JUSTIN MALLER INTERVIEW
|July 1, 2012 | ART||Posted by James Watkins||
Epic, biological, dramatic, apocalyptic, reptilian, ethereal, explosive, fragmented, futuristic, mystic, polished, peaceful, reflective, elemental, mechanical and paradoxically organic. Nothing less than a meteor shower of adjectives can aptly describe the creative universes which Justin Maller has travelled through on his journey to artistic maturity and creative self discovery.
From a single binary bean planted in the fertile digital backwaters of the internet ten years ago, has grown a perfectly rendered, self sufficient, histogram-shaped beanstalk up into the clouds – providing a spiritual staircase to an empire of eloquent pixels, a labyrinth of layers, a royal family of photoshop filters, an adobe aristocracy. The hyper-real dominion of the sky is the sovereign state created by benevolent giant Justin Maller, and is better known (somewhat ironically considering the heaven metaphor) as Depthcore. Maller, the Creative Director and natural leader rules diplomatically, with an open mind and a palpable enthusiasm which involves, engages, motivates and elevates all the other giants of the digital art world he has surrounded himself with onto a shared pedestal of equal opportunity.
Maller, 28, an Australian now living in New York City, has copy-pasted himself squarely into the eye of what is an ever-increasingly intense and rapidly evolving storm of digital art. An accomplished freelance digital artist in his own right, with numerous internationally high profile clients, he is the brain-parent of one of the most highly respected, prolific, and successful digital art collectives in the world. He wields an uncompromising vision of quality and possesses the ability to recognise talent, implore and encourage people to shift out of their creative comfort zones. It is these aspects of his persona combined with his unwavering hunt for perfection, his propensity to catalyse egoless collaborations in new directions and his willingness to invest countless hours in the development of his own artistic vision, that has culminated in his well earned position within the vanguard of this new and exciting artform.
Maller and his comrades at Depthcore are unapologetically flying the digital art flag from the top of their Wacom tablets. They are actively staging a reclamation of land deep into the original oceans of fine art, creating uncharted territories and establishing their own expressive utopia where "anything can be made" and the "seamless integration of imagination is a reality". They are proud of what they have achieved, and so they should be – the body of work they have amassed over the last ten years is incredible, and demands respect from even the most pessimistic traditionalists clinging for dear life on the edge of their fear of change. The collective efforts of Depthcore alone have gone a long way to solidifying the presence and profile of digital art on the internet, and their chapters of thematic works act as both a portfolio of vindication and curriculum vitae of validation for the new medium of the millennium.
Maller's own abstracted works are improvised explorations into his "chaos interior". They are anecdotes of the spirit, flights into a final fantasy - renderings suspended in a void of accurate silence. We're glimpsing digital responses to timeless questions, he's whispering us his secrets, exploring the simple pleasure of never-ending feminine curves, and creating works that engage the viewer on an aesthetically primal level. His collaborative nature embraces the liberating freedoms that our new age of communication allows us. Bouncing around ideas, images and concepts between artists – jamming on the pieces to create works with a seamless visual synergy. The resulting digital duets sing in perfect harmony over a hypnotic rhythm provided by the house band: The CS Fives, with Maller himself providing the marauding back beat from the drums.
It’s as if The Terminator had a dream where he and Ridley Scott’s Alien drank Absinthe before collaborating at a life drawing class onboard the Millennium Falcon, travelling at light speed into the future to smoke a shisha with Aladdin’s genie. His work suspends our own safe sense of reality, replacing it with slices of his own fantastic, illustrated musings. Maller's unique visual language commands a presence on computer screens around the world. His inclination towards the deconstructed, the surreal and the sublimely intricate are all calling cards of an intuitive and powerful imagination and the self-discipline to invest countless fastidious hours into realising resolved and refined outcomes.
