I’m Art Grootfontein, and I’m a freelance animation artist, designer and illustrator.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I would love to say that I was a submarine cook for the British army, or a pet taxi driver in Singapore, but I’m afraid I didn’t work on anything weird before I start my art carreer…
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I think I’m usually happy only with the very latest things I did… recently, I directed a TV spot for Yoplait which I’m really proud of. This spot had been aired during the 2013 Emmy Awards night. I had the chance to be in charge of the major part of the work (storyboard, design, animation) so it was pretty fun. And these days I’m working on something completely different : an fun eCard for JibJab, and I’m really enjoying working on it too.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Paris, France. I studied at the National School of Art & Design in Paris. There I learned graphic design and illustration.
I discovered later that animation was my true passion. I think I had a brain wave when I saw “Gruesomestein’s Monsters” from Mark Ackland and Riccardo Durante. I understood then I’d have to work on animation ! So I trained myself watching hours of TV animated shorts and series, frame by frame, in order to understand how all this magic was done ! Then I started doing stuff just for me, and when I thought I was ready, I started entering some contests. I had the chance to win a couple of ones, like this bumper for a company named myToons, who disappear a few years later (its aim was to be the “youTube” for animation… fail !)I also did an animated greeting card every year, sending it to everyone in the animation world to get my foot in the door! Gradually, people saw my work, and so I started working on “real” stuff !
First I eat some chocolate. I sit on my chair and check my mails, hoping I wouldn’t get too much retakes on the animation I sent the day before. Then I eat some chocolate, and I work on all the retakes I received by email. When I realize it’s the end of the day, I try to wash myself as fast as I can and I eat some chocolate. That’s it ! (Kids : don’t try this at home, it does’nt work so well)
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I love the beginning of a project, when everything is still possible. It’s the part where I feel I’m completely free to do what I want (even if i’m obviously not !) I don’t feel any stress at this time and I’m the more creative.
When Adobe Flash crashes !
Finding paid gigs and new clients is probably the hardest part of the job in my opinion.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
One day, there was no chocolate at the store.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I would love to have time to work on something I really care about, a series concept about a skate team, but I don’t have much to say since I did not do much right now…
But, I have to admit, I have a kind of everyday habit, but I’m not comfortable talking about it. The only thing I could say is that it has something to do with cocoa.