Arezou Art podcast Arezou Art podcast

At the start of the pandemic, animation artist Arezou Ramezani was feeling especially disconnected from festivals, events, and others who shared her passion for animation. The London-based Iranian artist shared with Cartoon Brew how a constant desire to create, learn, listen to other artists’ stories, and pass on her own knowledge helped inspire her to launch a podcast, Arezou Art, last August.

Arezou Ramezani
Arezou Ramezani

Ramezani’s journey into animation began like many others: discovering it as a child, constantly drawing, consuming animated content, being active on art sites, inhaling any behind-the-scenes features on dvds, and much more. The university she attended, Tehran University of Art in Iran, only had an MA in animation, so she studied graphic design first. Ramezani then studied abroad in England on a full scholarship, earning a second masters in animation at Arts University Bournemouth.

When asked how the animation scene in Iran has improved since when she was younger, Ramezani replies, “These days you can find literally anything on the internet. The access to the information is limitless and there are many online courses, tutorials etc. In Iran also there are schools that have animation majors in specific and their quality is good … So yes, I would say things have got much better.”

She also takes part in the Tehran International Animation Festival (TIAF), which will hold its 12th edition next year. The event is a hub for the Iranian animation community to gather.

The community, she says, is a healthy mix of local artists and those working abroad, both freelance and at larger studios: “I just think it depends on the situation and the artist’s personal goals [whether] to stay or leave. Many are okay with teaching and working here and many have left the country to work in other countries and pursue their artistic dreams.”

Arezou Art is largely in English, featuring interviews with several English-speaking industry professionals (past guests include animator and director Andrew Chesworth and Pixar art director Deanna Marsigliese) as well as Iranian-American artists like Kataneh Vahdani. Uniquely, every single English episode is available with Farsi subtitles. When Ramezani records episodes herself, she creates two versions: one in English, and one in Farsi. In fact, only one episode currently is only available in Farsi: it’s geared toward Iranian students applying for universities.

For that particular episode, Ramezani says her experience was useful for many interested in either studying or working abroad. Ramezani felt that information was more readily available and clear for English speakers, but scattered for Farsi-speaking students who are pursuing similar careers. She told Cartoon Brew:

For my podcast, I feel like I was the missing link between [the] Iranian community and the industry out there. I always had an international approach to my art and presenting myself, oddly enough, since I started branding myself as “Arezou Art.” I always wrote in English and had an international audience. It is only a year that I have started to make my page bilingual and in Farsi and I have gained more of a local audience. It’s funny to receive comments like, “I am learning English from you,” because I write all my content in both languages. Basically for many, language is a barrier and I want to break this and also help people access the information that is out there; that’s a bonus to my podcast.

Arezou Art is in its early stages, with only ten episodes published currently, but Ramezani has more guests lined up and future episodes in production. The podcast is available on all platforms, but you can find its official site here. All the episodes are available with Farsi subtitles on the Youtube channel.