Exploring the modern world with childlike glee
Dante Zaballa makes art like he’s having a party. Colors and shapes are flung around the room; lines twitch and wiggle; everything seems just the right amount of inebriated. We spoke with the Argentinean animator about his inspirations, his creative heroes, and his new commission for #ConnectedByLemonade.
Can you tell us a bit about the idea behind your Lemonade animation?
Oh, it was raining, and I was thinking about people with convertible cars, and how inconvenient it would be having a car with no roof on a rainy day.
Every time I’m walking and the rain catches me I feel an urge to run and sing songs, just like in the movie Singin’ in the Rain. I was never brave enough to do so, but all this nonsense came to my mind right before starting to draw…
Your style is loose, fun, and almost childlike (we mean that as a compliment!).
It took me a while to embrace my drawing limitations. I have no formal education and that always made me feel very insecure about my drawings.
At the moment I really enjoy drawing in a very simple, raw way and not thinking too much during the process. It’s weird, but the more I keep my mind out of the way, the more I enjoy drawing.
Whenever logic kicks in I know I’m in danger of overthinking stuff and blocking the creative process. Many times lines look clumsy as a result of uncalculated movements. I believe it’s in that gesture where things resemble childlike drawings, right?
At the same time, the colors you use remind me of the Fauvists, or of someone like Matisse.
Oh yeah, I love them. I love working with bright colors and I am also very attracted to the idea of representing things with colors that don’t necessarily match with reality.
For example, I try to avoid making blue skies. It is interesting seeing what happens if the sky is pink or green or purple. I really admire painters who do this by mixing paint in little pots. They are real alchemists of color!
Working digitally allows me to do all kinds of color tests very quickly.
Your animations have such a wonderful sense of movement — the viewer is sucked into the world you create. What software are you using?
Adobe Animate, because it’s easy and has a very intuitive interface.
It has its limitations, but I like that. Limitations usually contribute to generating a particular style, by narrowing the range of possibilities, forcing us to react and solve things in a practical way.
Regarding movement… I try to animate going forward, “straight ahead” as they say. That allows me to improvise on-the-go instead of planning in advance. That makes the process much more fun and hard to predict.
Who are some of your creative heroes?
What do you love doing when you’re not making art?
Whatever helps me move my skeleton and gets me out of my head. With the current pandemic around us, the possibilities of doing so are very condensed. But I enjoy hitting a ball against a wall; getting on a bicycle; and sometimes trying handstands in my room.