Gy­imah Gariba

Animation Magazine - - RIS­ING STARS -

Show Cre­ator/De­signer, Big Blue, Guru Stu­dio

When Gy­imah Gariba was a young boy grow­ing up in Ac­cra, Ghana, he was in­flu­enced by a wide range of an­i­mated shows and movies, from Dex­ter’s Lab­o­ra­tory and Wacky Races, to clas­sic Looney Tunes car­toons and Dis­ney fea­tures. When he was 18, he was ac­cepted into a B.A. pro­gram for illustrati­on as well as an­i­ma­tion. “My best friend helped me choose an­i­ma­tion be­cause I was re­ally into film at the time. It seemed like a good way to en­gage sto­ry­telling, mu­sic and act­ing while also get­ting to have in­put on vi­su­als,” he re­calls.

His first big break hap­pened when he in­terned as a char­ac­ter de­signer on the first sea­son of Black Dy­na­mite at Tit­mouse along­side some of his drafts­man he­roes. These days, he is over­see­ing his own show Big Blue at Toronto’s Guru Stu­dio. “Grow­ing up, I loved The Lit­tle Mer­maid and that gen­er­ated an in­ter­est in the mys­tery of the un­der­wa­ter world,” he notes. “The whole idea that it is as much of an un­ex­plored mys­tery as outer space was al­ways re­ally ex­cit­ing to me. I also al­ways wanted to tell a story that re­volved around kids be­ing there for each other and hav­ing the space to learn from one another in the ab­sence of adults.”

Gariba says he loves that the so­lu­tions of his job are usu­ally hid­den in silli­ness. “Story points and strong char­ac­ter jokes are de­cep­tively sim­ple to string through a good story,” he ex­plains. “The com­edy forces us to take a step back from the project and find the sim­plic­ity in the gag and not over think it all too much. The only way to know that what we’re do­ing is work­ing is when we’re laugh­ing. It’s a nice way to bal­ance out the stress of build­ing a world on a tight dead­line.”

“I’m in­spired by Richard Wil­liams, Gen­ndy Tar­takovsky and Brad Bird,” says the 27-year-old artist. “They all have an amaz­ing abil­ity to take an idea and find the com­edy, the heart and the ac­tion in it while still de­liv­er­ing a fresh story. They do a good job of find­ing bal­ance in their work and they tend to func­tion on a kid level just as well as on an adult level.”

He also has great plans for the fu­ture.“I hope to be­come a bet­ter sto­ry­teller and to move into writ­ing. Hav­ing been a part of pro­duc­tions at dif­fer­ent lev­els I’m re­ally in­ter­ested in how each depart­ment can el­e­vate the next. I’m in­ter­ested in get­ting into the core of an idea first on the page — then see­ing it through to its vi­su­al­iza­tion.”

Gariba leaves us with a great piece of ad­vice. “To con­sider the re­spon­si­bil­ity and priv­i­lege of help­ing oth­ers dream is not a skill to take lightly.”

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