12-things we love about Rohitash Rao
- We met Rohitash Rao the week his exhibition was featured at Google in Venice Beach. Alexandra Dillon, an incredible artist, who has been featured here at TribeLA Magazine, recommended him to our audience. Rohitash is a painter, illustrator, art director, director of commercials, short films and music videos. He is also co-creator, with longtime friend Kathy Hepinstall Parks of UNDERBELLY comics. He is co-author of the adventurous and hilarious “Creature Keepers” and “Herbert’s Wormhole” book series featuring quirky characters and some of history’s best-known mythical beasts. We will explore the book series in our literary section.
- Rohitash was born in Hyderabad, India and grew up in Rancho Cucamonga, California. He is an alumnus of the Art Center College of Design and graduated with honors in 1991 and soon began a fruitful career in advertising as an art director. He created award-winning ads for Taco Bell, Little Caesars Pizza, Staples, Toyota, Energizer and Playstation. His work garnered prestige from the One Show, D&AD, the Clios, Cannes, Communication Arts and the AICP.
- His witty advertising creations got him a job as creative director at the Sci-Fi channel where he mastered even more award-winning work and where he directed many of the network’s show promos.
- Rohitash’s departure from advertising is when he began his career as an animator/director. He started directing with his friend Abe Spear, and they began a directing duo called UGLY PICTURES. Their Stop Motion short films got them into the Saatchi and Saatchi New Director’s Showcase at Canne’s 2005.
- In 2007 their “Battle of the Album Covers” went viral, getting over a million hits on YouTube and was written up in Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone. The “Album Covers” short got the attention of many bands and soon UGLY PICTURES started directing music videos. Since then Rohitash has gone solo and he has created several music videos that are a mix of live action and animation for My Morning Jacket, Poison, Sean Kingston, Colbie Caillat, A Great Big World and Capital Cities.
- His animated films have played in over 25 film festivals around the world, including TriBeCa, Woodstock, Ottawa, Annecy and The Spike and Mike Sick and Twisted Film Festival.
- In 2009 Rohitash and his longtime writing partner, Peter Nelson, published their first children’s book, “Herbert’s Wormhole” through Harper Collins. J.K. Rowling gave it a thumbs up and it soon led to a trilogy. The books are now sold all over the U.S., Brazil and Korea. Their second book series, “Creature Keepers” is a 4-book series and book 4 was released last October, 2017.
- In 2012 he and Peter created an animated pilot for Fox called “Rancho Cucamonga” that was based on Rohitash’s life growing up as the only Indian family living in Rancho Cucamonga. The pilot was produced by Lorne Michaels but as of yet has not been picked up.
- In 2015 Peter and Rohitash created a number of animated short films for Comedy Central called “Anau Jiram” which airs on an animated block of comedy called “Trip Tank.” Peter and Ro call this their “Beavis and Butthead” — about two idiot 20-something roommates who have surreal adventures. (“Anau Jiram” is “marijuana” spelled backwards.) So far they’ve created 9 shorts and they are voiced by comedians like Margaret Cho, Sarah Baker and Zach Pearlman.
- Besides his prolific animating and bookmaking career, Rohitash also finds time to paint. No matter what city he is in, he has always found random items of trash on the streets to paint on. His paintings reflect our cultural consumption created on the very things that we throw away. They are conceptual and clever and are a thought-provoking (and often funny) take on the way we live.
- He has been in several group shows including Tag Gallery (Santa Monica), Giant Robot (Santa Monica), the Ojai Art Festival (Ojai, California), Create Fixate (downtown LA), Parallax Art Fair (Venice), Mirror Mirror (Santa Monica Museum of Art), Gallery1988 (Hollywood) and the Venice ArtWalks.
- He had his first solo show at Fathom Gallery in Downtown L.A. in February 2016, his second solo show at Kustera Projects in Red Hook, Brooklyn in July 2016, and his third solo show (in collaboration with Kathy Hepinstall Parks) again at Fathom Gallery in January 2017. His fourth solo show was held at The Storefront Project Gallery in New York last September. Recently, 2018 got warmed up with Rohitash’s new show “Rohit Records” – A record store for bands that don’t exist. The first “Rohit Records” show was held at Google’s Venice office in March. The second show is currently on display at The Storefront Project Gallery in New York. And the third “Rohit Records” show will be held in an actual Record Store in Downtown L.A. from May to June.
If you would like to find out more about Rohitash, click on the links below: