UNDERSTANDING THE MIND & SOUL OF A CONCEPT ARTIST - AN INTERVIEW WITH CROM - CRISTIAN ORTIZ

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1. From what age did you realize you wanted to be an Illustrator ? 

I know it sounds like a bit of a cliche, but I have to say, since always. I have moved through various disciplines in the creative industry, animation, comics, storyboarding, games and advertising, but they all have had one thing in common and that is Drawing. When I first heard of the term Illustration as a career, I knew that is what I wanted and made every decision in my life from that point to achieve that. 

2. Are you self-taught or did you have a formal Art Education ? 

I always drew and had personal projects going since I was really young but I wanted to see what was there to learn from places like St. Martins University where every summer I’d spend all my pennies on their short courses on storyboarding, illustration and design. After that when I was 17, I went through a foundation course in East London which gave me a lot of structure into how to approach projects and briefs. I did an Illustration & Animation degree at Middlesex University where I met some amazing people and learnt from very traditional Illustrators who showed me things I did not think I needed. 

 

" I wanted to see what was there to learn from places like St. Martins University where every summer I’d spend all my pennies on their short courses on storyboarding, illustration and design. "

 

3. What is your preference: agency represented or entirely freelance? Why ?

I haven’t had any experience with agency representation yet so I could not really comment on it. Entirely freelance is what I know and if you enjoy meeting the people you are going to work with while professionally managing the admin side of the business, then this is how you want to do it. 

 

4. What are the traits of a good game artist ?

In my opinion, you need to be able to incorporate your creative vision within the needs of the brief at hand while making it into an exciting project for yourself. You need to be excited about the worlds and characters you are creating. 

 

" You need to be excited about the worlds and characters you are creating. "

 

5. What do you think an aspiring game artist should do, in order to learn the necessary skills for game art ? 

Well, it is such a broad industry that I can only say it depends what kind of game artist you want to be. Styles come and go but overall you need to be able to express your ideas visually and I believe that can only be achieved through practice of your own projects. When you start working on any project, at any level, you start realizing exactly what you are lacking of and what you need to work on to be where you want to be. 

 

" Styles come and go but overall you need to be able to express your ideas visually and I believe that can only be achieved through practice of your own projects "

 

6. Would you say your final illustrations are in anyway different from the initial concepts that you were imagining in your head ? 

I’d say they’ll never be exactly how I see them in my head and that is what makes me want to be better and practice more and more in a pursuit of one day seeing the work as it’s first envisioned. With that being said, the process of trying to achieve that always gives you nice surprises, you learn and sometimes end up with something better than what you had in mind in the first place.

7. Would you say that the works you exhibited at "Illustrated 2016" at the Truman Brewery, was closer to Fine Art? Where would you say Illustration finishes and Fine Art begins or do you not see a boundary ? 

I believe what gave the impression of that happening was the presence of physical pieces on canvases and fine paper as opposed to mass-produced prints. I try not to loose too much sleep on labels of that type. I create my work and as it has recently happened with my original pencil drawings and sketches, it’s value gets higher because people appreciate the fact that it is one of a kind. My professional background is from commercial work and pop culture so I think I’m yet to see where my work will go. 

8: What do you think of the Creative Community in London ? 

London has always felt to me like a magnet for creative people and the city gives place to some amazing groups of creatives who want to share their skills and experiences with others while improving their own crafts. I have been lucky enough to be here in London to witness some amazing communities such as the indie comics scene, the sign painters, the game developers and those who just genuinely love drawing, sculpting and meeting likeminded people.

 

" London has always felt to me like a magnet for creative people and the city gives place to some amazing groups of creatives who want to share their skills and experiences with others while improving their own crafts. "

CROM - CRISTIAN ORTIZ

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