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COVIDEOS – A Quarantine Movement

COVIDEOS – A Quarantine Movement
#Stayhome #MakeArt - The mantras that have been keeping us safe and sane during the quarantine these past two months. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down and locked us all up into our little boxes. With more time spent alone or with a few close ones, people have started looking inwards for inspiration and the result has been all sorts of creative expressions, seen cropping up all over the internet. We’ve seen (and shared) some fabulous art that we’ve seen around us. But today, we thought we’d shine a spotlight on a handful of creative individuals who decided to take their expression a step forward and create animated videos / GIFs / ultra-shorts and even some self initiated PSAs - of course on the theme of COVID! Bear in mind these are all self initiated projects. We raise our hats (and twitch our masks) to you.
COVIDEO DIRECTOR ONE
ROHAN BHATIA is an illustrator and animator based out of Mumbai, currently a student at NID, Ahmedabad. He has also started working on designing for a clothing brand with his brother.
Rohan-for-AGI
The COVID-19 Experience and how his art was affected by it:
For me the (quarantine) experience was very difficult for the first few days because I am not used to working in a confined space for a long time. But sooner or later I got used to it and with everything going on with the world, I though I can't be so whinny about it. So I started documenting whatever I felt. My art started driving inspiration from what is around. One of the things that happened is that people have a much wider audience now as they are consuming so much digital content. So I started making things that people could relate to.
The Realisation:
There was one such topic I started working on which dealt with housewives of India. During lockdown I realised that everyone at home couldn't go to their workspaces and was cribbing about it, except my mother. She was busy with household chores which also leads us to question, that it's not entirely her job, then why does she have to do everything?
On how the creative industry in India would change post lockdown:
Creators won’t be affected too much in terms of producing content because they would have an option to work from home and now since people will be glued to their devices, they would have viewership too. The only lack will be the inspiration to make those content. I feel it's really important to go out and have experiences in order to share experiences with others. Our visual scape has also changed now that people wear masks. It's more of a psychological change than it's technical.

 

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You can reach Rohan Bhatia at rohanbhatiaart@gmail.com
COVIDEO DIRECTOR TWO
GIRISH S. is a 2D animator and motion designer from Palakkad. An ex-Toonz Animation professional, he now freelances and creates innovative ideas in animation.
Girish-for-AGI
The COVID-19 Experience and how his art was affected by it:
Covid-19 was an unexpectable situation which was very difficult to go through but still the lockdown days opened up new dimensions of working style. I could learn things from scratch and experiment with new styles of work. Rather than being affected by it, it was an opportunity to improve my productivity and upgrade my skills. I could explore various aspects of animation and learn more techniques.
The Aha! Moment:
One unforgettable incident was that my work got featured on a prestigious social media platform. It was an honour to be a part of the Kerala Government’s Instagram page called "BREAK THE CHAIN"
On how the creative industry in India would change post lockdown:
New paths will be opened and creativity can bring forth new art forms / animations which may change the human thinking. The industry will transform entirely.

 

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You can reach Girish S. at kochug95@gmail.com
COVIDEO DIRECTOR THREE
DEBJYOTI SAHA is a visual storyteller and animation filmmaker, from Kolkata and based out of Mumbai. Currently he works as an Associate Producer at ESPN India. But his spare time is dedicated to a lot of personal projects and commissioned work.
Debjyoti-for-AGI
The COVID-19 Experience and how his art was affected by it:
It's been 3 months since the coronavirus pandemic broke out globally and forced everyone to restructure their lives according to it. Adapting to the sudden change has been challenging but I'm not complaining.
Life seems a lot more simple and balanced now.
The ideas of what is "essential" has changed drastically. I don't feel short of time as much as I did before. I realized that work gets done much more efficiently now, whether it’s handling projects or doing the dishes. I can get used to the idea of working from home, to be honest. Having a much more simple and balanced lifestyle has helped me focus on channelizing all my energy towards my work. The times are quite unique and challenging. It is interesting to observe how the world is coping with this sudden change in order and this fresh perspective does help in restructuring oneself to being truer, if not better.
The Inspiration:
There's something new happening everyday during this lockdown. We have all received a fair share of positive and negative news. But most of all, we realized how ridiculous we as humans can be. And how a deadly pandemic revealed much more deep-rooted problems that still exist in our society. The 'Korona' series documents my personal experiences about people being their ridiculous selves throughout this period of Lockdown.
On how the creative industry in India would change post lockdown:
The post COVID life will certainly be an interesting one. Things won't be back to normal anytime soon, instead, together we might establish a 'new normal'. While there are certain aspects of the creative industry that have been adversely affected as a result of this pandemic, other less popular areas like animation are receiving a fair amount of visibility and acknowledgement. All beings have an innate ability to adapt to its changing environment and I'm sure we as an industry will figure out the way forward and flourish in the near future.

