Table Of Contents Issue 23
Artists David Crespo Lowri Wyn Williams Lauren Passenti Cagen Luse
6 14 28 36
Can you tell us a little about your background as an artist? I come from a long background of self-taught artists. My grandfather Gaberal Aponte was a sculptor and a fabricator so I think it was just passed down. I started drawing when I was about eight and then got into sculpting, custom framework, and now doing sneakers, which I think I’m going to take further. Do you have a preference between drawing, sewing, or sculpture work? I prefer no style. I like it all. If I could I would probably not sew. You’re a self-taught artist, in multiple practices. What other forms of art would you like to experiment with? Another form of art I would really like to get into is designing or computer art; really anything that involves computer animation.
This bike frame is sick! And we’ve never featured any artist with this type of work in their portfolio. I know that you have a background in cars and wielding. Could you tell us more about your experience in this field? I remember when I first started to mess around with Bondo. It’s a type of body filler that auto body professionals use when they are fixing body panels on a car. Warning: I didn’t pay much attention to how to mix the chemicals, so it never hardened on the frame. I was in my room and the smell was so strong. I ended up learning from that mistake and kept trying until I got this baby blue work of art on wheels. What would you say were your early inspirations towards art?
I remember my grandfatherâ€™s house in P.R. He had one sculpture he made out of cement that was in the shape of mister T, and a classic bike he built from scratch. The whole house was a work of art. Bright colors covered the house and inside was just artwork everywhere you looked; a mask that he made out of coconuts, hats made of seashells and ships he build out of straws. What are your current inspirations towards art? My current inspirations in art I will say are my daughters, they keep me at the art shop and we have art nights where we just get creative. 10 Abstraks
What are your next steps as an artist? My next step as an artist is to get more involved with local arts and try different styles of art. Contact: email@example.com
Lowri Wyn Williams
Judging by the pieces of work presented, do you work in the field of video games, and animation? I’m more of a freelancer at the moment. I’ve just graduated from a Computer Animation degree, so I’m still finding my footing when it comes to getting a job in the creative industries. I’m keeping my eyes out on studios in Swansea (where I currently live) and Cardiff to see if they are looking for artists for their projects (cough cough *hire me* cough cough!). I would love to work in Soho’s VFX scene, but that may be another decade or so yet before I consider taking that step, especially since living in London is pretty expensive. In the meantime, I’m enjoying creating new artwork and pushing my skillset further. If I had the choice, I would be working in Games or Television production, spending most of my hours designing characters, working with an array of talented people and drinking crazy amounts of coffee. How and when did you first get involved in 3D character design? My earliest memory of designing characters was when I was in high school, sketching during lunch breaks. I was a quiet kid back then, so if I had some pen and paper, I would just work away happily without a care in the world. It wasn’t until my late teens that I decided that I wanted to take my interest in Animation further, especially in Computer Animation. So I enrolled into the Swansea School of Digital Media in South Wales on their Computer Animation degree, with my intention to graduate as an animator. However, during my first year of university; I was introduced to 3D Character Design and Modelling by one of the SDM tutors; Al Kang, who had previously worked at Electronic Arts. It was also the first time that I was introduced to ZBrush and how 16 Abstraks Page 16-17: Welsh Dragon Sculpt, Digital Sculpting, 2012
it was revolutionising 3D character design. Once I learned the basics (though it took some time), I was adamant about what I wanted to do. Who and what would you say are your biggest influences? It’s a mixture of people and influences really. In terms of people, one of my biggest influences is Guillermo Del Toro. I remember watching Hellboy when I was in my early teens and being blown away by the Visual and Make Up effects. It wasn’t until several years later that my other half (also an illustrator) brought round a copy of Pan’s Labyrinth and I instantly fell in love with the film. Hayao Miyazaki is another big influence of mine. He pretty much taught all of us artists and filmmakers that any project (when it comes to imagination) is limitless. So long as a project has had plenty of backbone, whether that that is through character development, story or detail, anything is possible. I’m also a fan of Pendleton Ward (Adventure Time, Bravest Warriors) and J.G Quintel (The Regular Show). I’d also say that the guys working at Visual Effects studios worldwide are definitely unsung heroes. During my studies at university, I visited London Soho’s VFX houses, most notably MPC (The Moving Picture Company), Framestore and Double Negative. I’ll tell you one thing, it was an eye-opener. I find music helps out a lot when I’m creating artwork. My favourite genres are Indie, Rock and Metal. Of course, pending on the project, depends on what sort of music I play. If I’m just sketching away, I’ll play songs by the likes of Mumford & Sons, Coldplay or Muse. When it comes to serious projects, then bands like Rammstein, Thirty Seconds To Mars and Iron Maiden become part of the workday playlist. It keeps me going when I’m working on a long project!
