I had a great time at the Los Angeles Art Mart, in the beautiful Los Angeles Theatre building, part of the Downtown Artwalk. It was so much fun to connect people to my work and be around so many other creative vendors. Thanks for all the great conversations and support!
I’m writing this in response to reading Nik Ranieri’s post regarding being let go from Disney Feature Animation after almost 25 years. This is after he created this beautiful performance:
Over the years, there has been a lot of talk in the animation industry regarding the death of 2D animation. While many U.S. based feature animation studios have turned away from it, I don’t see it dying. This is the same industry that is also throwing out 3D animation jobs or making them so miserable that one must choose between misery in employment or stressful unemployment. Yet I see a lot of the most innovative work in 2D or 3D being done well outside of these companies. Visual Effects aside, I really don’t think the most creative and innovative work is being done at larger studios.
Below are just a few examples of 2D animation that is excitingly inventive and fresh with innovation.
So no, 2D is not dead. Unfortunately, that does not make it any less frightening or difficult for skilled artists who have devoted their lives to this craft to find work that can compensate them.
I’ve always enjoyed going to Cannibal Flower, showcasing art and being a vendor there. It’s always a great mix of diverse art, music and fun people. I took some of my new prints and Gul and Girnari Jogi CD/DVD combos to the show last night and met lots of great people and got to see the band Snow in Africa live. Good times indeed.
Two time Grammy winner, Jazz pianist and composer Alan Broadbent’s new solo piano album “Heart to Heart” is out now, featuring a watercolor sketch of mine on the cover. I painted it live at the Catalina Jazz Club during a performance by the Charlie Haden Quartet.
The album features these tracks played solo by Alan:
1. “Hello my Lovely” by Charlie Haden
2. “Heart to Heart” by Alan Broadbent
3. “Alone Together” by Arthur Shwartz
4. “Now and Then” by Alan Broadbent
5. “Journey Home” by Alan Broadbent
7. “Love is the Thing” by Alan Broadbent
8. “Lonely Woman” by Ornette Coleman
9. “Cherokee” by Ray Noble
I had the privilege of conducting a drawing workshop for a conversational English class at Sahara. Sahara is a wonderful organization that specializes in helping domestic violence victims in the South Asian community as well as offering classes to the community at large in computers, English and more. Our friend Mala invited Kristeen and I to give a workshop with her class.
For the lesson, I modified a session I had done in Bangalore to suit the conversational needs of these women. I thought we could share stories on moments we were proud of, achievements or other significant events, to help remind us all that we each hold stories worth telling. As I went around the room, and each woman gave her name and how she was feeling, it became clear that there were many stories to tell. Some women were deeply moved by stories on the news, such as the garment factory collapse in Bangladesh, or the brutal violence against a prisoner named Sarabjeet Singh, one of many innocents to inadvertently wander across the border and be imprisoned like so many others on both sides of the border.
I drew some simple figures and objects and gave some ideas on how they can be used to express a variety of emotions. With that, the women took to drawing, and I walked around to help encourage or give ideas on how they could use drawing to express a particular idea if they needed it. After drawing, each woman shared their work and spoke to the class about it in english. It was hugely gratifying to feel the warmth and humor of these women, and to get a little glimpse of the depth of thought and wisdom they had to share with the world.
Afterwards, one of the wonderful women treated us to some delicious Khandvi and a dish simply called Veggie Delight (Gujrati snacks). Kristeen and I felt humbled and just full of joy at having spent time sharing with these women. Thank you.
I checked out a short set with the new lineup of the band Elephants with Guns at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles‘ Rhythm Village, put on by Rukus Avenue. It was a short and powerful set. I can’t wait to see a longer set by the band. I managed a few quick sketches of Jayson Joseph and Nikhil Cooper.
Two weeks after the last Art of Music event, we held our third night time event in the series at the Levantine Cultural Center. This time, I focused on Pakistan. The story turned from traveling in countries and connecting to cultures I had never met before, to going home. I shared my short animated film Gul, featuring the music of the Girnari Jogi Group as well as the story behind both. I felt very grateful to have an opportunity to share the story of these fantastic Sindhi musicians across the globe for an audience that respected what they do and supported my efforts to benefit them. Once again, I met with many new faces and enjoyed the warm company of many old friends as well.
My good friend Robin Sukhadia, Tablapusher kept the crowd going with his DJing and a live tabla performance in which he share the story of this beautiful instrument.
A week after opening night, we had our second event. This time we had Elephants with Guns perform a concert. The turn out at the Levantine Cultural Center was again amazing, and I shared stories of traveling through Uzbekistan and Mongolia. Jorge “Tyme” Martinez had put together some beautiful artwork for the Elephants. The t-shirt designs were amazing and everyone wanted one. It was so much fun meeting people and connecting to their stories as well as sharing some of the experience I had as a way of connecting people in LA to the people across the world in Uzbekistan and Mongolia.
We even celebrated Jorge’s and Medha’s birthdays with more cake of course!
It has been a long journey to get to this point. I had painted 3 large paintings and 3 smaller live paintings before I pitched the idea for a gallery show on Central and South Asian music to Jordan of the Levantine Cultural Center back in Oct. 2012. He gave me the go ahead, and I began working on the rest of the 13 paintings for the show. The pieces included collaborations with Jorge “Tyme” Martinez, as well as 10 large paintings of music from 5 countries I visited while backpacking across Central and South Asia, connecting to people across language barriers through music.
After much hard work painting, reaching out to local communities of the five cultures represented as well as other people interested in cultures and music, then getting the pieces framed by RA Custom Framing and then putting them up with the help of Jordan, Lila, Rima, Sahra and Kasmira at the Levantine Center, we were finally ready for the opening.
We had our official gallery opening on Feb 2, 2013 and it went well beyond my wildest dreams. It was really heartwarming to see friends, family and all kinds of fans of art and music pack the Levantine Center’s Inside/Outside gallery space, with Kyrgyz and Uyghur music playing in the background. It was a joy to share some of my friends and my experiences connecting to people in these beautiful cultures, and very rewarding to see people connect to it. Particularly hearing people’s own experience in using art to connect with others on a deeper level was inspiring.