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Meet James Reitano of TFU Studios in Glendale

Today we’d like to introduce you to James Reitano.

Thanks for sharing your story with us James. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My first real artistic pursuit was as a graffiti artist. I’d started around age 14, and that seemed to lead me into the career I find myself in now. With no formal art school training, I found myself at Santa Cruz Skateboards with my first design job, which I’d always considered my official training.

From there, a curiosity with animation also formed, and that lead me into the animation field I find myself in today.

Has it been a smooth road?
There’s always challenges, and sometimes outright failures that you’re going to confront. Not to mention just changes in the market as well as business and personal relationships.

So much of the real growth that’s required of an artist also involves some reinvention.

Often times I’d find myself at a plateau or just stuck really, and it can be really tempting to stay there, in that comfort zone. The problem is, is that comfort zone usually involves some sort of corporate structure thats really hard to leave, especially when you have obligations, and that steady paycheck becomes the ‘golden handcuffs’.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the TFU Studios story. Tell us more about the business.
We’ve been around for about 18 years. Our shop specializes in hand-drawn illustration and animation. There’s a pretty obvious graffiti art influence in the work as well.

I like to think of my studio really as a boutique, rather than just a standard creative shop. I’ll always try to offer up a personal connection to whomever we’re working with.

It’s always great to see a client take something we’ve made and just run with, and create it into something new. Whether it’s logo work or characters we’ve developed, it’s nice to see that the work ended becoming a part of their identity and it wasn’t just the standard ‘one-off’ project.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
As content moves from the broadcast model to streaming or ‘webisode’ format, the usual client list will change and dramatically fracture. More smaller studios and creative groups are sourcing animations so, there’s going to be a lot of opportunity for partnerships, but on a much more diverse client base.

Contact Info:

  • Phone: 323.301.2029
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @tfustudios
  • Twitter: @85graphicnovel

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