Artist Spotlight: Harj Bains

Harj and Dallas strike a pose.

Harj and Dallas strike a pose.

This month’s Artist Spotlight is on our amazing compositing supervisor Harj Bains!

Harj started with Kickstart in late 2017 and is a major component in making our projects look polished and amazing. Along with animation and compositing, Harj also brings something important to the studio: his beautiful and sweet pitbull Dallas!

Harj was kind enough to answer our spotlight questions and tell us a bit more about his work both inside and outside of the studio.

What's your favourite colour combination?
Orange and Teal





Can you think of a particular piece of media that inspired you to become an artist?
Nothing in particular, but I’ve always been impressed by people who can balance beautiful yet complex designs. Like Moebius and Kilian Eng

Tell us about your personal projects.
I run a small boutique brazilian jiu-jitsu apparel brand. It’s a great way to marry my two great passions and watching it grow has been an ongoing source of joy. Apparel businesses are notoriously hard to get off the ground, and although it’s not huge, the signs of future potential are strong. I’m also launching a second brand this year, but I’m not ready to shout about it just yet!

What has been the high point of your career so far?
Honestly I can’t point to a single project that stands out above all others. I think the high point for me is just having a career I enjoy every day. I’ve been very fortunate to always feel like a small fish in a big pond. Being surrounded by amazing artists and finally accepting that I am one of their peers is an ongoing source of pride, and keeps me working hard.

What do you most want to improve in your work?
I could be a better draughtsman for sure, I’m so swamped with the businesses logistically, that honing my craft is secondary to constantly making new designs and coming up with new ideas.

Check out  @bainstore  to see some of Harj’s gorgeous apparel designs.

Check out @bainstore to see some of Harj’s gorgeous apparel designs.

What's your idea of a perfect Sunday?
Big breakfast (ideally waking up at a campsite), something outdoors with the dog, then some fishing/crabbing. Evening would be cooking some good food, wine and a movie. Solid instagram fodder.

What was your most memorable non-animation job?
I was a bartender from 18 and all through university, that really helped build my interpersonal skills and boosted my self-confidence, something I really needed as a young adult.

You’re stuck on a desert island with a laptop and a USB stick containing the entirety of one cartoon - what show is it?
Recess, they always found adventure in the mundane, which would probably help on a desert island.

Pick three cartoon characters that describe your personality.
I’m a worrywort so probably Morty of Rick & Morty, No-Face from Spirited away for it’s appetite, Wart from Sword in the Stone for his honest but naive nature.

What’s a piece of media you’ve consumed lately (tv, movie, music, podcast, etc) that has inspired you to create?
Bit grim but there’s a great WW2 doc on Netflix called WW2 in Colour, there’s a lot I didn’t know about that period of our history, and I think it’s important not to forget. It was also a period of very rapid technological advancement. I think there are some potential designs that can be done in a respectful, educational yet exciting and thought provoking way.

What’s on your work playlist?
MeatEater Podcast is a very esoteric podcast for hunters/outdoorsman, a lot of it is over my head but it’s fascinating and ultimately useful for the direction my life seems to be heading in.


Artist Spotlight: Sasha Duncan

Sasha and her #ThisIsAna co-conspirator, Athena Russel.

Sasha and her #ThisIsAna co-conspirator, Athena Russel.

It’s time for another artist spotlight, and this time we’re highlighting the wonderful work of one of our associate producers: Sasha Duncan! Having first joined us in 2014 at the front desk, Sasha has quickly risen to become an instrumental part of our production and development teams.

When she’s not in the Kickstart studio helping shape our projects and processes, she’s working on her own content as a writer, producer, director and editor.

Sasha’s latest work is the first season of her webseries #ThisIsAna, which was recently released and is now available to binge-watch! She also recently directed and edited a music video for Miki Montebello’s song “That One Way.”

What's your favourite colour combination? (2 or 3 colours)
Deep blue, medium rose and light yellow.

Can you think of a particular piece of media that inspired you to become an artist?
Films with a particular style and fantasy to them had a big impact on me growing up Edward Scissorhands and Pleasantville and The Craft. And then as I got older I sort of honed in on what I really love, which is just the story of a real person… because they can be pretty fantastical and crazy and weird. Bachelorette is a recent(ish) favourite.

What's your idea of a perfect Sunday?
Run by the beach. Coffee. A little editing or writing. Brewery with some buds. Home early enough to be able to do some meal prep. Tea. Sleeeeep.

The Cast of #ThisIsAna

The Cast of #ThisIsAna

What was your most memorable non-animation job?
Face painting at a circus. I was thirteen. It was nuts.

You’re stuck on a desert island with a laptop and a USB stick containing the entirety of one show - what show is it?
The Office (US). I will never get tired of it and it IS better.

Pick three characters that describe your personality.
Regina George, Daphne (from Scooby-Doo) and Leslie Knope.

What do you most want to improve in your work?
I’m still working on my confidence in communicating with actors about their performance in character in a way that’s collaborative and respectful (as a director) and while I’m the kinda of person who manually syncs sound and pays attention to where music and transitions meet, I have noooo idea what I’m doing when it comes to editing sound, and would love to improve there.

What’s on your work playlist?
Lately, Lou Val, JONES, and Omar Apollo