The idea of questioning the authenticity of digital art seems banal and dated. Throughout the centuries, all artists have taken advantage of advances in technology, techniques, theories and available resources, the artists of today are no different. They are taking the well worn baton that history is handing to them, paying respectful homage to the masters whilst pioneering their own deep space explorations in directions of untold and unabashed creation. Ultimately, Maller's work and that of his contemporaries is the result of the findings of these new explorations, while still reinforcing the traditional realities of success: passion, commitment, time, practice, hard work, sacrifice, motivation, networking, and the ability to generate a sense of purpose and self-worth from within the maelstrom of our complex, inner psychological workings. There are no shortcuts.
The generation of art, the creation of something from nothing, the manifestation and interpretation of parts of yourself into a form is a challenging process regardless of the vehicle. Fractions of your intellect, feelings, desires, thoughts, fantasies, insecurities, fears, social commentaries and private observations all wait patiently in the consciousness of the artist to be acknowledged, processed, and put on display to be judged. The degree to which someone exposes themselves is not exclusive to the vessel, the medium is often inconsequential – what is primary is the idea of expression. Across music, poetry, literature, painting, photography, acting, dancing, theatre, sculpture, film and any artistic pursuit, there remains a simple, common thread. Without the cerebral, human impetus – the moment of genesis, none of these things would be possible. Digital art is still inescapably human, and it is within the same frame work as the rest of our celebrated exploits that it should be considered. Below, is a metaphorical line in the sand, a chronological point of reference in the never ending evolution of art, and the insights of one man who stares fearlessly into the black void of a white screen and sees nothing but unlimited potential.
Words: James Watkins
Can you please list five things about yourself we might be surprised to learn, and what can you see if you look out your apartment window?
1) I literally work from my living room table. It has weird interlocking diagonal struts that hold it up, and leave no room for things like a person's legs. I need a desk. I don't know why I don't have a desk.
2) I read every day. I always have a book on the go, and subscribe to seven magazines.
3) I have a weird preoccupation with having solid ground beneath my feet – the idea of things happening subterraneanly makes me anxious. This means I am well suited to beaches and poorly suited to New York City, somewhat ironically.
4) I'm a reasonably good drummer, having started learning at 13. I haven't had a kit in my house for the last 5 years, but am getting a space with some friends and a brand new Ludwig in the next month.
5) I like Bryan Adams. Go fuck yourself.
This week out of my window, I can see the building across the street. When we move in two weeks, I'll be looking out across McCarren park and the city skyline, including the Empire state. And also a disgusting half finished building directly opposite. But I'll ignore that.
with Ari Wenkle.
'Siccerro' with Niklas Lundberg.
You run a highly successful and well respected artist collective called Depthcore. What is it? Who's in it? How does it work? What's your role and what are you trying to achieve with the collective?
Depthcore is an international art collective I dreamed up in my Dad's backyard in early 2002. It's a private group of artists who come together to produce themed Chapters of artwork at random intervals throughout the year. When we first started, we were making new Chapters once every two months – as the quality of the work increased, and with it the professional demand for our artists, release dates started to become more spaced out. At present, we are releasing two or three Chapters a year, usually contains 80-100 new pieces of art, photography and music.
The guys and girls in it… apart from being some of the most talented digital artists in the world are also fast becoming some of my best friends. They're wonderful, creative, funny, opinionated, loving people. Staying with an endeavour like this over prolonged periods of time requires certain personality characteristics; loyalty, passion, commitment. The artists who stay active and keep producing with us for the long term always have these three qualities, and that makes for a great group of people.
I'm the Creative Director. I don't even know what that means within the context of a collective like Depthcore any more. Ultimately, I make decisions regarding the direction of the collective, pursue its growth and development, and help to focus the fairly democratic decision making process we have. I do all of our PR stuff, initiate our offline endeavours, step in as an arbitrator on difficult discussions and generally round up / encourage everyone come deadline time.
