoon Brew regardless and watch them all! Thanks to Cartoon Brew and JibJab for the big smile on my face. Wheeee. *high-five*

See the full line-up here:

As Bill T. Jones says, "Art is a participation in the world of ideas," and I think it's important for me and others not to see a work of art as something definitive, but as a sentence in a big conversation. So it's time for more sentences. Maybe one that has to do with chocolate.

Ooooh, chocolate.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Post-UNPLAY Post

Alas, I am back from NYC where I had the very wonderful opportunity to be part of Conrad Tao's UNPLAY Festival, which in my words was an exploration of the classically-trained musician's (or any artist, I like to think) role in the modern world of technology and mainstream ideals. The music was awe-inspiring and I was happy to be surrounded by the people I love the most: young nerdy artists with the most insane ambitions.

I performed June 11th, which was the first day of the three-night festival, Conrad's 19th (yeah, I know) birthday and the release day of his first full-length album "Voyages." There were some technical scares along the way (as always), but it all turned out rather nicely and my extreme gratitude goes out to Conrad and his crew for the opportunity. Here are some records and reviews of the night:
"When Mr. Tao opened with “iridescence,” a bubbly piece for piano and iPad included on “Voyages,” his performance was accompanied with an abstract video by Isabela Dos Santos...Sriracha closed with “i,” a winsome jazz-pop ballad by Kate Davis. Ms. Dos Santos, shadowy behind a translucent screen, danced along with her projected animations..." - Steve Smith, NY Times

The Galerie Project also reviewed that night of the show and said some very nice things about everyone's work, along with providing a couple of Vine clips.

"One of my favorite performances of the night. Isabela Dos Santos performed a live interpretive dance in cooperation with her short animated film, “i.” At moments, Dos Santos seemed to blend into the animated figure she was mimicking." - Dan Ragan

YoungArts also very graciously provided live streaming of that night of the festival, which is now available online for the world to see!

My work was featured in the opening number "iridescence," an experimental animation compiled on VDMX (with the technological support of Matt Broach), which was hooked up to Conrad's equipment so he was the one triggering the images through his piano and iPad. And around the 48-minute mark is my performance of "i" although it's a bit difficult to see me through the scrim on this recording. Conrad rearranged Kate Davis' song and Erika Thompson provided the lovely Beach House-y vocals. I danced.

The rest of the show is even more fantastic, so whenever you're sitting around and want some good music and performance, you should watch it allllllllll. I particularly recommend the second number, "leaves," with Caleb Teicher on percussive dance, and then the one with the trio of toy pianos. It's a cute one.

And finally, thanks to everyone who attended live or online! Hopefully some more exciting things are on the way for this summer, but for now, let's all enjoy the sunshine.