Thursday, 20 February 2014

Interview with Loish

You've talked about how you use underwater motifs and symbols, like jellyfish and octopuses, to show your interest in surrealism within your work, and that your interest in pin up art is also present too. Stylistically you were influenced by the style of art nouveau and manga and you could say that your work is a representation of what interests you in the moment you create it. As time progresses, people's interests are bound to change and we as artists, like to edge out into other areas and use different motifs and symbols in our work. 

What in your work have you noticed, could be considered newer symbols and motifs that represent your interests now? And what is the visual connection of some of these newer injections of personality?

Loish - Lately I've been very interested in the beauty of darker, more gritty settings. I've been making illustrations that depict decapitated apartment buildings, run-down down rooms and rainy, dark weather. It's a very instinctive thing, because I think - like most people - that these kinds of settings have a natural beauty and appeal to them. I like the atmosphere they evoke and I think it is a good conceptual match with my use of colours and textures: I've always aimed to make visually appealing artwork with bright colours, but have always set these against rough textures - such as crumbling plaster walls or old paper - and dark, earthy colours. 

What elements of symbolism do you no longer feel the need to include as much anymore and what are the reasons for moving on from them? Do you think that somethings will always be present in your work?

My work has never been heavily symbolic, so if there's anything I moved on from, it would be more stylistic elements that I've simply grown past. My work used to be a lot cuter and more inspired by things like My Little Pony and japanese Kawaii styles, something I loved. I occasionally reach back to the color combinations and "cute" elements from back then, but I feel my personal and artistic style has matured quite a bit since then and I no longer like these things as much as I used to. I still really like them though, you'll see some ridiculously cute and pink things pop up on my sketchblog from time to time.

I'd like to talk about your personal project, Trichome, with you. What started as a graduation project, saw the release of a short animation called Blue, and you have two more animations you'd like to create and release that are set along the same premise within the Trichrome project.In a more recent blog post that I read of yours, after some time sitting partially shelved, you're now making some effort to pick that project back up and you're also preparing to fund both animations yourself.

What new ideas and messages are you hoping to explore in the next two films? What is your ultimate goal with this project?

Well, before creating Trichrome Blue, I wrote a thesis analyzing the different reasons why animation is used as a tool in advertising which was really the inspiration for the film. Although the first Trichrome film addresses this in some ways, I really want to have more of a clear message in the second two films about the underlying theme of advertising and the practices used to convince consumers to buy certain products.

I want to create more tension and go further with the ideas that I set up in the first film, basically. The direction will be more dystopic and dark, something that is too subtle in the first film to really register with viewers. My ultimate goal is, objectively speaking, just to create a trilogy of shorts which reflect my personal ideas and storytelling approach, that show more about who I am as an artist. I have a lot of digital art out there that reflect my taste and aesthetic, but not a lot about how I approach storytelling. I think Trichrome will be a really crucial part of my portfolio once I'm done.

Trichrome Blue from Lois van Baarle on Vimeo.

After completing and releasing the final two films, do you have any plans or ideas to expand that project's 'world,' or do you see it more as a logical stop point that needs no further expansion?

I plan on closing this 'world' neatly with the last movie, so I don't think it will be needing further expansion. I personally really like movies, books, TV shows, etc., that know when to stop and wrap the story up nicely with a concise ending. This is what I want to do as well!

Have you got ideas of projects waiting on the side lines you're hoping to pick up afterwards? Or will your openness to what ever opportunities come your way, be more of a deciding factor in what you do next?

The only thing I've got going after Trichrome is an artbook. I really want to release a book which shows different work I've done over the years. People have been asking me if I've made one for so long, that it's something I really need to do! But for the rest I am open to any opportunity, which is my general approach towards most paid work I do. It usually yields the most interesting results!

With some of your previous client work, you have delivered character designs for computer game projects. In the same blog post I read about how you're pushing on with Trichrome, I read that you're seriously considering moving into concept design within the games industry.Concept design in computer games (and film) is a very wide and dynamic profession. One week, you could work on a character for a science fiction game and then the next, you have to design a small object for a different game in a completely different style.

What sort of games would you love to turn your hand to and what sort of assets would you love to be challenged to design? (like some kind of futuristic tank for instance)

I definitely like working on character design the most. Although I think it's interesting to do environments and vehicles, I am not very strong in these areas. I love drawing people, though, and I love how the game industry is open to a very high level of detail in their character designs. In the animation world, designs tend to be more simple and cartoony because this is easier to animate. But games are a lot about good, detailed graphics, which allows me to go much further as a character designer than I normally would.

Although you admit you're not an avid gamer, what games out there that have been released, past or more recent, really impressed you in their design and visual style?

I am very impressed by the artwork I've seen for "The Last of Us." The game seems to be a mix of some of my favourite movies ever - with some influences from The Children of Men and The Road - and the style really reflects this gritty, bleak environment that I find so fascinating in dystopic movies. I haven't played the game myself but I've heard a lot about how it creates strong feelings of love and the need to protect. I think that's a beautiful approach and I love how the realistic design work really draws you in.

Random Question Section

What is your favourite food?

Although I don't eat it often, I love baked things like cookies, cake, pastries etc etc. I have a serious sweet tooth.

Can you play a musical instrument? If not, what would you like to learn to play?

I absolutely cannot! I've never been very good with music. I would love to lean to play bass guitar, because I think it's one of the most beautiful sounding instruments.

If you could interview one of your artist heroes, who would it be and what question would you like to ask them the most?

I suppose I'd love to talk to an artist who created something truly unique, style-wise, and poured their own life and vision into that work. I'd love to talk with an artist like Egon Schiele and ask them questions about the specific events and people that inspired his drawings. Or an even more obvious artist: Vincent van Gogh. Their work has a kind of honesty to it, that gives you a glimpse of some of the pain and intensity they experienced in their life, and I'd love to be able to just talk about that life with them and be able to see specific things reflected in their work.

Are you a collector of art yourself and if so, what paintings do you treasure?

I'm actually not a great collector of art myself. I have plans to become one, but I haven't gotten around to really searching for good original art just yet.

What really grinds your gears?

Art thieves! I've had one too many experiences with web shops that suddenly started selling clothing with my art printed on them. Of course it's enraging that they are making a profit off of my work, but what also grinds my gears is that I have to put lots of time and effort into going after these people to make them stop selling the product. I hate that! I just don't have the time for it!

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