We had the good fortune of connecting with Arius Ziaee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Arius, what matters most to you?
What I value most is being open minded and non judgmental. There’s of course healthy judgment, but I’m talking about deciding you don’t like something or someone before really interacting. I used to get so caught up in trying to make art in a particular and consistent way and would constantly analyze and judge my work, which made art making burdensome. Once I started experimenting with different ways of creating and let up on consistency it opened me up and I spent less time overthinking and found so much creative freedom and intuitive expression. Art making can be fun, personal and cathartic, don’t let it become something that’s competitive or compared and judged. Moving away from judgment and being more open minded has opened my world to so much, such as meeting lots of wonderful people, discovering lots of amazing music, going to exciting events. Explore anything that you are mildly interested in, try every art medium, get messy, dance naked on a mountain, run around screaming and make a fool of yourself. I have all the respect in the world for bold and courageous people and art and I believe judgment is the main component that can hold someone back from exploring wonderful things.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m Arius Ziaee, I’m a freelance Animator/Illustrator and a current student at CalArts studying Experimental Animation. I specialize in creating absurd, expressive characters in surreal nature and I utilize weaving loops for creating scenes and character movement. My style revolves around lots of wrinkly organic figures and focuses on expressive and abstract faces. My film work explores ideas of existentialism, memory and mental illness through my wonky characters. I use a fusion of traditional animation techniques and experimental digital methods. I also make my own music for my films and have a solo music project called Butter Bean. For freelance work I mostly work with musicians, animating music videos or visualizers. I also illustrate album covers, t-shirt designs and posters. I am a big music lover so working with musicians is a really exciting gig and I have worked with so many different musicians that cover lots of genres such as Pop, EDM, Indie Rock, Shoegaze, Ambient Noise, and Black Metal. So if you make music that is out there and you’re interested in what I do I would love to work with you, I’m into pretty much everything. I’m excited about a personal short film that I have been chipping away at since September 2020 about a hermit coping with a mind out of control. The structure of the film is a poem with limited visuals which devolves into a traditionally animated gauche painted 500+ frame sequence. The short has been my way of coping through quarantine and I’ve spent a lot of time piecing it together so I’m excited to wrap a bow on it and share it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There are lots of great spots in LA, my absolute favorite space is the Museum of Jurassic Technology. It is this fantastical museum that takes place in a labyrinth like space and it’s filled with peculiar art pieces, dioramas, and so many other surprises. Every time I visit the museum it’s completely mind boggling and feels like you’ve stepped into another world, I cannot recommend visiting this gem of a space enough. Another incredible spot is the Almighty Opp puppet theater that takes place on the last Saturday of every month on the street corner of Western and Elmwood, Koreatown. Imagine sitting on the corner of a street with a community of a bunch of other puppet viewers being serenaded with lovely guitar and carnival music while watching marionettes play fun characters and do very unexpected things. It’s extremely magical and wholesome and the show has some amazing surprises and turns. Obviously the show is on hiatus now, but I’m sure it will pick back up after all of this passes by, it is one of the most whimsical events I have ever attended. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
For my first shoutout I pick, Kate Renshaw-Lewis. Kate has been an incredibly important and inspirational person in my life, she fully encompasses a free and explorative outlook towards art making and every medium she explores she nails. From animation to ceramics to crocheting to welding, she’s an endless basket of inspiration. Kate’s work revolves around soft nurturing creatures and explores relationships with memory and nudity. Her films are incredible and heartfelt and continuously entertaining, I recommend looking up her most recent animated short “Dinner Time” and also look out for her upcoming thesis film which is going to be absolutely incredible. For my second shout out I picked my good buddy Harrison Wyrick. He is a creative powerhouse, from the speed and quantity of his creative output to the consistently hilarious shorts he generates. His work is so absurd and chaotic, yet wholesome and heartfelt, it feels as if a bunch of goblins and goons are in a circle around you yelling in unison, but all they want is to be your friend. Harrison plays with raw, tactical digital mediums, such as MS paint reminiscent illustrations, stock footage, “YouTube poop” iMovie editing and absurd costumes. Love his boldness and insanity and if you’d like to experience some really fun content highly recommend looking at his new music video he made with Parker Davis for Folie called “Clean2”