 

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You can reach Debjyoti at debjyoti.saha56@gmail.com
COVIDEO DIRECTOR FOUR
SEKHAR MUKHERJEE is an experienced academician and animation professor presently based in (Namburu village) NID Andhra Pradesh, but his heart lies in Kolkata. Currently he is busy setting up the new NID campus but in his spare time he likes to laugh at himself and life through cartoon, caricature and comics.
Sekhar-for-AGI
The COVID-19 Experience and how his art was affected by it:
Well, I was always a slow animal and my favourite monster is the tram. COVID19 experience to me is a reminder to my slow life. This helps me to revisit some of our low key practice of minimalist lifestyle. Actually one can write a thesis during this lockdown time. Art manifests the truth and we manipulate this through design. I believe, earnings and art are two different things. One can earn by washing dishes and art is passion fruit. Life is my greatest inspiration… so let’s do the lockdown!
The COVID Reality:
My heart aches seeing the way we treated our frontline task-force and the many unsung COVID19 warriors … it saddened me … are we living in 21st century or are we sleeping?
On how the creative industry in India would change post lockdown:
Art can save the World. We need policymakers to start reading comics and acknowledge the power of art for a better future. Let's hope for the best as lockdown brought the humanism back to me forefront and we should not let it go….rest is in the hand of…

 

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You can reach Sekhar at sekharmukherjee@nid.ac.in
COVIDEO DIRECTOR FIVE
Jazyl-for-AGI
The COVID-19 Experience and how his art was affected by it:
To a ‘work from home’ artist, the experience is really not that new. Most of my work comes from abroad. Once we start our work, time just flies. However I am also a fitness buff and I love connecting with people so I definitely miss my gym and friends. Other than that, not much has changed. To be honest, work has only doubled. I’ve been using this lockdown time to amp up my promotion and social media skills. I conduct daily live streams through my Instagram account to connect with my fans and also give them a platform to share their work. Plus get some free time to work on my art style and comics as well so it’s all positive so far.
The COVID Boon:
Never really got the time or motivation to share my work online to resonate with my audience. I'm also getting more time to connect with the stray animals in my area. I'm a big time animal lover.
On how the creative industry in India would change post lockdown:
When it comes to animation, ‘work from home’ has never been off the tables. However the problem is that not every animator working in a studio will be able to afford the softwares at home. I’m self sufficient so it’s all cool, but a lot of people may have various hurdles working from home. But I’m sure the companies creating the software will come up with something like portable licenses for studios so that employees can use the softwares but coordination is a whole different beast when multiple animators work on the same project and the pipeline consists of more than 10 people. 2 months of lockdown is too early to tell though.

 

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You can reach Jazyl at jazylhomavazir@gmail.com
COVIDEO DIRECTOR SIX
VIVEKANANDA ROY GHATAK is the co-founder of the animation studio Rocket Science Animation. He is based out of Hyderabad but sometimes works out of Gurgaon as well. For fun, he chronicles his son's precociousness in a comic format “hoping to cash in big time” hopefully before he collapses on his light-box. (You can check out his wonderful comic art on his Instagram page.)
Vivek-for-AGI
The COVID-19 Experience and how his art was affected by it:
COVID has been a chaotic circus for me in every sense of both words. Between working, babysitting, in-door cricket, drawing a thousand Spiderman drawings for my son to colour, cooking and realizing how there is absolutely nothing to watch on Netflix, I have managed to upgrade my roti making skills far more than my life drawing skills! Honestly, the things going on in our country in the last 5-6 months had left me so bitter, angry and frustrated as an artist that the minor inconvenience of the lockdown was really not even an inconvenience. On the work front we had to get more organised and embrace this new way of working which is going to be a norm rather than an exception. Work pace has doubled during this time though, since many projects that are not possible to shoot, are now being re-commissioned in animation.
My COVID Style:
I shaved of my hair by mistake while trying to trim it! (pic attached above!)
On how the creative industry in India would change post lockdown:
I think the creative industry will blossom after the lockdown. Most creative professionals have, by this time, discovered how valuable the time that we have in a day is. In many cases and certainly in our case, our output in work has actually increased with the increased time pressure rather than decrease.
This time has forced each creative individual to focus on their CRAFT and re-evaluate their priorities in life, due to which they will be more focused on what they want to achieve from here on.
Creativity rises with constraints. People are already doing shoots remotely, figuring out newer softwares to help in productivity and communication and coming up with many other innovative ways to work in their respective fields. For the creative business, budgets will be slashed and that will force people to come up with new formats of storytelling and animation, design innovative treatments and think up newer stories to tell as well.
You can reach Vivek at vroyghatak@gmail.com
COVIDEO DIRECTOR SEVEN
PARTHA MAHANTA is an animation graduate from NID, currently in his hometown of Guwahati. He is hoping to start his new position at Samsung, Bangalore as soon as the lockdown permits, and he likes to make animation films both for work and fun! Apart from that, Partha is a fan of cricket and stand-up comedy.
Partha Mahanta mug shot
The COVID-19 Experience and how his art was affected by it:
Most of the day I spend sleeping and the nights, working. Not being able to go out much bothered me for a while but got used to it by now. Also I think it's a good opportunity to spend time with the family. I don't think my art/creativity has been affected much because of the lockdown. I had planned to go out sketching during this break but instead I'm continuing to work on the laptop. Maybe I have become a little less productive, but I was planning to rest a little anyway because college just got over. So can't really say if it's because of the lockdown or not.
COVID for content!
Every time Modi planned to address the nation I saw it as an opportunity to make something. I was looking for content in his speech every time... But yeah, I could do that because I had the privilege of living in my house without much to worry about.
On how the creative industry in India would change post lockdown:
The creative industry has a lot of people under it. If I speak for animation, we could always work from home but the people who go out and shoot, perform to mass people, etc. have been hit majorly. We could come together and help each other out in any way we can. As for the audience, I hope that the creative industry brings them closer rather than dividing them.

 

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