This was a digital painting I did about 6 years ago now. It was all done in Photoshop using photos I had taken on a trip to LA as a base. I tend to use photographs a lot for my work. Personally I find it more satisfying if I have taken the photographs but that isn’t always possible for some things. There wasn’t really any particular inspiration for this painting other then my love for scifi and cool vehicles. Generally I just start out playing around with different ideas and shapes and something just eventually grows in my mind. Usually I try and infuse some sort of story idea into the piece as if it were a frame from a film.
I don’t think I can talk about current work, but the last show I worked on was Transformers: Dark Of The Moon. This was pretty exciting for me for two reasons. One, it was a huge scifi movie about fighting robots and two, it was my first show working for Industrial Light & Magic. It had been an ambition of mine for a few years to work at ILM so it’s been pretty amazing that that has worked out. Before that I was working in London on the last two Harry Potter movies which was also really cool since it was the last time anyone would get to work on Harry Potter. One of the great things about my work is the variety of subject matter and challenges that you face. It’s always some thing new and bigger then the last thing you did.
Much of your portfolio is science fiction and fantasy illustration. What appeals to you about science fiction and fantasy?
I just love that there are no boundaries with scifi and fantasy. The opportunities for your imagination to run wild are endless. I particularly enjoy stories that explore the not too distant future on the sci fi side of things. That is probably my favorite genre. I don’t really know why. I just think it’s interesting to imagine where culture will be in 50 to 100 years. Sometimes that can be a bit grim or distopian but I think those environments make such an interesting setting to tell a story.
It wasn’t that hard. Even though I was trained traditionally I was always playing with computer graphics and had been working with photoshop pretty early on. Initially when I started painting digitally I was preoccupied with making digital work look like paint. I would do things like scan a gessoed panel and use that to give my paintings the look of an oil painting. Eventually I let go of that and became satisfied with the look of digital work regardless of whether or not it looked like traditional media. The fundamentals of art still all apply. In the past few years I have started to return to oil painting just for my own enjoyment. I think there are advantages to learning to do both.
These days the only personal work I’ve been doing is some plein air painting. It’s really challenging. I’ve been almost exclusively a studio artist my whole career so having to contend with the immediacy of painting out doors is really something to get used to. It demands decisiveness and knowledge of your tools and the medium. It’s really good fun but it will be a while before I show anyone any of it.
I don’t really know. I’m really happy doing what I’m doing these days. I’m always looking to grow as an artist and experience new things. I get to do both in my current situation. On the immediate horizon, my wife is due to give birth to out 3rd child any day now. So family is going to be my “next” for a little while.