In the early 2010s, we began to read about the vinyl revival, and now, in 2018, it looks as though it’s here to stay. But why are we telling you about vinyls? The answer is simple—our team is filled to the brim with vinyl connoisseurs! This is why we’re so excited about our exclusive interview with Chris Topham, a charming gentleman who owns a record label called Plane Groovy. When I asked David Longdon about him, he told me that Topham is almost evangelical about vinyl. In other words, we’re talking about a man with a long-lasting passion for music, and there’s always a thing or two that we can learn from people like that.
It’s not every day that I get to meet an artist who has worked for a developer for more than a decade, but as it turns out, Matt Rhodes was already working as an intern for BioWare in the latter half of the 2000s, toiling away to bring Jade Empire to your Xbox. The then intern was given the opportunity to work on the first installment in the Mass Effect trilogy, paving the way for him to continue on and ship six AAA productions with the Canadian developer. Matt is now an Art Director, so it’s clear that his years’ worth of experience paid off, in the interview, he writes, “My role is to support and defend the art team, cultivate and promote the visual direction of the project, and to foster a culture of critique.” Adding that at the time of this writing, he’s just starting with his Art Director role, but that this explanation encapsulates the methodology of other art directors who he hopes to approximate. And I sincerely believe in his ability to do just that.
Irakli Nadar is a Georgian digital artist whose main focus is creating hyper-realistic portraits of beautiful models and pop culture icons. As I see it, all of Nadar’s portraits have been successful because all of them have gone viral and brought him thousands of awestruck followers on social media. This artist’s portfolio is a combination of hyper-realism, wonderful lighting, and a set of unique renditions of popular characters like Overwatch’s Mercy and Princess Mononoke.
Andreas Rocha is a Portuguese environment artist who specializes in fantasy and Sci-Fi. He started out with a degree in architecture, but now he’s working as a freelance concept artist whilst creating exclusive content for his sixty-seven patrons. In the past, Rocha’s painterly style earned him the opportunity to work for world-renowned clients like Fantasy Flight Games, The Mill and Wizards of the Coast. Now, you can often find him posting amazing fantastical paintings on his ArtStation page. Our personal favorite is “High Places,” which is a piece he created for one of his Patreon illustration packs (inspired by Paro Taktsang monastery in Bhutan). In this exclusive interview, we will discuss how Rocha feels about Patreon and the benefits that it can bring.
The new Battle Chasers: Night War (2017) is a unique RPG game that needs its artists to work in a very specific art style—an art style like Grace Liu’s. It’s no surprise that hand-painted low-poly 3D will always feel at home in a stylized game, and that’s why the vast majority of you might have seen Liu’s work in games like Diablo III (2012) and League of Legends (2009). With nine years’ worth of experience and the opportunity to work at Blizzard Entertainment, Riot Games and Airship Syndicate, I’m sure that she has a lot to teach us all.
Some of you may remember our 2016 interview with Even Mehl Amundsen, and we hope that you’re as excited to catch up with him as we are! For those of you who don’t know, Even is a Norwegian concept artist who specializes in fantasy art. In the past, he has lived in Canada, Czech republic, Norway and the UK, and he has had the opportunity to work for companies like Blizzard Entertainment and VOLTA as he made his way around the world. Now you can find him back Norway, or more specifically, Oslo, where he is working on TEGN. This is Even’s art-book series, a project he started when he challenged himself to draw three hundred and sixty-six unique, story-laced illustrations over the course of one year.
This isn’t the first Vox Groovy interview to feature someone who has worked on Duelyst (2016), but Anton Fadeev is the artist who made the game’s art style pop. His bold colour palette and stupendous environments have been around since the start of its Kickstarter campaign on March 9, 2014. Of course, those of you who continue to follow the game’s development know that the majority of its marketing art was made by him too. We spoke to Anton recently, and we were able to learn more about how he got his first credit (Duelyst) through Keith Lee—an ex-Blizzard developer who showed Anton that his artwork might be worth more than initially thought.
Jakub Javora is a Czech concept artist with a degree in fine arts. In spite of that, he always wanted to work in concept art, and after working as a matte painter for a couple of years, he built a portfolio and moved to Canada. This was Javora’s first opportunity to work on AAA titles at Volta, a renowned concept art studio that has delivered a number projects to companies like Capcom, Riot Games and Ubisoft. In the interview, he said that, “I felt humbled because the artists who are working there are so skilled.” He also said that, “I’ll try to come back to the fine art side of things, just to keep the balance.” So it’s clear that he wants to keep both of his skill-sets sharpened for the for the foreseeable future.
Florent Lebrun is a French concept artist who’s currently working at One Pixel Brush. After moving to Montreal, he chose to transition from matte painting to concept art—a decision he doesn’t regret one bit. When he explained why he made the transition, he said that, “I think that concept art is a lot quicker and more reactive […]“ As a matte painter, Florent worked at MPC, Rodeo FX and Solid State Images. For those of you who are interested in the productions he’s been involved with, the main ones are: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Skyfall and Wrath of the Titans. Still, this is all but a stepping stone in Florent’s journey as a creative professional.
John Grello is currently living in Georgia, United States, where he works as a concept artist at Tripwire Interactive. He is a very good all-rounder, and it’s clear that he enjoys experimenting with new workflows in his spare time. John’s ArtStation is one of the few professional portfolios where you can see a continuous drive to improve. In the interview, he says, “I continue to study on the weekends, just doodling, trying new techniques and hunting down those ‘ah-ha!’ moments.” And it definitely shows!