Saturday, October 11, 2008

Weekly Fantasy Art - Vincent Chong

© The artwork presented on this post is used with the permission of its author. All the artwork is copyrighted. Please do not use the images without the permission of the artist or owner.

Vincent Chong is a British freelance artist, who graduated a University Graphic Design course in 2003 and whose work have been published and recognized internationally. He has created artwork for books, magazines, websites and CDs and he illustrated the works of authors as Stephen King, Joe Hill, Ray Bradbury, Ramsey Campbell, Clive Barker and Carlos Ruiz Zafón among others. Vincent was awarded with the Arno Art Award for Digital Imaging Professional in 2005 and twice the British Fantasy Society Award for the Best Artist in 2007 and 2008. Among his preferred methods of work is a mix between photography and digital art.

Interview Vincent Chong

Dark Wolf: Vincent thank you very much for this opportunity and your amiability.
How did you come in contact with art for the first time? Did you feel attracted by the art in its visual form from the first time?
Vincent Chong: I remember that from a very young age I would love to draw, and was encouraged by my parents to do so; I loved cartoons and comics and would draw characters, such as the Ghostbusters or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for my friends at school. It was throughout school that I continued to develop my appreciation for various visual art forms, and my talent in this area.

Dark Wolf: Which person or event do you consider to have influenced you the most in your career so far?
Vincent Chong: I’ve drawn inspiration from many different sources over the years, which I’ve brought to my career, but maybe the most influential moment was when I picked up a copy of Dave McKean’s ‘The Sandman Dust Covers’. I was captivated by his approach to creating imagery and the different techniques he used – combining use of the digital medium with fine art techniques. It opened my eyes to what could be achieved combining the use of different media and set me on the path to developing the style and techniques I use in my work, and even now I’m still inspired by his art.

Dark Wolf: You have also a passion and a talent for photography. But where do you like working more on the photography or in the painting?
Vincent Chong: When creating my artwork I actually use a combination of techniques – I bring together both photographic and painted elements digitally to create my images, so it’s not so much a matter of which process I like working with more, as they both come into play when creating my artwork. I do however really enjoy the photographic side of things and it’s an area that I may want to explore further in the future and would maybe one day like to do some more straight forward photographic work.

DW: Did your passion for photography influence your choices in the painting? I mean sources of influence, materials to work on, tools used? Or it works the other way around, from the painting to photography?
VC: I draw inspiration from a wide range of places, so I won’t just look at the work of artists or illustrators but am also influenced by the work of photographers and film-makers and take inspiration from how they might compose their images, or their use of colour and lightning to add drama and emotion to a picture.

DW: Would you like to bring a specific technique from photography to painting or from the painting to photography?
VC: As mentioned earlier, I use a combination of both photography and painting in my artwork and am inspired by the work of both artists and photographers, so I find that both areas feed into each other anyway when it comes to my work.

DW: Working on so many novel covers can be very entertaining and interesting. But do you feel sometimes working on the same pattern or using the same elements?
VC: I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to work on a range of different types of novels for various authors, so each project brings new challenges and opportunities to try out different things, even if some similar elements or processes are used in the creation of the imagery. I do enjoy working on different types of projects though and wouldn’t want to ever just limit myself to book covers. For example, I’ve also done artwork for websites and games which had to be animated, which is challenging in a different way as there are other concerns to take into account when creating artwork that is to be animated.

DW: The source of inspiration comes exclusively from the respective novel pages or this kind of work involves sharing the thoughts and ideas with the authors or the publishers?
VC: It depends… Sometimes a publisher or author will have a specific idea in mind for the cover, in which case I’ll work along those lines. Other times I’m given the manuscript to read and will come up with some ideas and sketches myself, that I will then send to the publisher and/or author for feedback. If they’re not happy with the approach I’ll come up with a different idea for them, otherwise I’ll go straight ahead with creating the final artwork.

DW: I’ve seen many of your works on limited edition covers. Does the work on the cover of a limited edition novel differ much from that on the mass production?
VC: Usually when I work for smaller independent publishers for limited editions, I have a lot more creative freedom. With jobs for bigger publishers, I’ve found that they’re much more particular about what they want and usually already have an idea in mind for what they’re after. There’s also a lot more people involved who have to approve the artwork, so there may be more revisions involved before the artwork is finalized.