I think our Chapters have been going from strength to strength… we had a couple of especially strong Chapters in Temple, Requiem and then Noir that we kind of plateaued at for a while, but the stuff we put forth in 2011 was a strong step forward for us, and definitely a cut above anything we'd done before. We ended the year with "TIME", which is my favourite Chapter by a long way. The diversity, the overall level of quality exemplifies what we are about as a collective at this point in time. I'm hoping our next Chapter, and the ones after it, will continue to reflect this commitment to growth, experimentation and craft. Our print program will be launched before the next Chapter, and I'm really excited that people are going to be able to bring Depthcore in to their lives in a tangible way – it's a step that has taken us much too long to take, and I'm as pleased as I am relieved to be going live with it shortly.
with Christian Jehle.
You have collaborated extensively with other Depthcore artists over the years. What excites you about collaborations? How do you approach the works and what are the work flows and dialogues like between the artists? What have been some of the more memorable works you have worked on collaboratively?
I've always found collaborations fun and enjoyable. Having someone else who is talented and skilled give you a place to get started from is a massive advantage as an artist – it frames your creative thought, gives you friendly parameters to operate inside and a set of elements to start playing with. It's just as good when you're the one starting off – you know you don't have to hone something to too fine a point – sending over a fairly rough piece and seeing someone else go to town drawing their own idea out of your framework is a really pleasant sensation.
Usually a collaboration in Depthcore is a pretty informal thing – a quick conversation, establish some concepts, someone gets going. Send it over, jam it out, send it back – sometimes it's a one time hand off, sometimes there's a few rounds. There's no hard and fast rules. Niklas Lundberg and I did one of my personal favourite collaborations lately in our piece Siccerro – that was a three rounder where he made the initial piece, I went hard on it then he finished off strong. This was one instance where I was actually probably a little heavy handed in my round – the idea with a collaboration is that you want to accentuate, not dominate, and I really changed the piece up a lot. To Niklas's credit, he did a great job taking my additions and expanding strongly on them. I love the feel of that piece – I like immersive work like that, I was proud to have been involved.
with Jaymi Britten.
with Brian Smith.
You've been a full-time freelance digital artist for five years and have been creating digital art for ten. What are the tools of your trade? How have the tools, and digital art as a whole, developed in the last decade, and what have you learnt in that time about the commercial art industry?
The core application behind my work has always been Photoshop. I first started using it in 1998 – Photoshop 4. Not CS4, 4. I honestly think I could still do the bulk of my work with the features photoshop had 14 years ago. I only really use the basics tools and standard blur filters.
Tools in terms of software has certainly grown and evolved, and things are obviously much faster now, but aside from the performance boost my process exists within the same parameters I established when I first started making things with a computer – lots of layers, lots of selections, lots of masks, lots of adjustment layers. My process is certainly about as basic and fundamentally based as is possible.
Digital art has changed beyond recognition. Then it was "digital" art – for the most part flashy, gaudy, shiny and pretty crap. Now I think it's just art – people who always would have been artists, blessed with a conceptual mind and the patience and aptitude to hone a skill were presented with computers instead of canvases. They're expressing their ideas (which in turn are a part of their generation's ideas) through digital media. It's cool to have been a part of this since close to the beginning, where aside from guys like Joshua Davis and the rest of the hell.com people, most of us were just using eyecandy to set text on fire. The stuff being created now via digital means is just worlds apart from where it began, certainly blurring the lines of digital and fine art.
In terms of what I've learned commercially… that's a whole other can of worms. Commercial art vs personal art always boils down to finding a balance, and that's all I really feel like saying on the matter.
Your artworks are dynamic, graphic and engaging. They contain approaches that are loose, playful and free as well as tight, fastidious and refined. The feels vary from mechanised, science-fiction styled imagery to feminine, organic and smooth illustrative work – whilst almost always retaining a surreal, other worldly aesthetic. Can you discuss the development of your style, from when your interest in art first developed, to embracing digital art, to what you're currently working on?
