Ed Basa (sekido54.deviantart.com) is an artist specializing in science fictional scenes featuring the mechanical, whether attack ships or powered armor. His influences range from Macross to Monet, and he brings a strong industrial flavor to the worlds that he imagines. Across the board, his paintings have a sense of movement—whether a moment snatched from the middle of a space battle or the calm immediately before some critical action. He lives and makes his art in Japan.
“Descent” is an energetic painting, with clear, strong action. Does that energy come from the design stage, choice of thumbnails, or something further down the line?
I think it comes from the rough sketches I start from. There has to be some kind of action and power involved before I start developing artwork similar to “Descent.”
What were some of the challenges that “Descent” presented while you were working on it?
There were several challenges, such as choosing the right color to fit the mood, how many troopers to put in, and how much detail was needed. The most difficult challenge, however, was trying to get the perspective right.
What are the biggest rewards for you in painting images of the future?
I think it’s when viewers wish they could own a ship, mech, or vehicle that I’ve created in a particular artwork.
Who are some of your favorite artists, and how have they influenced your work?
There are so many artist who have influenced me, but to narrow them to just three, they would have to be Ralph McQuarrie (Star Wars), Syd Mead (Tron, Aliens, Blade Runner), and Shoji Kawamori (Macross). In most of my artwork, I tend to use a very industrial, gritty, and weathered style.
When did you first try your hand at science fiction art? What led you to want to create your own images?
That would have to be when I first started watching Robotech/Macross in the early 1980’s. I was in middle school, and I was completely blown away by the designs. Although I had started drawing at a much earlier age, drawing mostly planes and cars, the Robotech/Macross series opened my eyes, and it inspired me to come up with my own designs.
How do you see SF in Japan as differing from U.S. or worldwide science fiction? More dystopian? Fewer steam-driven robots?
I think the effort and imagination put into SF in Japan seems a little more advanced than in worldwide sci-fi. After going to a few robot, motorcycle, and anime exhibitions, you’ll understand why.
What advice would you give to yourself, five years ago, based on what you’ve learned about painting in that time?
You should keep learning new techniques and never be satisfied. Not only learn from contemporary artists, but learn from famous artists of long ago. Personally, I enjoy Impressionist artwork, especially the works of Monet.
Can you describe your normal workday?
For most of the day, I teach English at a junior high school. However, I spend my nights watching movies, reading magazines, and working on my artwork.
What’s your dream illustration assignment?
I think my dream illustration assignment is to be asked to work on the vehicles for the next Avatar movie. I wouldn’t mind spending sleepless nights trying to come up with exciting designs that would end up on the silver screen. That would be awesome!
What projects are you working on right now?
Right now I’m on a break, but I have some rough sketches I’m looking through.
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