Page 18-19: Fang, Digital Sculpting, 2012
I’m also a fan of nostalgic 80’s and 90’s animation, indie games and graphic novels. I’m especially inspired by independent artists, you know guys who are doing their best to get by and honing their craft, whether that is through fundraising projects on Kickstarter or collaborating with the local community or worldwide. I know a lot of artists who are currently in that situation or are just starting out in studios. There’s a hell of a lot of creativity out there; so it’s wonderful that there are so many possibilities out there for creatives to choose from. You also hold the title for concept modeler, is there a certain process you follow for this position? It depends on the project really. If it’s a personal project, I mock up a load of different designs on the computer using 3D software, rather than sketch using pen and pencil. It allows for a lot more experimentation and it’s a perfect opportunity to try out techniques. I use Autodesk Mudbox and Pixologic ZBrush as my main software. Of course, if it is a commissioned project (let’s say you’re working in the games or Visual Effects industry) then a professional approach is needed. I remember working on a character modelling project recently where the brief stated that I had to create a two minute short film from scratch, from concept to final product. It was a six month project; however the only downside is that it was a solo project; so in other words, you had to do everything that a production team within do within six months or so. That’s everything from design to audio, by yourself. Basically you had to be on the ball with deadlines, otherwise if you didn’t follow the brief or schedule, you suffered for it. Aside from 3D character design, are there other mediums and genres of art that you are in? Mostly I’m a fan of Illustration and Graphic Design. Usually, my other half and I enjoy sketching when 22 Abstraks Page 20: The Carvefax, Digital Sculpting, 2013 Page 21: Meet Ripley, Digital Sculpture and Modelling, 2013
we want to relax. Actually, I should mention that Adam, my partner, does inspire a lot of my final pieces. Much like myself, he sketches a lot of character designs and was responsible for the original concept sketches for a couple of the creatures I sculpted for a previous project. We brainstorm together too for different projects. I can’t resist Interior and Product Design either. Trust me, I could spend all day in an IKEA store and not get bored! In terms of fashion, I love designing graphics for T-Shirts, hoodies and other garments, which I sell on my store at Redbubble.com (search ‘GroundGhost’). However don’t ask me to design a fashion piece from scratch; that’s not a good idea...
