Tom Rubalcava began his career as Art Director on a series of independent feature films in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1982 to 1990. He was also recognized for his sculpting skills and ability to design for prosthetic make up and physical effects. It was on Commercial Pictures/Zoetrope’s 1988 release of Live-Action Feature ‘Clownhouse’ that Tom wore the hats of concept designer, storyboard artist and effects designer. His main role as Art Director on the project wasn’t his only credit – he was also credited in the make-up effects category.
Tom’s sculpting talent brought him to Premavision, Inc. in Sausilito, CA and the ‘Gumby Adventures’ television series in 1987. He was hired on the spot to head up the main character department. Soon after having reorganized the department, he was promoted to design and sculpt props and additional stop-motion characters. After 1 1/2 years of Tom’s departure to television production, Premavision kept a small crew on board to produce the ‘The Gumby Movie.’ It was on this project that Tom migrated back to feature work, giving him the chance to revisit 2D FX animation that he had trained for years before under then Don Bluth Studios’ veteran Bruce Heller.
In 1991, Tom joined the team at Colossal Pictures to continue his stint with similar materials called for in stop-motion design. He sculpted and prop finished on a series of ‘Nabisco’ and ‘Pillsburry’ television commercials headed up by Director Henry Selick. Later, he joined the Colossal animation department. For the 9 years that followed, Tom assisted and animated on numerous animation projects and eventually, he was elevated to Animation Director status. He debuted in this new role, heading up an animation crew for COKE ‘Watch’, a Clio Award winning Coca Cola television commercial. Tom continued to help develop Colossal’s mixed media Blendo technique until the studio closed its doors in August of 1999.
Once the gloomy fog cleared after the closure of one of the world’s premier animation studios, and a short freelance foray at Wild brain, Inc, Tom co-founded the animation boutique, Way Out West with the talented Animator Ricardo Barahona. For nearly 3 years, the small crew continued to generate diverse works for a dozen or so companies from around the U.S., which included, Turner Learning, Atlanta GA., Frog Design Inc. SF., Multimedia Games Inc., Dallas TX., Macromedia, SF., Calpine, Mendocino, CA., Clicksafety, Oakland, CA., Sun Microsystems, Santa Clara, CA. and Drumbeat Digital, NY, New York, to name a few.
Tom joined the dynamic and diversely talented Maverix Studios group in 2002 and became a principal partner of the LLC in July 0f 2003. The company continued to provide quality production art and animation until the studio’s closure in September of 2011. Clients included Iwin, Inc., Leap Frog, Intuit, Super Secret and more. Tom is now freelancing as a Designer, Director, Animator and Storyboard artist.