BENGALURU: Artist Harun Robert, popularly known as MAD Rob says he had refused to host the show MAD on a kids channel several times until he committed to it as he was camera shy.
After completing his training in animation filmmaking, Rob had been working for a studio in Mumbai, designing animation content for children’s channels.
He says, “I was contacted by a channel. I thought it was to design an animation package for a show. But they wanted me to design the entire production of MAD, which I later started hosting and directing. I had never been on camera and so, I said ‘no’. But we went back and forth on it. I was scared thinking I won’t be able to do it. But later, I decided to take it up as a challenge. We shot a pilot episode and that’s how MAD happened.”
In an interview with City Express, Rob talks about his art, his TV stint of over a decade and his shift to a YouTube channel.
Digital is Interactive
He found MAD really interesting. “I found a platform where I could do anything. I wanted to and pass on my knowledge,” he says.
After a decade in 2014, he moved on to YouTube. He adds, “Digital medium is very interactive. People follow you and talk about your work. The audience shares the idea they would like me to work on. This way, you get lots of ideas, feedback and appreciation from people. It is a transparent medium. As an artist, I enjoy that interaction. Hence, I like workshops as well where I can physically interact with people. Otherwise, you just talk to a black box and act as if you are talking to one or many people.”
He finds his inspiration everywhere. He carries a small sketchbook to put down his ideas whenever he travels. “I go to local markets where I travel to see what kind of crafts they are making. I like to explore new material. I try and learn new technique or medium, even if it’s not art...someday, I’ll be like today, I have to learn beatboxing or try juggling,” he says.
Always a curious child, he was once asked to leave the classroom when he got caught by his science teacher drawing her caricature. He recalls, “It happened more than once. I was in Class 7. I was a shy and reserved person. So, I was popular in the “gang” for my drawings. I used to draw caricatures of my teachers. So, the caricature was being passed around and obviously, it reached my teacher. She punished me, but later called to say that I draw well and she was the one who in fact encouraged me to get into arts.”
Ask what was his first creation and he says, “As a child, I used to draw cartoons a lot, especially on band aids”. He used to draw his favourite superhero Spiderman a lot as a kid.
Rob has always been a DIY kind of guy. “When other children would spend time playing games, I would go out, find something and create something on my own. Be it creating castles with boxes for GI Joe figurines or making beautiful covers for my books or special toys or gifts for my friends.”
He enjoys making big pictures, installations and creating things with a single material. He created a portrait of Shah Rukh Khan with film rolls as a tribute on his birthday. “I have also created a portrait of Sachin Tendulkar with cricket gear. He is a legend and the god of cricket.” The video was scheduled to be released online on April 24 on his birthday.
Apart from art, Rob says he is ‘Mad’ about music, dance, basketball and even scuba diving. Rob was in the city for an upcycling workshop for children at Max Kids Festival.