content with my work. As with projects, there are a few little ideas in the pipeline, which are still under development as we speak. I’m finally finding time to return to do some 3D sculpture, which is great! Within the next couple of years, I’d like to be doing my dream job working in Television and Film. Here’s hoping! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org http://groundghostcg.moonfruit.com/
You are from Wrexham, North Wales, UK, does your city have any influences on you as an artist? Wrexham’s got quite the artist community. It has its own gallery and annual artist competition, the ‘Wrexham Open’. In fact, Wales has quite the reputation in art and design. I know a few people from high school and college who have ended up as an array of creative people, ranging from Fine Artists to Fashion Designers. I’ve had the pleasure to meet some brilliant local artists. Wrexham is also an Industrial town so I guess you could say that it has added a little bit of grittiness to my work. Could you tell us about some of the projects you are working on now, and what can we expect from you in the future? Well, I’ve recently received some exciting news that my work will be exhibited at Illustrate 2014, an exhibition celebrating Welsh Illustrators. It’ll be taking place at Penarth Pier Pavilion during May 2014. For me, it’s a major achievement that my work has been accepted, especially since it’s a national celebration of artists. I’m actually proud of myself to have gotten where I have, yet I still know that I have a long way to go in terms of improving my skill and being Abstraks 25
Page 20: The Strain Inspired by Gulliermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s ‘The Strain’, Digital Sculpting, 2013
Page 24: Nox The Fox, Digital Sculpting, 2012
Talk about how you got into jewelry making? I was a painter before I was an object maker. I attended MassArt. As a freshman I randomly took a jewelry making class, and as I was unconvinced in my passion for sculpture, I decided to major in metalsmithing/jewelry design. Metalsmithing hit home. Are there any artists that inspire you to do jewelry, or follow a specific style? I have been most influenced by artists such as Karl Fritsch and the way he sets faceted stones in harsh and wonky prong settings, Jim Cotter and his unconventional use in cement and Lauren Kalman and her antagonistic use of body adornment. What is your creative process when making your pieces?Â
My creative process reflects the objects I have to play with at my workbench - deer antlers, crystals, horsehair, found objects - and how these materials and objects interact with each other. I often use horsehair in my designs. How do you get these types of materials? Also as an artist, do you consider jewelry making and sculpture very similar or different? My sources are from supply companies such as M&M turf and supply co. I use deer antlers in a lot of my designs as well. IÂ am able to hand pick the antler tips from an antique dealer/ hoarder in my studio building.You will also find rusted objects in my jewelry that I have picked off the streets. I think that for me sculpture and jewelry design sit parallel. I am adorning the body while sculpture is adorning space. Contact email@example.com LPJewelrydesigns.com
You have training in graphic design. How does this skill reflect on your artwork? I am trained more as a fine artist. I have taken classes on typography, but graphic design was something I picked up. I try to approach graphic design with a fine arts perspective to make my designs as visually pleasing as possible but of course within the parameters of what the client wants. It is less expressive of myself but it presents an interesting challenge, which I kind of enjoy. On the other side, my work as a graphic designer has opened up the possibilities of using the computer and design software to create and enhance my art. When did you start getting involved in art? I have always been involved in art. I never wanted to do anything else. My parents were very supportive of this growing up and put me in all sorts of summer camps and classes. I feel very lucky to have a job in graphic design using my artistic skill and that I can still create my own artwork in my free time and that they both compliment each other. Could you describe the characters and the meaning behind the pieces being featured? The Americana Noir series is a group of illustrations I created based on historic photographs I found in the Library of Congress taken by the WPA around the 1930s. I was originally looking for inspiration for paintings looking to do a series with a southern blues musician theme. I had done some paintings with a jazz theme and really liked the music and visual art connection. I found these images and really felt they were important and wanted to work with them. I wanted to share them with people but my own interpretation. So, I began playing with them in Adobe illustrator and the result is the series. I originally did twelve images in 2005 then added about seven more in 2006. 38 Abstraks
The painting of the boy in front of the train is a series I did based on the great migration. Jacob Lawrence is a huge inspiration and I wanted to do something similar but I focused on a single character and his train journey. Trying to imagine what people went through leaving their whole life behind to seek opportunity in an alien place. Which medium do you gravitate more towards? I find it hard to stick to one medium. I am always looking to learn new techniques and experiment with new mediums. Right now screen-printing is my focus to see where I can take that. Previous years it has been painting, animation or installation. Next
year it may be sculpture. The more skills I have and mediums I understand well, the more limitless my ability to express myself will be. What is the meaning of the SK8Free T-shirt? Are you a skateboarder? I was a skateboarder in my younger days. The Sk8Free t-shirt is part of a series of t-shirts I am designing that are about personal expression. I am inspired by the afro-punk movement in music and fashion and the freedom of expression I see there. Its defining qualities are its lack of defining qualities.You can have 30 piercings and 50 tattoos or be wearing the flyest suit and still be punk.You define yourself and your own personal style and taste. Abstraks 41
Where are you creating from now, and how has it helped you develop as an artist? I work out of a studio in my home in Dorchester. I definitely take inspiration from my community and its people. There are many amazing artists that live and work in Dorchester and Roxbury that inspire me to stretch and develop my own style and try to become a more dynamic artist. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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