CG Today: You did layout and pre-production work for the episodic Tenali Raman. This was India’s first 2D television series and was based on the character from Indian folklore, Tenali Raman. This must have been a unique experience.

Arun : I don’t think people are aware while creating great things and history tells us the story. I didn’t feel much differently while doing it but today I feel proud that I was one of the members involved in creating India’s first 2D television series. Yes, you can ask all the crew about the same. We enjoyed all the exciting moments and worked in a great environment created by M.r Bill Dennis.

We gained a lot of experience with forms, textures and other aspects related to historical story telling while working on Tenali raman.

CG Today: Having done some work in the comic book arena, do you think, like many others that comic book art should be taken seriously and treated as a genuine art form?

Arun : Again, when I worked for Comic book, it was Mr Dhimant Vyas, a great human being, that had a profound influence on me.

Well, Audio-visual media has captured the major attention of teenagers and youngsters. Now, you have to be very keen while producing a comic strip. Mainly, the visual catches the eyes and we have to work on it very keenly. My 7 years old Manu cries if he sees the person cutting the tree, and gets happy if someone bites another person if he something wrong. That intellectual sensitivity can be developed. We are ones responsible to create genuineness about any art form with its advantages and disadvantages. Words are not dead.

CG Today: Another sign of your tremendous versatility is that you have done a stint in the world of claymation. Tell us more about that time in your career.

Arun : It was Toonz Animation which gave me a chance to show my versatility. Mr. Bill dennis and Mr. Dhimant Vyas were two people I met who had tremendous versatility.



CG Today: Jadoo Works, a studio for whom you worked, has been listed as one of the top ten animation studios in India. What part did you play, while working at Jadoo Works, in the making of the episodic series, Higgly Town Heroes for the Disney Studio?

Arun : Yes, Mr. Ashish Kulkarni, a great personality gave me the chance to learn 3D Maya for Jadoo’s ongoing HTH project. As a 2D expert and with past experience, I got a chance to deal with lighting part which is close to basic art foundation. You need to check the composition in terms of color brightness or hues and take care of light perspectives in terms of aesthetics by following the storylines…

CG Today: Being a part of the team that produced the Indian Heritage Theme Park must have been invigorating. You were Concept Designer/ Imaginer and explored the concepts for Asia’s first and biggest theme park’s design with the Research and Development group. What were some of the actual concepts for the park that you worked on?

Arun : It was done from scratch. We have produced the plot/site decoration, building walkthroughs and complete look of the project. Yes, I met Prabhu Chanchalapati, the Vice president of ISKCON, Bangalore. He is great and a saintly human. It was great meeting with him and he was briefing the details of all the attractions time to time. He was taking care of all our visuals that it should look heavenly and we got divine touch to our creation. I worked on 2 theme parks, one in Bangalore and another in Vrindavan as Concept Designer.

CG Today: In 2007, you joined Toonskool, an advanced animation academy, as Senior Mentor on the Content and Training team, and developed the syllabus for Art and 2D Animation. Is this where you decided that academia was your calling?

Arun : Thanks for the question, with the ending as its own answer. I don’t know but I always feel that if you have something great with you according to the society, just try to give it to the society. Art is for Art’s sake is an old phrase I believe. There is need that Art should guide the society. As Swami Vivekanada says ‘Education means to draw out’, it sounds something creative but orthodox education is trying to dump the information in. How one can expect to produce a leader from this education? There is a quote in Marathi, I started the movement with “shahane karuni sodave sakal jan” (let us educate the entire world if you have something extra comparatively…). Socrates and Tukaram had failed in the corporate world, but then there are Mr. Walt Disney and Mr. Samant sir. I believe in possibilities… I have my own life with a beautiful wife and two adorable children. Same time I have a great opportunity with great blessings from God, which is Animation, world’s greatest art ever.

The thing is, so called Animation leaders are misguiding the new generation for their personal gains, forgetting that they are becoming the main cause for the downfall of the Animation Art in India. Yes, the Industry is doing well, But what is said is the ungratefulness towards all the masters who dedicated their lives with tremendous sacrifices for this ‘Contemporary and New Media Art’. Learning particular software is not Animation; animation cannot be created with any tool unless and until you don’t know the real Art of Animation. “Don’t be just software operator, you are born to be Creator” is CANMAS’s baseline. I don’t know whether academia is my calling, but Savarkar said in those days that ‘for freedom of mother India, we all artists should take up guns in our hands and not the brush or pen for time being’. Same way there is a time for all the Animation Art Lovers to gather and create something great in the same field with more force and get rid of the money-driven mentality... India has tremendous potential to develop Animation as an Art. We have manpower with creativity and dedication We have better stories than anywhere else in the world We have a great environment for making this the home of animation art. I am trying my best with my students and they are responding, which motivates me even more.

CG Today: We find your paintings of horses to be especially moving. What makes the horse a favorite subject for you?

Arun : It is not my favorite subject. It has been created once, while I was studying the horse movements, I liked it and I painted it. I love painting on canvas. I have a lot in my mind to paint. I have started with Indian River series and it was Narmada river. The response was tremendous from the society. I wondered that I don’t have that fame in paintings but so many schools had come with their children at CKP, Bangalore. Next might be Krishna…

CG Today: Thanks to you for your time and your insights.

Arun : It’s my pleasure…thanking you.


Arun Suryawanshi – Academic Director,

CANMAS - Contemporary and new media art school ,

Pune, India.

Website : CANMAS | Blog

e-mail : arunbsuryawanshi [at] gmail [dot] com


Arun Suryawanshi is Academic Director of CANMAS - Contemporary and New Media Art School in Pune, India. He has also worked for, among other companies, Toonz, India, Jadoo Works, and Toonskool. Mr. Suryawanshi was educated at North Maharashtra University. Arun is a well known Indian artist.

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