Our featured animator for February is Piya Pahwa. Pahwa is a master of vector style 2D animation who got her start when she enrolled in the animation program at Savannah College of Art & Design in 2013.
Inspired by Disney at a young age, she didn’t realize that animation could really be a career.
“I was always interested in art and started taking courses in filmmaking throughout high school, but it never registered to me that someone was making these animated films that I was so in love with,” Pahwa says.
She interned at Cartoon Network and has done a lot of commercial and promotional work for local Atlanta musicians including King Faro, 6 Dogs, Young Gunna and the band Starbenders. And she has a lot of upcoming projects in the works.
“I have been collaborating with long-time friend and photographer Shelsea Doran to create photo manipulations that aim to surprise the viewer and are more experimental,” says Pahwa. “My teammates Dhimanth Rao, Dylan Collard, and I also received second place in the Reallusion Asiagraph 2018, 48-hour animation jam, for the short film “It’s Okay to Cry”.”
In this ever-changing medium that is animation, Pahwa has her sights set on one day becoming a creative producer.
“Having worked on such a wide range of projects in all kinds of mediums, I am hoping that as a creative producer I can help develop interesting content from the starting point and continue to experiment with different aesthetics depending on what kind of style the project demands,” says Pahwa.
When it comes to her favorite style of animation, she prefers stop motion, and it’s pretty easy to see why. “I think stop motion can really challenge viewers and show them materials that they recognize manipulated in ways they wouldn’t expect,” she says. “It’s also the form of animation that is easiest to grasp, making it a playground for both beginners and experts, and I love that versatility.”
As for the current state of the animation industry, Pahwa is all on board, and can’t wait to see how things shift in years to come. “From animated series to feature films, shorts, video games and apps we can see quite a range of stories, styles and audiences that enjoy animation,” says Pahwa. “It can be altered to appeal to children, young adults, families and everything thing in between.”
Pahwa is living the dream she didn’t realize was possible. A lot of people consider themselves animation fans, but we often forget that there are actual people creating the films we idolize. All the pieces came together for her when SCAD came to her high school, and now she’s ready to move to the forefront.
“Personally, I can’t wait to see what’s coming next, and I hope I get to be a part of this new exploration.”