Well, it started off terrible. I have had really bad taste for a really long time. I'm not honestly sure that I'm past it. I started off making terrible metal and lighting effects in Photoshop. From there, I graduated to making terrible abstract renders in 3D. I spent a LOT of time making slightly better abstract renders, and playing with them in Photoshop. Like four years worth of a long time. Then I discovered you could work this shit in with photos – that took another four years or so. These days, I play a lot with photos, and much less with renders. I view my renders as a crutch, a trick, a deceit. They're so easy for me to do, and have so much visual impact that it feels like cheating to use them. That, in conjunction with the fact that I've been making and abusing them for the better part of a decade has resulted in me creating a lot of pieces using nothing but photos.
However, lately, I've been really troubled by the lack of ownership I feel after completing a piece based on other people's photography. Did I really spend this much time learning how to do this stuff to just become a glorified digital collage maker? I finish making things and have so little of myself in there that it barely feels worth the time it took. The solution and way forward for me lies in taking the photographs myself, which is a matter of finding the time and motivation to get out there and do so.
What does art (both yours and other people’s) provide you? What do you love about art, making art, looking at, and experiencing art? What are you aiming to achieve and express with your work?
You know, I really try not to over-think this kind of stuff. When I look at art, I feel like I appreciate it from a very technical point of view – I like stuff that takes a lot of skill, a lot of craft. I like seeing work that makes me feel like the artist put a bit of themselves in to it – the same way you can hear soul in a person's music, I think you can see and feel it in visual work. I honestly connect more strongly to music than I do to art, which may be an odd thing to say as someone who is a professional artist and runs a large art collective, but it's true.
In terms of my own work, I just want to make stuff that makes me happy, to create work that gives me a sense of satisfaction. That's what I want. I want to play on my computer for a few days, give my subconscious a chance to run around, my conscious mind some time to concentrate and ply the solitary, shallow craft I have spent a decade honing and at the end of the day have something cool to show for it. If it challenges me, goes somewhere unexpected, and it looks good and when i'm done with it, then I feel good about it.
with Emeric Trahand.
In a lot of your work the blend of photography and digital manipulation is seamless to a point where it's difficult to ascertain what is and isn't real. Are there any limitations to digital art currently? How far away do you think we are from 100%, indistinguishable photo realism, or are we there already?
We're definitely there already, which kind of sucks in a way. The modern eyes see something amazing and immediately and instinctively question its authenticity. The limitations of digital art are gone – anything can be made, seamless integration of imagination in media is a reality.
That's never my goal though. I try to create scenarios and scenes that look very realistic, but by their very nature and content obviously aren't. I'm just going for that one moment of suspended disbelief. I want my work to always have enough artistry that it's quickly apparent that the scene is fantastic, but enough craft that that moment of magic exists.
The works where you have expertly layered patterns onto the bodies of woman, reveal a sensitivity and innate understanding of curves, shadow and the nuances of the female figure. The finished impression is both tribal and extra-terrestrial. These works are often illustrations over a photograph of a collaborator. What do you enjoy about having the platform of a photograph to illustrate onto?
I don't really do this style of work any more. I learned a lot making the work, but I'm done with the style. When I was making it, the thought that the work might be perceived as sexual never occurred to me; in my mind, I was just using the skin as the canvas as opposed to the space around the person. It was an inversion of compositional space, and that's what interested me. I added a lot of tools and tricks to my repertoire creating those pieces – they are more technical than a first glance may indicate.
Looking back, I realise that a lot of people thought I was fascinated with the bodies I was working on, and that simply wasn't the case. I enjoyed having someone shoot a canvas that I couldn't control – that was the great part about the collaboration, having a starting point that presented natural opportunities and challenges. My work is just the visual result of me allowing my brain to roam a pre-existing scene with the skills I've built over the years – this sounds obvious (and it is) but it seems that my lack of pre-conceptualisation is foreign to a lot of people. I just take a scene as it is, and start building.
