We had the good fortune of connecting with Kanthi Ananthagopal and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kanthi, what role has risk played in your life or career?
“Risk” often has inherently negative connotations, but we often forget risk taking can be a good thing. I believe that taking risks is important in your career, especially when you are young and more adaptable to change. Two Years ago I took one of the biggest risks of my life making a career transition from Architecture to Entertainment. This definitely came with a fair share of challenges but even the smallest rewards I earn is much better than if I hadn’t. Contrarily, when I take chances and don’t achieve the results I expect, I learn lessons that are more valuable in the long run. In either case, there is no wrong. I often found myself “waiting for the right moment” or believing that I needed to be patient in my desire for things to fall into place. But that’s nonsense. Think of taking risks as taking actions – “Why wait?” “Why not now?” “What are you waiting for to make your hopes and aspirations a reality now?” I had to change my attitude. Risks play a significant role in my life and work because taking a risk means I’m betting on myself.

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 am a Designer and Architect from India located in California and I specialize in visual development and production design for Themed Entertainment and Film & TV. When it comes to the path that I took to get to where I am now in my career, I started by completing a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture. The course truly built my design foundation and helped me develop a myriad of technical skills in 3D visualization. technical drawings and functional design strategies. During my time as a licensed Architect I felt myself drawn to how a space could influence human experience and support user interactivity. This passion and curiosity is what pushed me to pursue a Masters in Scene Design. The decision to transition to the entertainment industry was driven by the ideology of creating a multitude of make-believe worlds with no restrictions but only imagination. My approach to designing an environment is strongly driven by narrative and character. I spend a good amount of time in the research and development of an aesthetic that is strongly influenced by the story. I work to convey my creative thoughts in a variety of visual forms that best serves the purpose. I am able to pay attention to detail while still maintaining the bigger picture with a holistic approach to the creative process. I try to maintain a balance between fantasy and reality, it is very important for me to realize a design that would factually support the narrative direction. It has always been in my interest to be able to create experiences that help one escape life momentarily but also one that evokes an emotional response.
I’m most proud of all the risks I’ve taken as an artist in my career. I’ve learned to embrace new innovative challenges without fear of failure. I’m looking forward to what the rest of this year has in store for me as a professional, as well as what I can do to continue to develop and expand my skills. I’d like to remind everyone that opportunities will indeed present themselves, and most of the time, it’s worth taking the risk because there’s no reason not to if you’re doing something you want/love to do. I’m still on this path, and I’m still discovering new stuff about myself and see where they take me.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Lucky for me Los Angeles has an endless find of exciting places to visit. I think one one of my favorite spots is Santa Monica Pier. It was one of the first places I visited when I moved to LA two years ago and the arcade, food and lights definitely brought out the inner child in me. The pandemic definitely cut short my chances to explore this crazy city but I have a long list of must-dos when things get back to normal. I am looking forward to a tour of the Vineyards in Malibu, kayaking with sea lions in Marina Del Rey, hikes in the Pacific Palisades, an afternoon exploring Griffith Observatory or just a relaxing day at the beach. Honestly, Los Angeles is such a diverse city that has something to offer for everyone. Whether you want to visit the theme parks, spend a day at the museums, tour the famous Hollywood landmarks or hike up to the Hollywood sign I can assure you that your experience will be unique and exciting.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
When I think about this, just so many people come to mind, which is a nice problem to have. There are many people and opportunities who have contributed to who I am and what I have accomplished so far in my life. First and foremost, I am blessed with the most supportive and caring family. My parents have always encouraged me to pursue my goals, while also focusing on my personal strengths and pushing me to be the best version of myself. My sister who has provided me with a supportive environment for me to thrive in during my professional journey. I am blessed and wouldn’t be here without my amazing family. The second group of people I will have to include are the extraordinary faculty of the Applied Arts program at California Institute of the Arts and all of my fellow peers with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working. To my professors, you all have taught me so much not only in honing my skills but also in my capabilities as an artist. To my talented peers, every time we have collaborated, I’ve taken that experience to continue to learn and grow from each of them, and appreciate all their knowledge and patience. CalArts has been instrumental in my career transition and I am grateful to now be a part of this beautiful creative community. Last but not least, I was fortunate enough to form real, authentic friendships along the way, which have supported, molded, and helped me develop, and which continue to do so with great love. Even when I have doubted myself you have been there to cheer me on. There are so many to name, but you all know who you are, and I am thankful for each and every one of you.

Website: https://www.kanthiananthagopal.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kanthi_a/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kanthi-ananthagopal/

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