Friday, March 24, 2017

Claymation commercial

I have been thinking if I should continue to do freelance commissions or pursue fine art full time. I do learn from the commissions but sometimes it is exhausting and I wonder if it is time to change things.
Sharing a few images from the commercial we did this month. It was a collaboration with friends. Will share the video and more photos once they release it officially.

Still from the film:

Ajanta Caves

I was very young the first time we visited Ajanta caves, Buddhist site of worship with monasteries. It was 1997. But I remember how I felt.. I was not very religious but sheer scale and magnitude of the work of art amazed me. It was beautiful.
After coming back from Poland I joined IDC in December and got to work on Ajanta project for two months. They are developing a virtual reality app, where one can visit the caves virtually and read and follow the Jataka stories painted on the walls, depicting past lives and rebirths of Buddha. The paintings are 1000s of years old and most of them have either faded or completely destroyed over the years.  So in the app, we are trying to show the lost part that is digitally reconstructed for the viewer to make sense of the entire painting. It was nice to redraw the lines and interesting to recreate what was already gone or might fade away in a few decades- but we had to try and keep the visual style same. I was working on Cave number 16, Simhala story.
Here is the part of the wall I was working on:
After the reconstruction of lines it looked something like this:

Close-up of bottom right corner. Before and after the overlaid lines: 

It is inspiring when you realize that the work on the caves was started in 2nd century BC. Use of mirrors to reflect the sunlight onto the walls. Hundreds of artists carving and painting to create this beautiful, spiritual work of worship and art, cutting through the rock mountains.. Wondering how it would have all looked when they would have lit 100 lanterns illuminating these beautiful, delicate paintings and the carving. It would have been a delight for the eyes and the soul. Listening to the chanting, echoes and being surrounded by all things beautiful. The monks would enter the main door and then go to their rooms for meditation. We live in the world of copyrights and here is something so beautiful... created by thousands of artists, thousands of years ago all anonymous. Not just beautiful, but inspiring, and influential to the art that followed.

I love the color palette. Use of natural pigments gives limited but bright color range, resulting in a pleasing harmony. Blues were obtained from Afghanistan, from lapis lazuli. And green was made either by mixing the yellow ochres with blue or with Gluconite Sandstone.

This time when I went, I had better understanding of the stories, buddhism teachings, and I do understand what religion tries to say.. So things were quite relatable. And calming. You feel at peace when you enter through the main door. I was with colleagues and friends who knew quite a few about the Jataka stories, sculptures and the history, so it was nice to connect things. Prashant, who was visiting the caves for the third time, showed the pillar where John Smith, the British officer who discovered the caves in 1819 and inscribed his name on the mural to mark his dicovery. Good or bad, it was interesting.. How people want to be remembered and leave their mark. 
 It's been a month that we are back but every time I see the photos, it makes me happy. May be one day I will paint my wall with stories. Just one wall. I do want to. Will be a nice reminder to be good. I wonder where all the patrons have gone. If there will ever be a project of this scale and craftsmanship.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Portraits in Poland

Below are the portraits created for the show 'Diversity' from the time we were in Poland. Inspired by the nature, architecture and the people I met, and friends I made in Gdansk.

Sara, my roommate:

Can you find the Gdansk buildings and a boat and the crane?


 Self portrait:
Gdansk had beautiful variety in flowers. During summer i used to collect flowers on my way to work daily. And created a little sketch with flowers around, as a souvenir for myself from Poland.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

'Loving Vincent' and my journey

Recently I returned from Gdansk, Poland where I was working May-Nov 2016 as a painter-animator on the world’s first hand painted animated feature film 'Loving Vincent' by Oscar Award winning Studio Breakthru Films. The film is based on the life and art works of Vincent Van Gogh. The trailer of the film is here

I was born and raised in Mumbai and graduated in Computer Engineering from Mumbai University in 2006 with distinction. After working as a programmer for a couple of years, I quit my job to follow my creative calling and did Masters in Animation and Film Design from IIT Bombay. In 2013 I decided that it was important for me to acquire additional training in classical realism to enhance my skills and draftsmanship. Thus, I travelled to Florence, Italy and then to New York, USA to pursue my art education at three renown art schools - Angel Academy of Art, Florence, Russian Art Academy in Florence and Grand Central Atelier in New York City. 

Two years ago, I saw the trailer of the Loving Vincent film. Van Gogh has been an inspiration to me because of his paintings, the subjects he chose and how he expressed himself through his letters. When I learned in April 2016 that Breakthru Films was interviewing artists to work on the film, I applied with my portfolio and within three days I was invited for a test in Gdansk, Poland. I flew there, passed the test, which was followed by three weeks of intense training to paint in Van Gogh style and animate. After the training I started painting, animating shots for the film. I worked there from the end of May till 31 October 2016, painting 7 complete shots. Every shot consists of hand painted frames that are used to create animation. I created 358 painted frames for seven different shots, all of which are included in the film. Every second of the movie consists of 12 painted frames. We had to reproduce Van Gogh’s paintings using similar brush strokes and his color palette.

Paint supplies after passing the test and training:)

My PAWS- Painting and Animation Workstation in the studio

As there are many artists working on a particular scene, it is important to match colors to the shots already created. The colors you paint often look different on the computer screen. And the color matching is done based on how it looks on the screen. Depending on the length of the shot, paints are prepared in good volume and stored in the plastic jars, labelled as they are used- Lights and darks for the skin, jackets, etc. And we use the same throughout the shot.

My workstation after first month: 

Second and third shot:

It was my first time in Poland and the life in Gdansk had been very pleasant. The city itself is very beautiful and conductive to art. The architecture of the old town has Dutch influence and is fascinating. Gdansk is the port city of Baltic coast, and there are beautiful beaches and green forests. At the beginning, when the workload was less, we would go to the beautiful beaches every weekend. We walked by the side of a forest on our way to work, where we picked apples and cherries for breakfast. It was a good life and being from Mumbai this was all so beautiful and amazing to me. It was wonderful working with the team of artists from all over the world, many who I can call dear friends made me feel like I had a family in Poland. 

Daily commute to work by the sides of forest with Sara and Setareh, my roommates. 

This has been such an enriching experience for me, for the people I met, the city and the film itself.

In October 2016 we did a group art show in Gdansk with 15 artists/coworkers from the studio who were from six different countries (India, Poland, Ukraine, Spain, Ireland, Iran). If you'd like to see the photos, here is the link

Following one’s dreams and passions is always very fulfilling, and support and a little encouragement coming at the right moment, can often change everything. My journey from beginning as a software engineer to traveling and working on the world's first fully hand painted feature length animation film has been quite adventurous and rewarding, with its highs and lows; and I have learnt to be true to myself, despite all the contradictions to what our culture and traditions dictate. And by sharing our journeys, we inspire others to be courageous and follow their own dreams. I am forever grateful to people in my life who have encouraged me to hold onto my dreams, no matter how rough the path looked like in the beginning. 

Thank You for reading.

More photos
Our first hostel room in Willa Nobla, quite close to the studio. Sara says it's like a bohemian belief, that you start and finish at the same place.. We were given accommodation here during our training days and we returned here when our apartment lease finished.

Day of the double rainbow- while walking to Anna and Michal's house, before moving to the apartment at Budapestanzska.

Hel beach.

At Anna's house

Getting ready for the show 'Diversity' at Piwna street.
Sara and Setareh in the Studio kitchen

Instagram posts-