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Interview with Bradford Rigney

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Вашему вниманию интервью взятое сайтом http://www.3dtotal.com/'>http://www.3dtotal.com/ у замечательного художника Bradford Rigney.



3DTotal: Hi Brad – and thanks for talking the time out to talk to us! Now I usually kick these interviews off by asking a bit about an artist’s background and training, and from what I’ve read of your blog, it sounds like you’ve had one of the more unconventional routes into the 2D art industry. Could you tell us a little about how you came to be where you are today?

Brad: Hi Jo! I’m grateful that you guys even asked for an interview, so the pleasure is mine, thanks for having me!

Let’s see ... yeah, “unconventional” is definitely one way to describe the journey I’ve taken to reach where I am now! [Laughs]. I wish I could say that I went to this or that art school, or received training from such and such instructor, but that’s just not the case. In fact, I have the equivalent of a ninth grade education and was ejected from high school.


“I’m self taught” is the Cliffs Note’s version.


I’ve illustrated my whole life, but really became serious about it in my late twenties, when I was just basically doing portraits of my friends’ RPG characters from our weekly Shadowrun and Legend of the Five Rings game sessions. I started shopping my portfolio around to game companies and was confident that they would immediately hire me because my friends thought I was good enough.


I was promptly, and thankfully, given a good boot to the behind by several art directors who kindly – and some not so kindly – informed me that I had a long way to go if I expected to have my work published with them. That was the first in a long line of very important, and necessary, failures that would guide me to better my skills.


After a brief run doing freelance illustration for various table-top RPG companies, I decided that the money wasn’t enough, so I had better get into the video gaming industry and go to college for 3D rendering. I’ll spare you the boring details and tell you that it essentially boiled down to me being unequipped to handle the academics. That - in combination with the fact that I was getting outclassed by teens putting the finishing touches to their second short film when I was trying to figure out how to render a cube - ended up being exactly the epic failure that I needed to push me into a bottomless obsession to better my 2D skills to the best of their ability...


After coming back home I literally locked myself into an apartment for eight years and practiced. When

everyone else was out partying, I was drawing. When everyone else was out on dates, I was drawing. When everyone else was getting somewhere, getting married and getting paid, I was drawing. Towards the middle of that eight year period I was even taken in by some friends of mine in LA when they saw how hell-bent I had become and how far I had let myself go! [Laughs]. And it’s to people like that – my family and friends – that I really owe all my little victories and successes to. Their kindness and charity, along with the experience I gained from my various failures, gave me the means to improve my skills on my own and brought me to where I find myself today.


3DTotal: Can I ask you about what projects you’re working on at the moment? Or if you’re not allowed to talk about them yet, is there something you worked on in the past that really stood out? Something that you’re particularly proud of?

Brad: I’m really excited about what I’m working on right now. I wish I could outright say what it is, but due to cloak and dagger NDA contract agreements I can’t. However, I can say that it’s related to a certain sanity-blasting, dead yet dreaming entity that lies housed in an epoch-old, dead city beneath the waves ...


When it comes to something I’m particularly proud of… hmm, let’s see. I’d have to say “Containment Breach Sub-Level 5”. It has a lot of elements I’ve wanted to incorporate into an image for a long time, like the first person camcorder idea and mad-science theme. I feel like the mood I wanted to convey translated pretty well, too; the reaction I’ve gotten from it has been really satisfying. I’ll never get over how great it feels to have people give me their



time and tell me how much they enjoy it, or any other work for that matter.


3DTotal: Now it was interesting looking at your online gallery, because I’m used to being inundated with loads of amazing images when looking through an artist’s profile. While your images are certainly amazing, there aren’t actually that many to admire at the moment! I gather you’ve just taken a large amount of your older work down, so I guess the question I want to ask is: why? Was it just down to the quality of the work or were there any other reasons?


Brad: Hey, thanks for the compliment, Jo! I’m glad you like them!


I’ve actually just recently taken a bunch of older work down from my DeviantART gallery. You wouldn’t know it, but I have an enormous amount of work, but it’s simply not reflective of my current skill level and personal standards. I decided a long time ago that my personal standard would always be “quality above quantity”. That’s become even more important now that there are actually people who say they are a fan of my work and me. That will always blow me away! Me? Having fans?! [Laughs]. I want to give only what I think is my best, and I think any fans I may have or get, deserve only that. Sure a few of them are “Okay”, but “Okay” doesn’t really cut it for me.






3DTotal: Well despite the fact that your gallery is small at the moment, your work still looks great! There seems to be a real dark atmosphere to a lot of your images – and a sense of impending threat, even in those images where the source of the threat isn’t obvious. Your choice of colour, lighting and use of shadows seem key to this, but what is it about this dark style that particularly attracts you?

Brad: I’m thrilled you got that feel from them. This is a good question, one that I hope I can answer

without sounding like a complete goofbag. There is something about darkness - both literal and spiritual - mystery and threat that I’m hopelessly fascinated with. I’m obsessed with trying to capture the essence of those things for some reason. I used to ask myself why, but I’ve never found a suitable answer. You can’t see everything in darkness, which means you don’t know where it’s safe and where it’s not, or what’s even there. That usually makes people afraid, or curious, or both. And we love to be afraid. We pay for it! We willingly go and sit in theatres, know it’s coming, and then resist it when it’s upon us - it’s ridiculous! I couldn’t love it any more than I do! [Laughs]. What does that mean? I just don’t know.

I guess the short answer is “because I think it’s cool”. Heh, see - total goofbag answer! It’s funny, I don’t feel like I choose to do it, but rather I have to do it, if that makes sense.

