NY-based Animator and Art Director
In 1999 Zartosht Soltani graduated from Fine Arts at Azad University of Arts at Tehran. One year later he moved to New York where he is now working as art director and illustrator for an animation studio called FlickerLab. There he works on different projects such as cartoons, TV commercials and broadcast design.
Shohreh Jandaghian– What is your educational background and what prompted you to move into a career in animation?
Zartosht Soltani– I started painting back home in Iran when I was a kid about 8 or 9… but I was always into animation and cartoons. Painting was a bit boring for me! Even later when I was in school my paintings turned out to be like still frames from an animation. My teacher Taha was awesome! He used to let me do what ever I wanted to do, but at the same time he was teaching me all the different techniques and medias. Basically my paintings were some cartoons done on canvas with oil colour. A goofy version of Rembrandt or Delacroix! I used to do this even later when I was in the university. Of course I had lots of problems with my professors who were into abstract paintings. It was like a crime to do this in that school! During all this time I used to do some little stupid animations to entertain my friends. I really can’t tell when I started. Somehow, I’ve always been into it. The last year of school when I got my green card and got a chance to move to the US, I had to choose between finishing school or coming here and doing animation. I chose to be here and said goodbye to painting, though I miss it sometimes! Who knows?! Maybe I’ll start again painting some day!
Shohreh- What are the positive and negative points of living outside your own country?
Zartosht- It is all positive! Of course it’s much harder to live in New York than Tehran. Here everything goes so fast and sometimes can be harsh and also lots of competition. But I think that’s why you feel more active and satisfied here. It makes a huge, huge difference in your work. Comparing to Iran with all those limitations and lack of something called Animation Industry, I have a lot to catch up here concerning my work, culturally and professionally.
Shohreh- What animation software packages do you prefer to work?
Zartosht- I work with Flash and After Effects. I worked with some other softwares like Animation pro and Harmony as well. But I think flash is so easy and friendly to work with. Even for big productions the result is so good that it looks like cell animation.
Shohreh- Name a few of the projects you’ve worked on in the past.
Zartosht- Recently I finished working on a pilot for Disney channel Directed by Harold Moss and a Halloween special graphic package for AMC (monsterfest). The 2nd one was so fun! It was the first live action project I have ever worked on. There was lots of compositing and special effects to do. We almost painted every single shot and created lots of elements using photographs.
Shohreh- Are you working on a current project as animator?
Zartosht- I have two animated music videos in progress for two underground O-hum and Kiosk , the Iranian Music Bands. it’s taken so long since it’s a side thing and you have to do everything yourself from design to animation and sound design with no budget. It’s hard but it keeps me alive. Otherwise I’ll go crazy by working on lots of commercials! It’s also the best way to find out what you know and what you need to know.
Shohreh- Can you offer any advice to those interested in producing their own animations?
Zartosht- I think working hard is the key to do anything. Work hard and put some love into it, and it will work!
You can see Zartosht artworks and animation at: http://www.zmandesign.com/
Image de scri ption:
An album cover for O-Hum, an underground band in Iran
Image de scri ption:
“Tin Tin in Tehran”, I did this cover for some of my friends who are hardcore Tin Tin fans… to make them laugh! There is no other story behind it!