CONZZ: The experience was great; hard work, but I really got a feel for what the wider photo manip community is about. If I didn't have university, I would have happily done the full-term! My role as GM reignited my love for writing educational resources, so that's partly responsible for getting me on my current path.
You've been a member of dA for about as long as I have: over seven years. How have you seen the community change over that time?
I don't think the community has changed all that much.. I do remember groups being slightly more special, there were less of them and the communities were really engaged. What's funny is, this was before there was an actual group 'function' on DA as it were, they just organically appeared. I don't have the time to participate in groups these days though.
What do you think the role of the CV is now in the community?
Keep users informed of etiquette, share information and support the newbies.
From your perspective, what are some things that our photomanipulation community is doing well?
Pushing software limits and developing new styles and techniques at a phenomenal rate. There are so many possibilities!
If you could issue a challenge (i.e. to improve the community) and EVERYONE who was a photomanipulator had to follow it, What would it be?
Something that I'm going to try myself, step out of the comfort zone and use techniques you're not familiar with. For me, it's over-painting / smudge techniques, fantasy style lighting and mixed media collage.
When you're looking through photomanipulations in your Message Center, what about a given piece makes you groan in frustration and click "Delete"?
I'm a real stickler for technical skill. The piece could be the biggest cliche ever (breakdancer with lights, whimsical gothic girl); but if it's done with real flair and impeccable execution - I'm always going to check it out. I do much prefer a topic to be slightly more fresh, or applied with a spin though.
On the other hand, and thinking beyond technical skill into real fundamentals of art, what makes you want to save something to your Favorites?
As a dark-artist, I favour pieces with muted tones and a sense of menace. Regardless of media, if something speaks to me in terms of style; I'll check it out and if I really like it.
Your work, and the work (from what I can tell) that you tend to gravitate toward has a darker, more Horror/Macabre flair than the average photomanipulation. In your opinion, what makes a horror/macabre piece stand out? Is it the same as it would be for ANY manipulation: good composition, good light, good blending? Or, is there something more, a "shock factor," perhaps?
I like dark, but I don't usually go for overtly bloody or 'gratuitous'. Technical execution is high on my priorities, however I really like horror with a dash of opulence / elegance. If a piece can take a horrific subject and inject some beauty into the concept, that's the kind of thing I can buy into. Best analogy to explain my aesthetic tastes would be the movie 'Black Swan'.
If today were my first day in dA's photomanipulation community, which artists' galleries would you insist that I immediately visit, and why?
I'd point you to a broad range of practitioners so you could get a feel for the wildly different styles out there. Most would be buddies and people I talk to such as *BossLogic `fantasio =ErikShoemaker *MarcelaBolivar `IreneLangholm
What about groups?
Even though it's not strictly photo manip, The World of Robotics [link] is my favourite group out there at the moment! So much win
I want to move beyond the blase for a moment and really get to the core of art and, of course, photomanipulation. What, to you, must the essential features of something be in order for it to be considered "art"?
As it is so subjective, I can't really tackle this one effectively. Photomanipulation becomes art when it transcends retouch and is used to articulate an artist's vision. A loose explanation, but the best I can do!
Going by this definition, what makes an "artist"? Is experience important, or is anyone who draws a stick figure on a sheet of paper an artist?
Every single person on the planet is an artist in some form. When you use art as a means to eat, then I think you really are an 'Artist', it facilitates your survival and the world knows that is what you are.
We all know that the dA definition of "photomanipulation" is that it involves 2 or more photographs that have been combined to make something new. But, really, at the core, what should a photomanipulation be, in your opinion?
The expression of an individual's ideas. Remember, photomanipulation is only a tool which helps us articulate our thoughts
Continuing from the last question; it was the one thing in which I could truly 'get my ideas' out there - exactly as I imagined them.
In my opinion, art, and by extension photomanipulation, is a process of creating that is inspired. Some of us have internal inspiration, whereas others of us find it outside of ourselves. What inspires you? When you're in a rut, what boots you out of it and makes you want to create?
I like all-nighter raves and festivals. Real life experiences and being around other people always puts me on a creative charge. Aside from that - books, comics, movies and nightmares do a good job of keeping me inspired.
I want to make sure people know about the incredible tutorials you have written on surrealpsd.com. Is there anything specific you'd like to tell them about those tutorials?
Sure thing. I built the site from the ground up, covering the essential (core skills) of photomanip, and also fundamentals such as dof, scale and composition, colour theory etc. that other tutorial sites very rarely cover. It's a photomanipulation site through and through, with all our attention focused on creative techniques!! [link]
What other tutorials do you think would be important for people to know about?
As mentioned previously, things such as scale and composition. Learning the software is the easy part, developing understanding of areas such as the physics of light takes a lot more savvy.
Thinking about our more experienced ("advanced") artists, which tutorials might especially benefit them?
Something that I have to focus on as well, closer attention to light theory and its execution (highlights, speculars, diffraction etc..)
You've reached a truly advanced stage of manipulating and creating art. As evidenced by your tutorials, YOU are the trainer now. So, how do you continue to learn?
I feel like a rank amateur everyday when I see the stuff posted on DeviantArt!! When a new photomanip psycho comes out and humbles us with something amazing, I analyze what they've done and try to learn from it. There are some 17 year olds out there that are just crazy-good, I want to learn from everybody.
What question did I not ask that you wish I had asked (and what's the answer)?
I think you got it covered!
Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
Learn the art of Photomanipulation at SurrealPSD everyone [link]
Thank you so much for sharing your time with us!