3DTotal: I love the comment that you made about the creation of your piece “... with my father’s sword”: “Have you ever drawn something that feels like its drawing itself and you’re just kinda there, spectating?” It seems to me that this kind of effortless translation from your imagination down onto the page is what art should be about – although I can also appreciate that it doesn’t always work this way! Is this feeling something that you experience a lot while you’re working, or do you find that it goes the other way and you spend months struggling to perfect a single piece?

Brad: I find that both happen on every piece. The work you’re referring to was the most profound experience I’ve ever had though, I almost feel slimy taking credit for that one. I mean it felt like I was just there to hold a door open or something. I would kill to have every piece go like that… wait, I take that back. You really wouldn’t learn anything that way would you?


I hate to admit this, but impatience, fear and my own envy of other people’s talent have been my most trusted taskmasters and teachers. I call it “Using the Dark Side of the Force”. Seriously. When I sit down to draw, I encounter a lot of my own demons: lack of faith in my own skill; lack of education; that feeling that I’ll never, ever be good enough or get anywhere no matter how hard I try. Thankfully I have learned to transform and focus those feelings into giving each work everything I’ve got, but it wasn’t and isn’t easy.


After you get beyond the point where you don’t even try because you’ve berated yourself so thoroughly, you start seeing yourself holding on to things in the work that aren’t working. You start seeing it for what it is rather than what you want it to be. After this point great stuff starts to happen. But I’m not stupid enough to think I can command that to happen; if I could then every work would be without flaws, and that’s just not the case.

3DTotal: Okay, moving on from digital painting, I just have to ask you about sculpting. There’s a great little note in your blog about how you once aspired to be a sculptor, but were forced to give up on that dream after a particularly traumatic clay bowl related experience – is this something that you would still like to do in the future? And do you think that with the advances in modelling software recently, such as the emergence of Mudbox and ZBrush, you’ll ever be able to realise this dream, even if only digitally?

Brad: Ah yes. That bowl. Yet another critically important, and necessary failure! This was the exact opposite of my later experience rendering “..with my father’s sword”. It was like the manifestation of “anti-talent”; like I was channelling all of the lamest ideas ever… and then made a bowl.


In retrospect it really wasn’t at all that devastating or dramatic, but it’s a humorous reminder to just stick with what I can do well and do the best I can.



As for ZBrush and Mudbox? I’ve only just recently heard of ZBrush and while I think it’s really cool looking, it’s just not for. me. I’d rather focus on trying to get my 2D art to look like it was done in ZBrush rather than learning ZBrush, even for giggles. I’d feel like it was time I could have spent getting better at my chosen craft.

3DTotal: I get the impression, both from your website and

what you’ve said in this interview, that feedback is really important to you and that you really appreciate

all the people who have shown an interest in your art. Yet in some ways, it also seems that you don’t

quite feel you deserve all the attention you’ve been getting recently and that it’s like you’re waiting to

wake up one morning and find it’s all been a weirdly wonderful dream! Is this an accurate interpretation or am I way off the mark? And if so, why do you feel like this when all the evidence around you points to how

good your art is?

Brad: No, you’re not way off at all, you’re right on the money... frighteningly so in fact. Geez, come to think of it, it really does feel like that: a weirdly wonderful dream that I’m convinced is going to abruptly end! [Laughs].


But I don’t think it’s a matter of feeling unworthy of the attention, in all honesty. How do I put this? I guess it’s because I just don’t feel like it’s all about me. I feel like it’s about the interaction between viewer and their imagination and that I’m just a bit player in the whole thing, a delivery boy. I don’t mean to be overly self-deprecating, but I guess I just feel that I didn’t give myself the ability to draw, it was given to me on loan. Sure, I worked hard to improve my skills but I reckon that’s the least I can do for even having the ability to begin with.


I don’t have an issue with taking credit, I don’t think. I’ll take credit when it’s appropriate because I totally busted my hump to get where I am and I highly encourage anyone else to do the same for their goals in art. I get richly inspired by the reaction I get to the work, and the people who enjoy it tell me they get inspired, which inspires me even more in turn, and so on, and so on. It’s totally a two way street and I never forget that.


There are also so many other things that are contributing to my mindset. Before I seriously started pursuing my art again, I had come from an incredibly hard road in life. I’m a recovering alcoholic and have been sober for 12 wonderful years. I’ve been homeless. I’ve been a thief. I’ve prayed for death. I’m no stranger to a life poisoned by self-centred and selfish thinking, where everyone who doesn’t agree with your world view is obviously trying to destroy you. Sure that sounds dramatic and paranoid but it’s what I came from.


So in a nutshell, I’m extremely grateful and maybe that’s where the reluctance to take credit comes from, because I didn’t get to where I am by myself. I’ve had people carrying me the whole way while I just sat there like the goofy fanboy that I am and kept drawing!

3DTotal: One quick question to round things of: what can you tell us about this Massive Black tutorial I’ve been hearing about?

Brad: The MB tutorial has honestly been a dream come true for me, Jo, and the reaction I’ve gotten from it has just blown my mind. All those Massive Black guys have been a big influence on me for years and when they approached me to do a download I just about fell over myself saying yes. I loved every minute of putting it together and judging from the notes and letters I’ve received from those who have seen it I feel safe in saying that my enthusiasm came through.


I also feel that the finished tutorial image is my best work to date, so I’m honestly even more thrilled that I was able to capture it and hopefully offer something useful to my fellow artists.




Источник: http://www.3dtotal.com/







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