What is your name and your current occupation?
Goran Bukvic. I call myself a Concept Artist.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I directed and hosted a radio show in Sarajevo, Bosnia during the war. I was also a war journalist and a reporter. Before that, my family owned a chain of pastry shops so I was a part time pastry chef for a while. During the first months in Canada (end of ’94), I did security on movie sets and sold alarm systems door to door.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Some of my favorite ones have either been canned or are still in production, so I can’t really say what they are. I will say that I did some work for Batman, Tron, and Halo and those were all tons of fun to work on. Challenging but fun.
How did you become interested in animation?
I suppose it was a combination of my lifelong love for art and interest in comic books and cartoons. It also seemed like a good career choice in terms of financial stability and finally being able to be a professional artist. Boy, was I wrong. Stability is definitely not the best word to describe this business.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Originally, I’m from Sarajevo, Bosnia. I studied fine arts there, influenced by my sculptor father who pushed me pursue art since I was a toddler. That was interrupted by series of unfortunate events which brought me to Canada, where eventually I decided to pursue doing art for the entertainment industry. I applied to Sheridan College famous Classical Animation program, got accepted and that was that.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I’m 100% freelance so I work in my own time and at my own pace. I wake up naturally, have my coffee and a pack of smokes and slowly ease into the work day. I communicate with my clients via email or phone and once I know what I’m doing, I zone in and let the creative juices flow. I usually work into the night or until I run out of gas.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I’m a solitary artist and I like to be alone when I work. Doing freelance allows me that and that’s probably what I like best about my job. If I feel creative or have a good idea at 3am, I can get the work done and take the next day off. I truly believe that you can’t bottle a creative force into a 9-5 bracket and expect optimal results. Creative juices are tricky and they flow best when they flow freely.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I have a three monitor setup, one of which is 21″ Cintiq. I also use a large Wacom Tablet. My software of choice is Photoshop, I find it does everything I need.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Not knowing what’s next, but that’s also the best part. The real difficulty of being a pro artist is the perception the public generally has about artists and the notion that you don’t necessarily have to get paid for your work. I get asked to do free work very often and sometimes even by established companies that have budgets for everything else but conceptual work. If I were a dentist, I’m pretty sure I would never get asked to do a filling or cleaning for free. This perception upsets me and insults me and insults everything I have worked hard for my whole life. Yes, art is something I would do anyway but if I’m not getting paid I would rather work on my own stuff. Makes sense?
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I don’t quite understand the question but if it means have I ever met a famous animator, then no. Actually, I did see Craig Mullins in Montreal one time and as much of a fan as I am, I didn’t come up to him to introduce myself. He was doing a workshop and fans were all over him and I didn’t want to be one of them. I regret it though.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I lived through a civil war and saw all kinds of nasty things. Describing them would probably be better fitted for an interview of another kind.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
When I’m not doing gigs I usually paint large oils. Trying to find out who I am as an artist and if given all the freedom in the world, what would I paint and how. You can check in with me in a few years and find out if I discovered anything substantial.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I can smoke three packs of cigarettes without feeling bad in the morning.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Don’t try to be someone else, work on being you. You are original.