TAIKO Studios was founded in 2017 by CEO Shaofu Zhang in both Los Angeles and Wuhan, China. As a truly international company, the studio endeavors to bridge eastern and western cultures together to create memorable stories with universal appeal.
Shaofu Zhang Founder, CEO
TAIKO Founder and CEO Shaofu Zhang leads the team with a vision of the modern world, an amalgam of Chinese and American culture. Proficient in English and Mandarin, his perspective embodies the goals and spirit of TAIKO. Zhang spearheads a team with diverse backgrounds and life experiences, who all have the courage to express their views. Shaofu is committed to supporting a creative environment that brings out the best work in the artists.
Andrew Chesworth Head of Development
Andrew Chesworth grew up passionate about drawing, reading, music, and movies. Disney’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit made a particular impression on Andrew for its quintessential movie magic. Chesworth’s love for both the liberal arts and the visual arts defined his decision to pursue a career in animation. His diverse experiences directing short films and commercials in CG, 2D, and stop-motion, as well as many years animating for Disney, define his broad artistic taste. Chesworth believes that stories worth telling can inspire people of any culture or background.
Bobby Pontillas Art Director
Bobby Pontillas went to see Disney's animated film Tarzan in 1999 and was blown away by the groundbreaking visuals. Since then, Bobby has been determined to make an impact in the animation industry, and is committed to share his unlimited energy and infectiously positive perspective to every project. Bobby brings a wealth of artistic experience, having worked on a slew of productions at Blue Sky and Disney, he inspires the crew to expand their artistic horizons on a daily basis. Bobby hopes to steward an era of change to the visual styles of modern cinema.
Joy Johnson CG Supervisor
Joy Johnson has spent the last 12 years in the animation industry working on many projects in feature and in television. Growing up she loved to draw, read, and write. Movies like The Little Mermaid and The Matrix, convinced her that this was the industry that she was driven towards. Joy is a VES Award-winner for character rigging, which involves having a greater knowledge of human anatomy, mechanical engineering, and skills in digital sculpting. She loves solving artistic puzzles. Joy has a robust knowledge of the front-end pipeline, as well as, the ability to communicate effectively between departments. She understands and values the balance required to maintain the momentum of a production. Joy chose to join TAIKO to grow herself even further, and to explore the creative challenges the budding studio has to offer.
Andrew Taylor Jennings Head of Pipeline
Andrew Jennings had a knack for art and mathematics since childhood. He considered a stable profession in architecture, but with the encouragement of his family, took the leap toward a crazy dream: animation. Jennings has created a dynamic user-friendly pipeline that allows every TAIKO team member to focus on creating art anywhere in the world.
Erik Lee Animation Supervisor, China
Erik majored in fine arts, but his love of films, manga and anime pulled him from oil painting to animation. He believes there are worlds that can only be created through animation, exploring the endless possibilities of the medium. Monster’s Inc. is an all-time favorite of Erik’s. He expresses appreciation for his grandfather’s encouragement to follow his dream of being an artist. Erik has since made that his reality, working for studios such as Light Chaser Animation, CGCG and The White Rabbit. He has also given back to the animation community at Animation Mentor by volunteering as a tutor.