I want to start creating work based on my own photography, because now I want to own and control that scene from the outset. I think my future is going to contain a lot of elaborately constructed sets and scenarios…
with Joeseph Sorenson.
You moved from Melbourne to Brooklyn. NYC seems to be a polarising city, that you either love, hate, love to hate or hate to love. Why the move? What keeps you there and can you provide some insights into what it's like to live in Brooklyn as an artist?
I moved for fun. I met an amazing girl and stayed. It's a pretty classic NYC story. Where I live in Brooklyn is a fun and vibrant neighbourhood. There's so much stimuli it can be hard to process sometimes. I'm not the kind of person to fall in love with a place though – I like it here, I love the energy, and the crush doesn't do my head in like it used to. I think people romanticise NYC, and I can see why, but to me it just feels like home. This is where the action is, so this is where I need to be.
The collection of world-class content on Depthcore and the amount of creativity on display is almost difficult to fathom. How has being involved with the site and immersed in the artworks of some of the most successful and influential artists in the world, influenced, inspired and motivated your own creative pursuits?
It's impossible for me to really gauge that. Depthcore has been such a constant, consuming part of my entire adult life that separating myself from it and trying to work out what parts of me have and haven't been influenced by being a part of it is futile. I can say, without question, that being surrounded by such a talented group of people has pushed me to constantly evolve, and to never become complacent. I think my work has reflected that over the years, as it's changed and grown.
On a day to day level, it doesn't really register that you're being challenged, but I think everyone in Depthcore will tell you that spending so much time interacting with great artists has provided a subtle, constant motivation to improve. I think that push is evinced in the galleries of artists who have been with us for a few years – the development is apparent as you move through their submissions.
with Holly Bynoe.
with Mike Harrison.
You're a self described "avid consumer of banana bread", a "mild force of nature on the basketball court and your Twitter profile says you "drive around in your van solving mysteries and shit". This is a relaxed and colloquial way to present your professional online persona, and reflects someone who presumably doesn't take life or themselves too seriously.
What are you looking for in a good loaf of banana bread? How many successful three pointers would you be happy with out of ten attempts? How has this accessible approach helped you with your career?
Yeah, I don't think there's much point in trying to present yourself as a stone faced corporation when you're one guy running a business – one advantage of not having anyone else invested in your operation is that you're free to imbue it with your own personality, so I enjoy doing that from time to time.
I'm glad you asked about banana bread though; a good loaf has plenty of good banana taste, and a heavy, moist consistency. My girlfriend bakes a stellar loaf – she crusts with walnuts which I think is a nice touch.
Honestly, I've never been a great shooter from three. I have a mental block or something; if I take just one step inside, I'd be happy knocking down 8 from 10. Outside though, I'd have to settle for maybe 4. It's something I need to work on. My post game is pretty decent though – I have a very reliable turnaround fade away from about 15 feet.
I think that being able to communicate well and forge good relationships with people is really important – any freelancer will tell you how important repeat business is. Being able to just be a person and set aside unnecessary corporate mumbo jumbo is always going to work in your favour.
with Jerico Santander.
with Valter Simoes.
Some people consider digital art an inferior art-form to traditional methods, with the ability to undo any mistakes and endlessly experiment until you get the look you want. Do you have a background in the tangible artistic realms? Is this a cynical, backwards attitude towards art and its development in the new millennium? Why do you choose to create digital art and how would you respond to the naysayers?
I do not have a traditional background. I wish I did. I've been doing a lot of drawing lately, and I really enjoy it. However, I'm used to being pretty good at art, and my drawing skills are a long way behind my digital art skills, so I get frustrated at the outcomes I end up with when I work with my pens. Of course, any idiot can tell you that it takes time to develop new skills, but it's tough when you're used to being able to produce quality work and have to deal with mediocre outcomes while you learn. Emeric Trahand and I were talking about this the other day – how difficult it can be to branch into new styles and mediums when you're accustomed to producing well crafted and polished things with your established methods – dealing with sub-standard stuff while you develop is really frustrating.
