The visuals we experience on a daily basis through television, film, and online are a modern marvel. Though we’ve come to expect the fantastic as believable, the transformation of imagination into reality is only possible through the creativity and talent of professionals like Cheng Guo. This visual development artist who hails from a small town in China has found himself sought out by such notable employers as Warner Bros., representatives of the world famous Getty Museum, and a host of others. Involved in major film productions, online animated series, and the gaming world, Cheng may use tools different than those of his predecessors but his creative vision matches those who set the pace for their own generations. From the respect of the biggest studios in the industry to accolades for his own independent films, Cheng Guo’s greatest attribute may be his ability to infuse his own style while also tailoring his work to achieve the vision of others; a vital skill in today’s increasingly international industry.
Currently working on a number of productions for Warner Animation Group and restricted by an NDA from commenting on specifics of these projects, his inclusion as a visual development artist to the team testifies to Cheng’s respect within the industry. Whether it’s working on a film for an iconic name like Warner Bros., as animator for the Indiecade Award Nominated game Aria, or films like Robot Vacuum’s Escape and Kung Fu Express, Cheng Guo applies his talent and artistry to a variety of settings. As the VFX artist for award-nominated Robot Vacuum’s Escape (for Best Fantasy/ Sci-Fi at the Asians on Film Festival as well as the New Era Film Festival) Cheng was tasked with establishing the emotional expressions found on the faces of the robotic household appliances who seek revolution against their human captors. Amongst the belly laughs of this story, there’s a social message which is rooted in the visage of the mechanical insurgents. The independent film Kung Fu Express was an Official Selection of a host of festivals including the International Film Festival of Wales, LA Under the Stars: Film Festival, FLICKFAIR, and others. Included in the Final List at the New York Movie Awards and Los Angeles Animation Festival, Kung Fu Express offered a humorous respite from the tension of 2020. This tale of a competition between two delivery people contains action and comedy along with a lesson of the disappointment resulting from ego fuelled aims. Viewed alongside Cheng’s work on hugely popular animation programs in China such as Lu’s time and Mantou Riji (whose views number in the multi-millions), Kung Fu Express further highlights this animator’s ability to manifest remarkably different visual styles and emotional tones.
An even more profound display of Cheng’s versatility is found in his work as a digital artist for the 2019 Getty Unshuttered event at the historic Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Working with Grammy Award Winning Director Michael Patterson (a-ha, Sting, Suzanne Vega, Bruce Hornsby), Mr. Guo and the team used cutting edge software to create digital motion design sequences that projected visual illusions for the event attended by thousands. From an infinite loop of colorful circles and squares to giant rotating neon gears, these animated designs were projected on the sides of massive buildings for throngs of admirers at Getty Unshuttered. Cheng’s designs provided an immersive experience to fascinate art fans on a larger than life scale; a stark contrast to the narrative animation productions he’s more often known for which are viewed on a tablet, TV, or theater screen. More than this, his work on this project and his association with the famed Getty name has exposed the expressive pallete of this gifted animator and visual development artist to new admirers. Getty Unshuttered garnered many recognitions in addition to the public praise; these included the Gold of Video, Film, Animation, and live Media or Digital Performances 2019 muse award, the 2019 Superintendent’s Award Recipients of California Association of Museums, and Honorable mention of World Changing Ideas 2019.
Cheng Guo is set to undertake work as a visual development artist for Warner Bros. Animation. While he hints that the productions he is set to work on span a variety of genres, Cheng notes that he’s excited to stretch his creative muscle along with collaborators at such a respected name as Warner Bros.
Writer: Coleman Haan