Florida State University College of Fine Arts alum Mario Caserta (BS Studio Art 1999) recently launched Fancy House of Visual Effects with colleague Randie Swanberg, an imaginative visual effects, design and post production cooperative whose focus is combining premium creative service with personalized relationships.
One of Fancy VFX’s first projects is an Illuminarium art exhibit based on the work of Georgia O’Keeffe, which they have created with Radical Media. Currently being shown in Atlanta and Las Vegas, O’Keeffe: One Hundred Flowers is a 40-minute show designed to honor the incredible depth and beauty of O’Keeffe’s work.
“My career in VFX has been primarily in commercials, so working on this experience design was a fun departure from my typical work.”
Primarily known as a Flame artist – meaning he creates time-based video and animation works for TV, movies and architectural projection – the project highlights the wide scope of Fancy’s work and his reasons for starting the company in the first place. “I got to re-visit my base and produce art once again with an amazing team of designers and animators.”
After growing up in New Orleans, Caserta knew he wanted a great art school but also the traditional college experience offered by public universities — FSU had both. The artist attributes his success in the VFX field to the training he received at FSU and particularly in the College of Fine Arts.
“I feel like I draw upon the lessons I learned in FSU’s Art program in those college days on a regular basis,” said Caserta. “I can’t imagine excelling [in animation, digital media, VFX] without the fundamentals of photography and illustration, for example.”
Caserta recalls a particular project that had significance in kicking off his career.
Using a computer to create art was still new. For my Digital Cinema class led by Keith Roberson, my final project introduced me to visual effects. I had a blast, and it made me want to learn more. I used that final project to get my first internship [at Curious Pictures.] The director of the piece [Erik Gamache (BA Studio Art 1997)] is my friend to this day!
Among Caserta’s early mentors was another alum, Doug Grimmett (BFA Art 1978), founder of animation & digital design firm Primal Screen and past member of the College of Fine Arts Dean’s Advisory Council.
“That first job at Doug’s company had me compositing for Cartoon Network,” said Caserta.
“Mario’s work is a superb example of how our students balance both concept development and technical skill to create effective and moving artistic experiences,” said Associate Professor Roberson, “An experimental approach to studio art practice prepares them to create works for a wide range of audiences, from commercial work to contemporary art. I can’t wait to see where Mario’s success leads him next.”
To learn more about FSU’s studio art programs, visit Art.FSU.edu.
For more information on Fancy House of Visual Effects and to see some of their work, visit FancyVFX.tv.