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A Passion for Animation

A Passion for Animation

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Dattaraj Kamat speaks to Timeline Goa about his unique passion for animation art and his plans to bring the Goan landscape to life through his work.

Can you tell us how it all began?

I got introduced to the wonderful world of animation when I was studying for my BFA. Disney’s ‘Lion King’ and ‘Tarzan’ were the two animation feature films that really inspired me. To me just the idea of creating a virtual world that’s as alive and sentient as the real world was fascinating. I immediately fell in love with this medium. Later, while working at UTV Motion Pictures in Mumbai I was introduced to the amazing world of character design and, as I always loved drawing people, it became a passion.

Why select art? Did you doodle as a child?

I was born into a family of artists. My folks used to make Ganesh idols for Chaturthi. I believe it was Lord Ganesha that inspired me to draw and I still have the habit of drawing a ‘Shri’ above every drawing of mine. Many of my school books were filled  with small cartoons of friends and teachers. Later, I did my BFA at the Goa College of Art in Panjim and then joined a 2D classical animation school in Pune. But I left it in a few months and joined UTV. After that, it’s all been pretty much self taught.

When did you decide to take up character design?

While working on my first film at UTV I was introduced to the character design work of many famous artists through my colleagues. Although I was employed to do location designs at UTV, I felt more inclined towards character design. I remember coming across the art of character designer Torsten Schran, who is a very good friend now, and I fell in love with this form of art. Later, I came across  the work of many talented artists like Florian Satzinger, Arthur de Pins, John Nevarez and many more whose beautiful work fuelled my  desire to create animation characters.

Your work is mostly on rural India and very Indian in context…

Nature and the people around me inspire me more than anything else.  Most of my work is a result of such interaction. Yes, I have always been fascinated by our culture, costumes, architectural styles and art forms. Animation is a great medium to study and explore these avenues. I am inspired by our diverse personalities—their distinctive dress and hairstyles, the influence of Bollywood, the great spread and diversity of our culture. This year I am focusing on studying various art forms and landscapes across Goa and trying to develop some animation designs based on them.

You have showcased your work in the US. What was the experience like?

I was invited by the Creative Talent Network based in California as a guest speaker for CTNX 2013, one of the biggest animation expos happening at Burbank. I was a part of a character design panel alongside my favourite Florian Satzinger and the amazing character designer Tony Siruno. At CTNX I also did a demonstration for COPIC markers. I got a chance to meet many of my favorite artists and received great feedback and appreciation of my work! Last year I also published my first sketchbook with CTN Publishing.

What is the scope for an animation artist based in Goa?

I think Goa is a perfect place for any artist. Animation in Goa is in its early stage right now but with newly set up studios like Moppet Animation and film festivals like IFFI, Goa has the potential to become a hub in this field. Animation is my life and love. I have been enjoying all the challenges over the past six years. It’s one of those rare fields where you can be imaginative and tell stories and draw a smile.

 This article was first published in Timeline Goa Magazine Vol 2, issue 2 (page 28)

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