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Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Daniel Arriaga studied art and animation at Academy of Art College, San Francisco. He began his career with Pixar Animation Studios as a Production Assistant on Monsters, Inc. and in 2001 made the jump from Production Assistant to artist. Daniel designed dozens of characters and sets for films such as Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up and Toy Story 3, for which he was the Character Art Director. Among his many creations, perhaps his most famous to date is "Lotso Huggin' Bear" the unforgettably nasty (but wonderfully strawberry scented!) bear that he designed for Toy Story 3.
In 2009 Daniel briefly departed Pixar to work at Walt Disney Animation Studios as a visual development artist on Wreck-it Ralph and also served as Art Director for Prep and Landing 2. However, in September 2011, Daniel returned home to Pixar where he is now contributing his artistic talents to numerous upcoming Pixar film projects.
As a Visual Development Artist (often referred to as a "Concept Artist") Daniel is one among a team of artists and designers who take on the immense responsibility of pre-conceiving the visual direction and design of an animated film leading up to the animation process. A lofty role indeed, walking in the footsteps of the legendary artists who pioneered this discipline, names like Eyvind Earle, Mary Blair, Tyrus Wong and other Disney Legends whose visual development work a generation ago weaved the very fabric of so many Disney classics.