The Isom Twins and The First Black Owned Anime Studio

The Isom Twins and The First Black Owned Anime Studio

November 21, 2021 0

The Isom twins, Arthell and Darnell Isom, along with Henry Thurlow have founded Japan’s first Black owned anime studio, D’ART Shtajio. The name, according to their website, means the “foundation of art.” They focus on creating 2D animation in traditional Japanese quality. According to Arthell, this has been an incredible opportunity as many Black creatives have reached out with an interest in collaborating with their studio. He’s been excited to be in a position where he can work with Black storytellers and help them bring their manga and comic books to life in an anime. 

Although it is an animation studio, D’ART Shtajio’s offers services beyond just animation. With just an idea or concept, they can flesh out a script for an anime. The studio also offers character design, creating the right protagonist and antagonist for the story. And they offer storyboarding as well, the best way to confirm that an animation is what the customer is looking for before any animation work gets done, potentially avoiding any unwanted animation. 

Before they founded D’ART Shtajio, Arthell Isom worked for the anime studio Ogura Kobo. He was a background artist working on anime such as Bleach and Naruto. Henry Thurlow was an in-between animator working on the likes of Pokemon and Gundam. Thurlow in particular grew frustrated with the industry because of low pay and next to no creative input. Darnell Isom always wanted to start a business with his brother Arthell, who lists Darnell as a major source of motivation. Together, the studio has worked on big names in anime such as Castlevania, Attack on Titan, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Tokyo Ghoul, Seven Deadly Sins, and One Piece. 

Beyond just the usual TV animation, the studio also works on movies, commercials, animation shorts, and animated music videos. They’ve even animated a music video for The Weeknd and created an animated commercial that featured The Game and Rick Ross. D’ART Shtajio hopes to help more Black creatives tell their stories to a bigger audience of anime fans. As anime continues to grow and thrive on streaming services such as Netflix, D’ART Shtajio hopes to be in the perfect position to take advantage. 

Johnny Ross