As both an artist and musician, do you ever find that your art influences your own music, or vice versa?
Yeah all the time, I spread my time equally between my artwork and music, if I feel “stuck” for ideas I’ll sit and play my guitar for an hour or so, that way I’m constantly creating, and sometimes Ill even find a note or progression will inspire an idea. In the end its all creative so they tie together perfectly.
A number of your pieces depict futuristic landscapes / characters, and bring to mind the visuals of Ridley Scott’s “Bladerunner”, as well as some hints of H.R Gieger’s distinct style. Does their work, or indeed any other sci-fi, provide inspiration for any of your pieces?
I love sci fi because of the aspect of exploration, its so open to the artist to explore ideas, and because space is HUGE I often like to depict that in my work, by using larger scale environments that almost overwhelm the viewer to show this sense of scale.
Giger isn’t a direct influence, but his work definitely inspired artists that I’m directly influenced from. Alex Ruiz is a massive one for me, you can see the connection between these artists but what captured me was the use of shapes and chaos, then carefully selected colours to show gorgeous depth and I could stare at his pieces for hours on end really. I’m still learning and developing with every piece I do, which is why I’m so interested in futuristic landscapes, I never start with a set idea I just follow my brush and use large shapes and use exploration to find my way to a finished piece.
Your portraits are very striking and captivating - Is this an area you have focused on developing in particular? Portraits are seen as a challenge by many, and as such, were there any particular elements of portraiture found (or still find) challenging?
Yeah portraits have always interested me, you can gather a lot of information by simply looking at someone face and studying an expression. I have worked very hard on looking more at emotions before looking into how to go about doing portraits from a technical view, I spent time doing very rapid studies of facial expressions.
I still find them extremely challenging, I will often go through half a dozen sketches before settling down on one , I get plenty of inspiration from Renaissance painters that really spent time understanding the human form and I find that’s key, observation is the most important thing to an artist, everything from understanding your tools to understanding your subjects. I try to socialise with a variety of people, which in return gives me plenty of opportunities to sit and observe how people interact and react to each other. Sounds very odd I know haha.
Your portfolio contains some concept sketches for a video game - is this an ongoing project? Does a project like this present its’ own unique challenges?
What do you think of the art direction of modern video games?
These sketches were for University, I often found myself in teams of people with drifferent skillsets, such as 3D modelling, texturing etc. These were purely for University projects, I was part of a team doing concept art for everything from characters to environments.
In this industry I found speed and accuracy is the key, I would often have to come up with a dozen sketches and paintings in a day, tough challenge that makes you really have to think on your feet and can sometimes drain you both mentally and creatively.
As for the art direction in video games, I feel this is one of the most important aspects. The first thing the customer will see is the art on the front cover of the game, and when they stick the game on the first thing they will see is the graphics, not many people have turned around after playing a game and complimented it on the brilliant programming and coding haha.
What first lead you to start creating your art?Are you driven by the same factors now as you were to begin, and how has your personal style evolved?
I grew up in a country where we didn’t have a fantastic amount of luxuries, since I could remember I was always drawing, as a kid I was fascinated by dinosaurs, and fighter planes haha. I would often draw dinosaurs from books and create little comic style storyboards. As a kid I knew I wanted to be an artist, either that or a T rex, sadly that never worked out.
As I grew I developed a series of styles, through my teens I never let go of my pencil and fine liner pen, everything had to look as realistic as possible or it just wasn’t good enough. I think this is where I developed the most skill as I can be pretty stubborn with work, if it didn’t look realistic it would go in the bin. I grew out of that phase as I started to explore with different materials, I went away from spending hours shading an eyelid to rapidly creating shapes and forms.
Now I am trying to get the best of both worlds, I find I can really quickly create a piece that looks realistic but not spend more than 2-3 hours on a single piece (which has become a rule for me now) to keep creativity flowing and it helps me push myself to optimise my workflows.
How did you go about establishing Bloodline Illustration?
Ive been asked a lot recently to do work for people for bands or clothing companies, and Bloodlines was a perfect opportunity to get to a more broad audience other than my Facebook friends. Social media sites are perfect for this, they allow you to quickly get hold of people anywhere in the world and just get a foothold in the big wide world. I want to head into freelance illustration, I feel the internet has allowed freelance to be easily accessible and people can be contacted with a click of a button, its fantastic.
I have recently started Bloodlines up with a friend, we hope to get the ball rolling soon and get our careers under way, its fantastic having people wanting stuff from you and it feels even better applying my art to something I feel is going to be worthwhile.
You have produced designs for a few bands -were any of these bands who you have gigged with, or did they discover you through your art?
For the most part they were close friends, people we’ve met through gigging and the music scene in general. From there they would recommend me to other people and so on, which is perfect because it helps both my art and my music because it allows me to network with people from all over the globe, we have friends all over the UK, Europe and more recently places like Canada and the USA.
If you could design for any band of your choice, who would it be?
This is a toughy haha, Ive been fortunate enough to do some work recently to one of my favourite bands Anchored By Avarice, that was awesome but for me. But without a doubt it would have to be Deftones, a band that has matured and inspired me all through my life.
Do you aim to express particular emotions or moods within your work? I felt a sense of vitality and freedom in your pieces, would you say these are factors which you aim to convey in your work?
I will often start a piece without a set image in mind, start with a blank canvas and lay down shapes as I go along. I would definitely say my mood would influence those shapes and images, I like to convey positive messages and particularly in my environment pieces as well as projecting the image of exploration and showing an element of the unknown, I love the notion of hope and freedom, which I feel is a big theme for me in my pieces.
On the flipside ill often create something I feel just looks cool without thinking on a deeper level haha.