Excerpt from abduzeedo.com
Tell us about your art and design background and what made you become an artist and designer?
I think I always knew that art was in my future. Even as far back as preschool I can remember drawing pictures in class and wondering why no one else put as much time and effort into their drawings as I did. I do believe that the focus and determination it takes to be a successful artist is something people are born with so I don’t really see it as something I was in control of. My job was to nurture it and remember not to take it for granted.
Over time I considered graphic design as possible career, mostly because I never thought it would be possible to become a professional artist. So, I went to college for graphic design. The projects were mostly centered around commercial logos and advertising which felt too much like work to me and not a passion. While sitting in the back of the classroom, I would often play around in Photoshop, creating images that I thought were cool but in my teacher’s words, had ‘no commercial appeal.’
How did you come up with your style, what made you explore more with this style and what in your opinion is the main characteristic of it?
I knew that if I wanted to be taken seriously as an artist, I would need both a unique style (that I could perform consistently) and a style that was within my limits. Yes, all artists have limits. My biggest roadblock was getting an idea from my head and onto the screen. I found that using photographs as references was the simplest solution. I never expected that process to become part of my eventual digital art style, let alone the main focus like it has become. Using photos as reference helps me set the foundation of an art piece which allows me to focus on other aspects of the artwork.
First photo manipulation (using ArtRage) 2005
First commission (2006)
may need a model with dark hair or blonde hair, dark skin or light skin. These attributes are also broken down on the list. It is important to me to find the right model for an image and there have even been times when I have traveled to faraway places in order to find them.
During the photo shoot I try to pose the model as close to what I have in my head as possible. I keep the lighting setup very simple. This makes the transition from ordinary photos to unique artwork more interesting. I usually take around 400 shots at a photo shoot and end up keeping 3 or 4 of those shots. Inevitably, the photo is not exactly what I was hoping for but almost any changes needed can be addressed later.
In the computer I manipulate the image by first breaking it down (changing the color tones, moving body parts around, changing the backgrounds out etc…). Then, in so many words, I paint over the top of the image to make it look like a painting. This is done in a variety of ways (blurring, smudging, airbrushing etc…). Those who are interested in my style would be surprised to know that it takes very few tools and tricks but rather a lot of tedious detailing.
Apart from the profits, what type of satisfaction do you get from your work?
It became clear to me a long time ago that inspiring others to create art is the most fulfilling aspect of my career. I’m happy to say that my work is not something I do selfishly. In fact, there are many times when I do not feel like working but I continue on knowing that some digital art fans are waiting to see what I come up with next and aspiring artists are looking to me for inspiration. Reading their comments and accolades is very gratifying …and addicting! I also enjoy the people surrounding my business including other photographers and artists that I collaborate with, companies I work for and meeting new models from around the world. It helps bring the feeling to my work that it takes a community to make art and that I am not alone in its creation.
Are commissions the only work you do?
Actually, I rarely do commissioned work anymore. I design movie posters full time and have been doing so for 10 years. It's a 'unique' situation which I can't really talk about which is why you don't see see me promoting any of it.
Besides digital art, what do you like to do for fun?
I love photography and travel and recently my girlfriend and I began a photo series combining these two loves. Our series involves the famous places we travel to with shoes that fit the setting. It's been a fun and unique way to capture our travels that helps me keep the creative juices flowing.
How would you break down your workflow in steps?
The first and most important step is coming up with a concept. I feel the best way to make interesting art is to have a good reason for making it. Just creating a pretty picture isn’t enough for me. Currently, I have about twenty ideas on my list and they are graded by how strong the idea is, how beautiful it looks in my mind and how easy or hard I think it will be to create.
The next step is finding the right model and preparing a photo shoot. Depending on the concept, I