DW: I know that I shouldn’t ask you this question, but do you prefer one of your covers in particular? Would you like to make the cover for a particular novel or to work with a particular author?
VC: My favourite changes from time to time. At the moment, one of my favourite images that I’ve done recently is ‘Saint Darwin’s Spirituals’ which I did for issue 4 of Murky Depths magazine. I created a pair of steampunk inspired goggles for the image, for which I researched steampunk imagery which I really enjoyed doing – and I was very pleased with how the image came together. At the moment I can’t think of any particular novel or author I’d particularly like to do a cover for. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve already had the chance to illustrate the works of some great authors, one of which is Stephen King, whose work I was a big fan of, growing up, and never thought I’d be illustrating one day.

DW: A great number of your covers are made for horror novels. Do you consider that this particular genre is offering the best sources of inspiration and the best material to work with?
VC: I do like illustrating this particular genre as I find myself drawn to things with a darker edge, and so I find it easy to draw inspiration from horror novels. However, I’m not as interested in schlock horror, or things that are overly gory just for the sake of being so – I’m much more interested in the psychological and emotional aspects of things.

DW: I read on your website that you would like to make collaborations with talented artists, photographers, designers, writers, film-makes, etc. Do you have a specific project in mind? Or would you like to experience our talent in a new field?
VC: I don’t have any specific projects in mind. I find it inspiring meeting other creative people, and finding out about their work and working methods. I’d like to meet people who are talented in other areas that I can learn from, so I can push and develop my own work further, and perhaps into different media. I’m always open to the idea of working on a collaborative project if it’s something that excites me – one problem I’ve found though, is finding the time do everything!

DW: You are an Award winner of British Fantasy Society Award. When you’ve started your career did you dreamed winning such a prize? How do you feel winning it two times in a row?
VC: Going into this career, if was never a main focus of mine to go out and win awards - I was just concentrating on trying to find work and was happy that people were offering me projects to work on. I still feel like I’m relatively new to the industry, so to be recognized for my work by the British Fantasy Society, with these two awards was a great honour for me. I was surprised the first time I won it (I was happy just to have been shortlisted and hadn’t expected to win) and was even more surprised the second time, as I didn’t think I’d win it two years in a row, especially as one of my favourite artists, Dave McKean had also been shortlisted this year.

DW: Was your career changed after winning these two awards?
VC: I think there might be a few more people out there who may now recognize my name or work after winning the awards, but I don’t think it’s changed my career in a big way. I think it’s been more of a nice acknowledgement of the work I’ve done so far in my career.

DW: Is there a specific moment or something throughout your career so far that you would like change if it would be possible?
VC: I can’t think of anything specifically that I’d like to change so far. There are always things in projects that I look back on and think I could have done better or differently if I was to do it again, or had more time, but I think that’s just my nature, and I’ll never be 100% satisfied with what I’ve done as nothing’s ever perfect.

DW: Which plans do you have for the future?
VC: I’d like to continue finding projects that inspire me and that I enjoy doing. So far, the majority of my work has been for book covers, so in the future as well as continuing to do more book cover work I’d also like to branch out more into other areas as well, in particular, doing art and design for cd covers and packaging. It’s something that I’ve done a bit of already that I’ve really enjoyed, but haven’t had the opportunity yet to do as much as I’d like to.

Thank you very much for your time and for your answers. It has been a pleasure.

For other information and for a complete portfolio please visit Vincent Chong's website, Vincent Chong Art.

© The artwork presented on this post is used with the permission of its author. All the artwork is copyrighted. Please do not use the images without the permission of the artist or owner.


Adele said...

whoa, that's dark. Love it.

ediFanoB said...

Great pictures and yes, they are dark.
I love it too.

Anonymous said...

i liked very much the picture coleopterist...and i was curios at what games has he worked:-?
do you make interviews only with people who draw mostly books covers?i like very much ben templesmith who drawed wormwood: gentleman corpes comics ;)

Anonymous said...

I don't like any of this it is to devilish for me .

Mihai A. said...

Hagelrat and Edifanob, you are right he is dark, but in a very pleasant way (if possible for dark :D).

Kyodnb, maybe in the future I will have the opportunity to talk to artists with comics works too :)

Dollslikeus, I believe that many of Vincent's works are used on Horror books and that's the reason for being so devilish :)