The mysterious Spire Animation Studios, which seems to have one foot in Hollywood and one foot in Silicon Valley, continues to attract major talent. The studio announced today that two key Pixar veterans – Ricky Nierva and Michal Makarewicz – have joined its staff in senior roles. Nierva and Makarewicz worked a combined total of 40 years at Pixar.
Nierva, who worked at Pixar between 1997 and 2018, was the lead character designer on Monsters, Inc., art director on Finding Nemo, and production designer on Up and Monsters University. He contributed in various capacities to other studio productions, including Inside Out, Toy Story 2, and Coco.
He’s joining Spire as a production designer and will initially be focused on Trouble, the studio’s first animation feature, co-created by Danny McBride and Brad Lewis. “The team is unbelievably talented and we are breaking the way things have been done in the past, blazing new trails,” said Nierva in a statement. “I’ve loved the animation art form since I was a kid – and through my time at Pixar – and want to push this medium forward. It’s altogether invigorating, terrifying and exciting!”