In terms of other peoples perceptions of digital art… the snobbery used to piss me off, but I realize it's something I can't change, so I've let it go. Ultimately, if we keep pushing this as hard and fast as we have been for the last decade, it will be impossible to ignore or look down upon, so thats a better focus to have.
with Jeff Huang.
How would you describe your personal philosophy to life?
Calm exterior, chaos interior.
with Holly Bynoe.
with Holly Bynoe.
with Kervin Brisseaux.
Interviews often feature questions like: "Can you tell us about your perfect day in NYC". Then you'd say something like, "get up late…go out for breakfast, walk my dog, hold hands with my girlfriend….." and I'd probably stop reading after that. Perhaps for something different, you can come up with your own question and answer it? A question that allows us an insight into yourself or your art that only you can catalyse from yourself.
"If you could have albums from one recording artist on a desert Island, who would it be and why?"
Wow, what an excellent question. I think this question necessitates a bit of thought – you need to pick a band or artist that has had a long career, has experimented with a few different sounds, and ultimately has a great deal of re-listenability – something that will prove invaluable on the island.
Ultimately, for me, I think it boils down to a discussion between Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. I'd also throw in Metallica and The Hilltop Hoods, but it would be half hearted because as much as I like them, they do not have the stylistic diversity to sustain me for a lifetime.
After careful consideration, I'm going with The Rolling Stones. As much love as I have for the Beatles, I could pretty much take Abbey Road and leave the rest. Led Zeppelin have a distinguished discography, but I feel like the Stones have not only a broader one, but more stylistic diversity to suit more moods and situations. There's so much material to explore as well – I love the Stones, but I'm still missing entire albums from their catalogue. Plus their stuff goes well with the concept of being stranded on a desert island – though maybe Led Zeppelin has the edge here… this question is tough! I'll think about it.
Artists, perhaps more than non-artists, often struggle with things like "meaning", "direction" and "self-belief". There's so many amazing artists in the world, but very few rise to the top and manage to earn a living off it. What do you think it takes on a personal level to come as close as possible to fully realising one's creative potential?
A few things. First and foremost, the dedication to put in thousands and thousands of hours worth of practice. A willingness to take the initiative and create and learn for yourself. A strength of mind to not get sucked in to a "scene" and to work out what YOU like to make and to focus on that, rather than parroting the creation of others. Tenacity to overcome hard times. Practicality to accept working a shit job to sustain yourself while you build a creative career. Humility to accept that clients will change and control jobs. Control to retain your sanity whilst spending days alone with financial and personal uncertainty looming over your shoulder as you force yourself to continue creating and growing. Gratitude once things do come together that you've accomplished something. Then, just the drive to keep moving forward.
with Max Spencer.
with Max Spencer.
The appropriation of imagery and the mimicking of styles is old as art itself. Artists like Lichenstein and Warhol based entire careers around the reproduction of the imagery of others, and all the great painters have dedicated time to reproducing works or techniques from the vaults of history. Google image search has made it easier than ever to find exactly what one needs for digital artworks. Where do you draw the line between theft and appropriation? Who have been your major influences and what umbrella ideals do you personally work under when it comes to sourcing and using other people's imagery?
I really don't think I've had a lot of artistic influences in my career. I grew up reading, acting, playing music. Visual art is something I picked up pretty late, and I came up through almost exclusively digital channels. Being involved with Depthcore has unquestionably influenced me, but it's not something I can pinpoint or isolate. I've always just made my own work, which has grown and evolved of its own accord. It's kind of a point of pride of mine that something I've made looks like something I've made – if nothing else, I've got a strong ownership of my aesthetic. I think a lot of that comes from the fact that I've spent ten years making work that didn't have a precursor – there was nothing for me to try and copy or replicate. Now, of course, there is, but I consciously challenge myself to keep making original and unique work.
