Erik Dehkhoda is a Los Angeles born native, first generation of a German family. He spent the early part of his youth growing up in the Hollywood Bronson Canyon area. His Grandfather often took him up to visit the Griffith Observatory where his love ... [more]
Erik Dehkhoda is a Los Angeles born native, first generation of a German family. He spent the early part of his youth growing up in the Hollywood Bronson Canyon area. His Grandfather often took him up to visit the Griffith Observatory where his love for Science Fiction art was born.
At age 7 Erik was moved back to Germany where he began to study Medieval art and 17th Century Renaissance art. He was later introduced to the “Bauhaus” movement in Berlin along with Keltic and Gothic art. He also eventually became fascinated with Indo Tabrizian and Safavid miniature art forms.
During his teenage years he was completely consumed with Surrealism and Fantasy art and of course, Sci-Fi art. He began experimenting with digital art in the late 80’s and later studied digital art & design during the early 90’s in Stuttgart, Germany under the close guidance of Dieter Brodbeck and Rolf Zukowski, (two digital pioneers who developed for Quark and Adobe). After finishing school he relocated to a small quiet village in Denmark to decompress from it all.
A year later Erik was living in Sweden studying Skandinavian art & architecture. He was deeply inspired by a Summer trip he had taken with his family to Narvik, Norway, (Arctic Circle). where he had photographed and illustrated countless Viking castles and ruins. One day a close friend called him and told him to hurry back to Los Angeles because the “Digital Art Age” was hitting full sail and he felt that Erik’s moment had arrived.
In 1994 Erik was back in Los Angeles creating 3D digital art for MTV’s first mini-series, “Dead at 21”, and also a film in production at MCA/Universal. That same year he was introduced to his, (as he calls), “Favorite Finn” architectural mentor, Richard Moren from Landmark Entertainment.
1995 was a pivotal year for upcoming CG animated films and Warner Bros was feeling the pressure from Disney’s “Toy Story” already two years into production. Erik had been experimenting in his spare time with creating a 3 Dimensional model of Bugs Bunny in his home studio. By chance WBs had been informed of what Erik was up to and the studio asked him to come in and give a demonstration of his work. He was commissioned by Frank Espinosa and Dan Romanelli at WBs to produce and create the “3D Looney Tunes” project. Chuck Jones mentored and critiqued Erik on the project, which later led to his winning the
“Best New Media Producer” award at the Hollywood Film Festival. Erik started receiving an abundance of enthusiasm from the press for his work.
That same year Erik was a speaker at the Governor’s Council on Arts & Entertainment where he expressed the need for an Accredited Digital Arts degree in California. Due to this effort the American Film Institute invited him to develop and instruct a digital curriculum at their campus. He also became aligned with the California Arts Council, (CAC), CA Culture Net and many other State and National educational entities. Erik on occasion faced some bias from older Professors who felt he was too young for the responsibility, but then again, digital art was also very young at that stage and being developed as it evolved.
1996 Erik was recruited into Disney Feature Animation to work on “Dinosaur”. He brought with him several sponsors from Autodesk, Adobe and other software firms to integrate the 3D, bitmap and vector technologies they were using on their desktop systems. Disney’s “Core-3D” & “New Technologies” groups had Erik demonstrate these technologies on a monthly basis. Upon returning to Apple, Inc., Steve Jobs invited Erik up to a private meeting in Cupertino to exhibit his digital work created on the Mac.
1997 Erik left Disney to pursue a 3D animated short that he wrote and co-directed with Oscar winning Swiss Surrealist, H. R. Giger. One Summer day while they were standing in line to get on the “Haunted Mansion” ride at Disneyland, Giger pointed out in conversation to Erik that he had become so digital, he was not even touching a pencil or paintbrush anymore. Erik took strong note of what Giger said and started to rediscover his own artistic origins.
1998 Erik went to work for Richard Moren up at Industrial Light & Magic where he successfully acheived a balance between conventional & digital art. He also became the „3D Ambassador“ for IBM’s research Dept.
To date Erik has evolved into a successful Visual Effects Supervisor on numerous film sets and has contributed CG Art to various feature films and television series’. He has also been an Adjunct Professor teaching 3D/2D CG at the AFI and The Otis Art Institute. He has lectured at the Filmakademie in Stuttgart, School of Visual Arts in NY, UCLA, The Pasadena Arts Center and various other campuses. He consults Disney, IBM, Apple and Warner Bros on occasion.
Bio compiled by Sandy Barret at Adobe Systems, Inc. and Warner Bros & Disney PR Depts.