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Questions & Answers George Grie 3DArtist Online Journal Interview

3DArtist is part of Future plc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. I have received numerous responses from visitors all around the world since I started this website. I am grateful for your interest in my work and sensitivity revealed in your letters. Many of you have asked about my background education and my thoughts on surrealistic concepts. I hope these answers will be of assistance to you in understanding my viewpoint, work, and philosophy behind it.

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Q; Where do you draw inspiration for your art from?
A; Inspiration… It might seem that everything most certainly comes to it, or from it, for that matter. I won’t be the only one to be incapable of determining its exact ways. My muse comes and goes as she pleases; I’m just there to catch the drift. In fact, everything around us can be inspiring: music, movies, ads and commercials, etc.., as long as it carries a strong visual, philosophical, or emotional message. All ideas are in the air, you just have to keep your mind open to them. However, there exists one unbeatable source of an inspirational chain reaction, so to speak, - that is another artist’s artworks. An idea enveloped in an art form can trigger my creativity regardless of the subject matter it represents, and I’m on the journey to give life to those ideas kept at the back of my mind.

Q; From concept to a final piece, how long does an average piece of art take to create?
A; If it was only possible for an artist to meet deadlines! True answer is I don’t know. There certainly are preferences of spending no more than one week for one image, because I try to keep it fresh while the inspiration is still in full swing, but it all depends. Sometimes I feel that if I spend more time on a particular piece, I lose the original meaning and will have to move on to something else, leaving the piece in creation without intricate details or sophisticated insight. I believe that is why some of my works may seem to be less elaborate than others.

Q; What software do you use to create your pieces?
A; I use two main applications for the most of my images, 3ds max and Adobe Photoshop. 3ds max is the major tool for setting up any of the image scenes, where I import live forms from Poser and Daz studio, background skies or landscapes from Terragen and MojoWorld and extras from Zbrush and CreatureCreator.

Q; How would you describe the role that photo-editing software, such as Photoshop plays in your art?
A; Photoshop remains the most imperative production tool, as long as I’m creating two-dimensional art. All finishing touches, such as hue and saturation adjustments, or drastic color balance changes are done with CS Photoshop.

Q; Given the size and complexity of your pictures, they all seem to convey the feeling of a breath-taking awe. Has the idea of animation ever crossed your mind?
A; Oh yes! What artist doesn’t dream of setting his images alive? We all enjoy spectacular graphic effects of some recent motion pictures. 3D graphic animation’s literally revolutionized modern movie industry. Regrettably, building a full-scale 3D scene is a time-consuming process, and there’s just only 24 hours in a day. Not to mention script writing that it involves, which might require a different type of a creative approach.

Q; Some artists begin with an exact idea in their mind's eye and simply replicate it, others start with an overlaying idea and allow it to evolve as the piece is being created. How do you generate the concepts for your pieces?
A; Generating a concept doesn’t take much time. My future concepts emerge as a subtle vision of something intriguing, surprising and challenging, in other words – something worth taking that deep artistic plunge. The first mental image usually transforms greatly at the end. What an amusing experience it is for me to trace these unpredictable transformations of my original ideas! It is almost as if my pictures have there own life! And they seem to be in control by telling me which way to go, which part should be emphasized and what additional elements might be required for the image to be complete.

Q; Why would you supply your pieces with a short description? You believe that there is a more profound story behind the image that has to be told, is that it?
A; I prefer not to force my own interpretation or philosophical opinion upon viewers. My short notes are meant only as a hint, alongside with the image titles themselves. Sometimes I would incorporate encyclopaedic quotes into my descriptions, but you are absolutely free to interpret my artworks in your own unique way and to neglect any guidelines coming from me whatsoever. In fact, my sole existence should be of no concern to you, when you’re trying to fulfil the most challenging job of all – to build a perception bridge to a picture based entirely on your sensitivity, personal knowledge and world perception. In the majority of my artworks, I try to merge images of real things with subconscious emotions of the surreal and philosophical thoughts. That is why some of my creations can appear similar to mental puzzles or labyrinths where viewers can choose to take a trip from one point to another by analyzing symbolic objects lying around for their curious minds. Occasionally, a subject matter of the images is unclear when the path is hidden under layers and layers of mutually exclusive items, and the picture itself can seem to be excessively abstract and meaningless, but, trust me, there is always something for you to discover if you’re patient enough.

Q; If you could describe the meaning of your art in one word, what would that word be?
A; Tranquility.

Q; In your experience, what is more difficult, creating a concept or bringing it to life?
A; Creating an idea and transforming it into reality is a crucial process of any image development. But are artists really those people who create ideas per se or they are merely conductors in charge of delivering a message? It is yet to be discovered. Knowing the responsibility of my kind, I do not start making an image unless I have a worthy concept, because it is the most vital component of a great picture. A poor concept, even perfectly executed, still makes a mediocre, tasteless artwork. In my artistic world two realities co-exist – an almost usual, perceptible one and a reality of my own, quite real for me but possibly alien for other people. These realities help me to find my own version of answers to everlasting questions of human existence: birth, death, and life. I’m aware that it is my artistic duty to make my language understandable, and I suppose that a right mix of talent to create a concept and skill to deliver it are two main parts of creating a credible artwork. It can be a very long and painful process, requiring tons of technical knowledge, patience, and dedication, but in the end it is totally worth the effort.
Q; At a creative level, how does creating digital art compare to creating classical art?
A; The essence of a good artwork is its soul, and I wouldn’t draw a specific line of distinction between classical or digital art for that very reason. Any good picture is alive and has a way of communicating with its viewers by means of a captivating language of feelings. The difference between a classical and a digital creation resembles that of a keyboard and a pen: both of them are modern communication tools. With a keyboard, writing is accurate and fast, mistakes can be corrected quickly, and writing styles can be adjusted right away. When using a pen, our handwriting reflects our personality and gives out our physical presence. It becomes unique. On the other hand, this subtle yet formidable difference vanishes into thin air as most of artworks we see are in books or on the Internet. Digital imaging has almost no boundaries, imagination of the person who uses it being an only limit. It’s relatively easy to use, and it is a very convenient tool to produce good art. I have made my choice a long time ago and am willing to continue walking down this road.

Q; Many of your pieces feature mystical or mythological creatures; do you do any research before starting such a piece?
A; Initially, an image concept comes from my background knowledge and philosophical outlook. It might sound strange, but most of my research is done after the image is already finished, when I start looking for an appropriate title. Generally, I look up the information I need in encyclopaedias, but occasionally, if the subject inspires me, I dig deeper and study the material thoroughly.

Q; In your opinion, what are the most common mistakes aspiring artists seem to make?
A; Well, I’m hardly in a position to judge anyone, but have you personally ever wondered, looking at a professionally done artwork, whether there was anything missing? I get this feeling all the time. My guess would be that some 3d artists have very limited knowledge of fine art and its history, which inevitably results in a lack of juxtaposition balance, color moderation and proper choice of symbiotic elements in their works. Tons of mediocre, vulgar, or pretentious artworks appear on the market today only because artists want to distribute and sell them very quickly, putting monetary considerations ahead of everything else. It is a very dangerous practice for young artists, because not only it can encourage public’s bad taste, but also eventually diminish or even kill creativity in the artists themselves.

Q; Is there any advice you can pass on to young digital artists?
A; Do not try to fit in, always try to be yourself. It might be as well the most difficult task in a modern society, but you never know where it might lead you. Art can take any shape you want, as long as it touches somebody’s soul.

George Grie, April 20, 2008
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