The Hands that make Sand talk

Rahul Arya 2
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We have heard of 2D, 3D, computer generated animation and even hand drawn classical animation for that matter, but there are lesser used techniques like glass paint animation, stop-motion and sand animation; speaking of which we recently got in touch with sand art animation artist, Rahul Arya, a 25 year old creative guy, who has gained recognition with a new style of animation just by using ‘Hand and Sand’.

Having the urge of being out of the box since his college days, Rahul has truly stood apart from the other animators by contributing enthralling videos of sand art animation. All the videos have a social appeal, a strong message coupled with neat animation that will strike a chord within you. A computer engineer by profession, Rahul completed his animation degree from IIT Bombay and then followed his distinctive dream.

Being Experimental

“One day my friend challenged me to do a different kind of animation, I didn’t have any equipments, so I used what I could find around me,” explains Rahul. And it began from there…Rahul tried sand animation and realised that it came out well. He then sent in one of his sand art video for the show ‘Entertainment ke liye Kuch bhi Karega’. Expecting no reply from their end, he was shell shocked when the show recognised his work and called him for the auditions. The rest as they say is history… He came up with his first sand art project called Hand vs Sand where he used 3 layered animation which took 4 months to wrap the whole video. And here is how it looked!


Self Taught

Inspired by the Canadian-American sand art animator, Caroline Leaf, Rahul was awe struck by the whole unique concept. So, he had an idea and now he wanted to execute it. ‘You learn any game only by playing it’ and Rahul began playing this unique game. He began creating his own sand art, drawing characters, different backgrounds and creatures. “There is no course to teach Sand Art Animation, and no coaching classes as well, so I had no option. You yourself are the best teacher of your life,” says Rahul. Today having set-up his own Flying Rock Studio, he has a small team of 7 people who help him to shoot the sand art, manage the light, add music and edit the clips on FCP with some added special effects using Adobe After Effects.

Sand art 5

No Margin For Error

“You can’t capture Sand Art Animation forever; it is a transformation from one frame to another. Although every frame is beautiful you have to let it go,” claims Rahul. All his videos have characters developing from one to the other. The sand art moves in a continuous innovative flow and takes you from one story to another. The videos will keep you hooked all the time because at every moment some new art is unfolded, some new character is born and the background changes in a smooth way. “And there is no turning back, for once you start creating a character, you always move ahead…If you do some mistake you have to clear everything and start from scratch,” explains Rahul. Thus, this seems a tiring and prolonged process which has to be completed with minimum errors.

It’s Not About The Money

The scope of animation in India is limited and so a new emerging form of animation is bound to not receive deserving recognition. More than that, the financial support is low. Facing all this challenges, Rahul says, “I am passionate about the work that I do. I am emotionally attached to every art when I draw it. I don’t love just the final art but I enjoy the entire process – from the beginning till the end.” This form of animation does not have much of financial investment for there are no expensive equipments involved yet there is no financial output from this style. Rahul says, “People appreciate and criticise the talent but they don’t want to try it out because it is a hectic process”, admits Rahul.

Honest Tribute To Indian Cinema

Cinema is not only about the Khans and Kapoors, there is more to it and Rahul portrayed this is in a beautiful sand art animation video- 100 years of Bollywood in 200 sec. The video begins with the Father of Indian cinema – Dadasaheb Phalke’s Raja Harishchandra (1913), continuing the journey with the emotionally driven Mother India (1957), the movie of the century Sholay (1975), followed by the simple story of Lunch Box (2013) and finally the visual treat of celluloid Bahubali – The Beginning (2015) and many more. The transition is creatively displayed as each film has given birth to another in the art and in reality as well. “The children of today don’t know the jewels of Indian cinema. They feel it is all about the hero but I feel ‘Content is the Hero’; thus, I wanted to exhibit this with my small attempt,” expounds Rahul. This 200 sec video was completed in just a week of concentrated efforts solely by Rahul and two other artists who helped him in the lighting and shoot. And the video says it all…

One Man Can Make A Difference

“I always complained that there is corruption in the society and nothing is changing, but my father told me that you need to bring about the change yourself. So, I intend to give a message in every video by highlighting delicate issues like Nepal earthquake, Peshawar attack, the importance of a mother, tributes to various important personalities and so on,” exclaims Rahul who creatively brings out emotions to touch sentiments.

In the era of startups, Rahul Arya diligently justifies the thought- ‘Do what you love’. A unique artist who is passionate about his art and has made a name for himself, Rahul humbly declares, “Money is not everything! You can’t follow your passion if you want to do it only for money.” So, find joy in everything that you love to do and make a difference to others’ lives.

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