We had the good fortune of connecting with Kiran Patel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kiran, what’s the end goal, career-wise?
My passion for telling stories began at a young age– I often would create expansive and fantastical worlds in my imagination, and use whatever was in my reach to bring these worlds to life. As an only child, I had to stay creative to keep myself entertained, and I had no shortage of characters and storylines to lose myself in. The more I continued to grow, the more stories I would dream of and immerse myself in. I found myself drawn to the works of Pixar and Ghibli, and as I began watching more and more animated films– the more I desired to bring a story to life in the same way.
The characters of a story have always entranced me the greatest. When reading fiction novels, I often find myself illustrating their features in my imagination, and fabricating an image for a character only alive in words. As I started gravitating towards my goals as an artist and within the animation industry– I knew my heart was set on design. Animation itself is magic, and the design within animation is what makes the animated stories feel charming and nostalgic. Bringing characters to life from an idea to a living, breathing, sentient is the magic I desire to hone.
My designs are a representation of who I am. Every character and story I tell has pieces of my culture, heart, and passion– something I deeply enjoy sharing with others. Moving forward in my career– I hope to reach more and more people with my characters, and create characters that people can see themselves in and relate to.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I believe art is a way of communicating one’s perspective to others. My perspective on the world, as everyone’s is unique and constantly in flux, and the stories I tell through this lens brings entertainment to myself, and hopefully to others as well. One thing I have learned through observation is simply to draw as you see, and that in itself is your style and worldview. As a younger artist I often mimicked techniques of artists I admire– and while that taught me many skills, it didn’t aid me in creating unique work.
Through my studies at CalArts, I have continued learning ways to turn observation into my work. I have found joy in watching the world thrive around me, from the smallest blades of grass in the wind, to a faint conversation between friends. The beauty of observation in my eyes is that there are so many stories happening all around you, and to find them you just have to take a minute and observe.
I want viewers of my work to feel as if they are within my stories, and give them a sense of wonder to look into their own worlds and find the stories in them.
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.
I am known among my friends as a planning fiend– and I enjoy making a good itinerary, so I could not be more excited to share my favorite city in the world with you, or anyone who is willing to come along with me!
I was born and raised in the Bay Area, and would spend many of my days in beautiful San Francisco. SF is rich with gorgeous views of the Bay, restaurants of every cuisine, and charming cafes on every block. The neighborhoods are rich and diverse, and each have their own unique charm.
My go to places when taking people who haven’t visited SF before would be the Ferry Building– which boasts an impressive number of booths selling foods to fresh produce, all of the finest quality. I come here often to grab a quick brunch before starting a day of touring the city. The cable cars of SF are a tourist must-go, but also provide a convenient and scenic way to get around. The streets are steep, yet easy to navigate– and one could spend hours winding through them, and you are sure to find some of the best food and coffee you have ever had. A couple of my favorite places to snack, feast, and sip are: Barzotto, Penny Roma, Marufuku Ramen, Stonemill Matcha, Cafe Reveille, Mac’d, Cotogna, and The Mill.
There is something for every type of person here, whether you are the outdoorsy type, a foodie, a creative, or a techie– SF is the closest thing to a perfect metropolis in my eyes. It is a beautiful intersection of your typical concrete jungle and nature and with so many things to do within its 7 mile radius– there is always something new to discover. I have yet to come across a place quite like SF, and much of my art is inspired by her.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I take much pride in my achievements, and consider myself an ambitious individual– a trait that was nurtured by a strong support system. At the head of this system is my mother. She has always pushed me– at times harder than I would’ve liked– to succeed in whatever I had my sights on. She would always offer critique of my work, as she knew I could always do a bit better than whatever I was showing her. Her commitment to making sure I put my all into every piece, venture, and application is why I am where I am today– and why I know I will continue to bring my ambitions to fruition.