Studying animation at Sheridan certainly wasn’t in Ravinder Kundi's original plan. Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Kundi received traditional art training by correspondence before moving to London at 17 to pursue his arts education.
During this time he met a woman who gave him her application to Sheridan’s animation program as she had decided not to apply. His interest piqued, Kundi completed the program application portfolio requirements in one afternoon and barely made the submission deadline. Knowing the animation program’s limited enrolment and high admission standards, he wasn’t hopeful. So he cemented plans to study illustration at university in the U.K.
As fate would have it, Kundi learned he had been accepted into Sheridan’s animation program the day before he left England to visit his sister in Toronto. The trip to Canada was an 18th birthday present from Kundi’s sister who was attending the University of Toronto. The young artist’s future was sealed following a visit to Sheridan during his trip. “After I saw the artwork on display, I knew in my heart that Sheridan would be my life now. This is where I belong,” Kundi says. “I went straight to the International Student office and accepted the offer.”
Once at Sheridan, he was a bit intimidated. “I had never drawn a cartoon before but I was surrounded by such great students and teachers,” recalls Kundi who graduated in 2002. “Sheridan was the best time of my life.”
Today, young artists have much to learn from Kundi who has gained worldwide experience in the 3D feature animation, stop motion and visual effects industry. Since September 2014, he has been a Visual Development Artist at Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles California, conceptualizing characters and environments in 3D. Kundi joined Paramount following three and a half years at DreamWorks. Previous work has taken him to studios across the globe, including Animal Logic (Australia), Aardman Animation (England), Sony Imageworks, Berlin Film Company (Germany) and Cuppa Coffee (Canada). Kundi’s credits include Home, Penguins of Madagascar, Rock Dog, Happy Feet 2, Arthur Christmas, Happy Never After, Legend of the Guardians and The Tale of Despereaux. The 3D set of Paris he created for the film Home is pictured above.
His current role allows him to collaborate with all levels of production using a variety of skills such as modelling, design and surfacing. It is Kundi’s combination of technical skills – including 3D animation – and his traditional art background that have proven key to his success. That, and the relationships he has made along the way, says Kundi. “It’s the connections that get you the next job and make it all worthwhile, no matter where you are. It’s all about the people.”
Seeing my work on the big screen is like a snapshot of my life. I can reflect upon how I changed as an artist and as a person during that time.
He is thrilled to be in an industry where he has a chance to work with people he has admired for so long who have now become friends. “That’s what keeps me inspired all the time.”
It’s also a unique experience to be able to see your work mirrored on the big screen, Kundi adds. “It’s like a snapshot of my life. Whatever scene comes up, I remember what I learned about myself during that time. I can reflect upon how I changed as an artist and as a person.”