December 14, 2012

Life After Pratt with Colorist Ashley Fontones

By Carolyn Greene 

Ashley Fontones is a Brooklyn native from Park Slope.  She moved to Pennsylvania in high school and attended Pratt Institute as a Traditional Animation major.  Due to medical conditions, however, Ashley left Pratt prematurely at the end of her Junior year, and has not been able to return because of financial difficulties.  This didn’t stop her from pursuing her dreams.  She has taken on two animation related internships, another job in graphic design, and she currently works for Curious Pictures as a colorist for the children’s show, Team UmiZoomi.  When  elaborating on her new job she said,“I’m the only colorist working on one main character, so I’ll be able to point out my work to friends and family when it airs. It’s a sort of gratification that I never thought possible... I love what I’m doing right now and I suppose that’s all I care about.”

Her decision to come to Pratt to study animation was driven by her desire to combine her artistic and intellectual sides, and to apply her love of writing and storytelling into her life.  A native of Brooklyn, she attended Pratt’s Saturday Art School, and at the age of seven told her parents she wanted to attend Pratt to become, of all things, a doctor.  Clearly, life wouldn’t pan out the way she planned and years later she enrolled at the Institute to study animation, a comprehensive program that covers the “history [of animation], and... both old and new techniques”.

Ashley made sure to keep herself busy while at Pratt; she always had at least two jobs and worked various internships, she worked in Admissions, she was active in clubs, and she was an RA.  “A lot of people said I was nuts, and I agree... [but] I’ve been able to apply everything I’ve learned from these experiences to my own sense of professionalism.” The most important connection she built before her leave, however, was her relationship with her professor, who helped her find internships and jobs and kept in touch after her time at Pratt had ended; her most recent internship at Flickerlab was found through this same professor.

 Above: Ashley's Curious Pictures work desk and her personal work desk

Her advice to currents students is to “never give up.”  Even in the face of difficulty and the busy lifestyle of an art student, “just don’t ever stop [...] work part time jobs and NEVER miss a day at your internship, but don’t spread yourself too thin.  Finding balance is challenging, but a worthwhile endeavor [...]  Organize everything, keep a schedule.  Four or five years may seem like a long time, but the rest of your life is longer.”  For her “fellow disability or medical case students... listen to your heart and your body.  Draw your strength from your talent, and don’t let anyone tell you that something is out of reach... Adversity can be your greatest obstacle, or it can be your greatest inspiration.”

Interviewed by Carolyn Greene on October 5th, 2012


  1. we are all so proud of you here in the Poconos girlie :)

  2. There's no better feeling in the world than telling people that my Angel cake is doing really well...:)

    Love Dad

  3. Very inspirational story here. I never head of or read a story like this one before, but I can tell you this one is for the Grammy. Thank you for sharing this wonderful and very educational essay.