In regards to sourcing material, if I'm not using shots I take myself, I personally only use stock photos – stuff that I legally obtain (read purchase) from stock sites. I think copyright laws need to be respected – I would never use Google images to just find something and slap it into a piece without getting consent from the creator. If a photo is shot and uploaded to be used as stock then it's fair game. It's important to make it your own when you work it into the piece though – to make significant alterations to the source material to the point where it where no-one could ever look at what you've made and say it's even similar to the original stock. Stock photography is like an ingredient to be taken and baked into something else – you can't just change the packaging on the flour and sell it as your own flour, you have to make a fucking cake otherwise you're not really entering in to this with the right spirit.
with Holly Bynoe.
You're in regular contact with many of the world's best digital artists. What trends are you seeing? With almost complete control and untold freedom through digital development, how are artists pushing the barriers and how forthcoming are they with digital techniques – filters, brushes, photoshop shortcuts etc? Do you all share around what you learn, or covet your personal discoveries and keep them close to your chest?
I'm seeing less trends than ever before. I feel like guys are sinking deeper in to themselves, and producing more developed and refined versions of their work – really expanding and growing within their own aesthetic. I'm sure the trends are happening outside of my sphere of attention – I tend to focus on what I see on Depthcore and block the rest out. I find distracting myself with tumblr, pinterest etc, just dilutes my concepts and ideas and diminishes my attention span. We all talk a lot, and we definitely share our own thoughts and ideas on processes and methodology. It's a lot less about filters and brushes than it is about simple combinations of photoshop fundamentals though – you'd be surprised.
with Hello Von.
Wild animals make up a healthy proportion of your portfolio. What attracts you to this subject matter and what freedoms does featuring animals instead of humans allow? How do you approach integrating them into your environments?
I suppose I use animals a lot because using people as protagonists carries inherit connotations – with people, you'll look at someone, see their age, race, clothing and instantly make inferences. Animals are a blanker slate – you can explore their nature more freely and create your own constructs with more ease.
When it comes to bringing them in to the piece, I just pay attention to detail. I like to make sure it doesn't look like I've just cut and pasted an animal in to some random shit (even though thats exactly what I've done). I like to try and take the time to create something that looks natural and organic – like the stuff I've added just happened to be there, so at first glance the viewer will think "Hmm, what an odd scene, I'm surprised that existed" – even if that thought exists only for a second before they think "oh, of course". Stuff like correcting lighting, shadows, adding fur elements, shines etc. This is the fun detailing stuff I really enjoy.
You've made some music for a couple of Depthcore's Chapter releases. Playful, dark, instrumental-beat-driven-tech-synth tracks. What is your background in music? What instruments do you play? How does the feeling and experience of creating music differ from that of creating visual art?
That music is fucking terrible, and I'm annoyed that now more people are going to know it exists. My career in Fruity Loops was at least short. I've been playing percussion for about fifteen years now (I own guitars, but my lack of skill is laughable). I actually really love jamming and making music – it was my passion long before I started making art. If I hadn't become so obsessed with digital art when I was 19, I think I would unquestionably have started exploring a career in music – not that I was that good at playing drums, just that I absolutely loved doing it. Drums is so spontaneous and in the moment – you hit them, they make noise, and when you're done, it's over. It's the opposite of art with the hours of preparation, meticulous attention to detail and refining of concept and execution. Music for me is very free and in the moment. Shit, I wish I had that new kit already…
When you look back on your career to date, what are you most proud of and looking forward, what do you want to achieve with your art work and Depthcore, that you haven't done already?
Definitely proudest of Depthcore and everything we are and have accomplished already. Excited about the long-rumbling secret projects we've been working on forever finally coming to the surface this year. The quest to bring Depthcore in to the tangible world in a way that we have full control over has been a difficult one, and I'm excited to be approaching the end of that journey. I'm looking forward to continuing to grow DC, to grow myself as an artist, to grow my personal brand as a freelancer and to continue exploring and travelling the world. There's nothing but good things ahead.