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Featured Review

Interview with Tooba Rezaei

Can you tell us about your career?

I have worked as a visual development artist, concept artist, illustrator, character designer and animator in animation and game industries. Besides designing for the entertainment industry, I’ve participated in several solo and group shows in different countries and also done illustrations for books. In addition to all of this, I’ve tried to develop my own ideas and visions into animated shorts.

What were your experiences studying at the Utrecht School of Arts, HKU?

I studied for my Master’s degree in Image Synthesis and computer Animation at Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU). Before getting there, I was doing traditional painting and animation, and I used to believe that technology decreased creativity. After I got into HKU, I found out that learning computer software was required. It was a big challenge at the beginning but after a few months I was so excited to work on the computer, I didn’t want to stop expanding my knowledge! It became a great new tool for me to express my ideas. Another amazing experience at HKU was working in groups with other students. We had to make several animated shorts for different purposes. Although I had been working in the animation industry before I got into HKU, it wasn’t very collaborative. At HKU I learned how to work in a group. I learned when I‘m working in a group I’m not the only one there, I have to respect other people’s opinions, present my own opinions and share my ideas, learn from others, and that in the end, the project belongs to a group and not one person. Beside those experiences I had great friends and teachers who were always encouraging me and giving me a lot of motivation.

In what medium/genre can you express yourself the best?

If you asked me this question fourteen years ago, I would have said oil, charcoal and ink. But now I would say besides oil, charcoal, ink, watercolor, acrylic, I would like to work digitally with 2D and 3D software. Sometimes I develop my ideas in 3D software and paint over it in 2D software. Sometimes I want to paint traditionally. When I do, I am able touch my painting, use different brushes, paint with my fingers and make a mess! I can’t say in what medium I can express my self the best, because each medium is a different experience, I like all of them. I would like to work in different genres as well, but I prefer Fantasy, Sci-fi and cute over realistic.

Who are your main influences, as an artist, or in life in general?

At a very young age when I was around eleven-twelve the first artists that I was inspired by were the Renaissance artists, and especially Leonardo DaVinci. I was always copying his work. Later when I got into art school, I developed my style based on cubism and my favorite artist was Pablo Picasso, but later on my style got more personal. I liked other artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Egon Shiele, Gustav Klimt, and eventually Salvador Dali. Dali was a very talented artist who represented surrealism not only in fine art painting but also in live action, photography and even in animation. His diversity amazed me and it shows there is no limitation in art and imagination. I always want to explore new artist’s work and study their work and learn from them. These days there are so many amazing artists in the animation industry and fantasy art that influence me. We are very lucky these days because with internet, learning and accessing information is much easier than before.

How would a world without creativity look like?

The world with no creativity would be a world with no images, no movies, no theatre, no TV, no entertainment, no fashion, no design, no art history… So many no’s… It is hard to imagine this kind of world, and I know I don’t want to be in that boring world!

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