Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fantasy Art - Andreas Rocha

© 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.

Andreas Rocha is a Portuguese artist born in 1976 and currently living in Lisbon. Andreas has an architect degree and has worked in the architecture field for 5 years. During his studies he became interested in digital painting and now for over 10 years is painting digitally. He is working as a freelance artist and his specializations are 2d illustrations/matte paintings and 3d architectural visualizations. Andreas’ works has been featured in publications like Expose, Exotique, ImagineFX and 2DArtist Magazine and he had done illustrations for books, advertising campaigns, CD covers and games promotions.

Interview - Andreas Rocha

Dark Wolf: Andreas, thank you for the opportunity of this interview.
You are painting digitally for over 10 years now, but how did you become interested in art in general and in digital art in particular?
Andreas Rocha: Well, digging up my past I must say my most vivid memories that took me into the path of art were seeing the movie posters of Drew Struzan and the Dungeons and Dragons paintings by Jeff Easley. Of course, before, I had always liked drawing but it was nothing serious. After seeing the works of these two artists there was something that stirred in me and my deep love for fantasy illustration was born. I believe that was more or less when I was 12 years old.
Over the years until getting into college my hobby for drawing had grown into something more serious. However, I still was unable to try and imitate the paintings I adored so much. Failures in trying traditional media like acrylics and oil painting, without guidance, took me nowhere. But that all changed when I found out about tablets and digital painting in a forum called Elfwood. I bought my first Wacom and that was where my digital art career started.

Dark Wolf: Who is your favorite artist? Who do you consider to have been the most influential figure on your art so far?
Andreas Rocha: My answer to the first question somehow answers this one. I love the graphic style of Drew Struzan and his ability to tell the story of a movie in one painting, revealing only enough to make you want to see the movie is truly something. As to Jeff Easley, I think it was his deep orange color palette that attracted me so much. His storytelling abilities are also what I admire. Finally, there are two other artists whose digital work really opened my eyes to what was possible: Craig Mullins and Khang Le.

Dark Wolf: Does your studies and work on the architectural field have an influence on your art?
Andreas Rocha: I think they do, but in an indirect way. I don’t think it is the depiction of architecture, which I don’t think is very common in my work, which relates me to my studies. On the other hand, I think it was during the college years, that my sensibility for composition, values and color grew…things inherent in architecture. The study helped introduced me to different things like architectural styles, rules of perspective, drawing medium and CAD for example. I then took the things that most interested me and tried developed them as a hobby until it turned into something more serious.

DW: Your portfolio consists more of environments and scenes than portraits or characters. Do you prefer working on environments and architectural visualizations more?
AR: I wish that was the correct answer, but I think it is my deficiency in character work and its difficulty that makes me show less of work in that field. The funny thing is that what I drew most were portraits and characters, especially in the erotic field. At the time I even thought I had some talent in that area…but over the years this idea changed and I’ve come to see the harsh reality. Now, it has turned into a challenge to get better at it.
Since we are so related to the human body, pointing out the flaws of its depiction is almost immediate. It’s unforgiving. Environments, on the other hand, are much more permissive (and rewarding!).

DW: While working does it happen sometimes to be caught in your painting and forget about yourself?
AR: I think it does…I don’t really know. Painting is such an immersive process, that you somehow let go of your consciousness. That’s perhaps the best way to describe how I feel. It’s not something that requires a lot of brainwork…it’s something more emotive and passionate.

DW: With so many digital artists and so many wonderful works, do you try to add a personal touch or to achieve a personal style on your works?
AR: No. (blunt answer) I never searched for a personal style. I said somewhere before, that my style was the result of my inability to copy the work of the artists I admire.I find out about new artists on a weekly basis. There are just so many great artists around…the Internet is such a wonderful thing. Every time I find out about some new artists I didn’t know before, I “suck in” the paintings visually and that somehow will influence my future work. I’m not trying to stand out or anything. With so many masters out there, that’s almost impossible. I just go my own way and try to have fun with it.

DW: If it were possible what would you change at your work? What aspects of your work are you constantly trying to improve?
AR: As I mentioned before, I believe it’s my character work which needs a lot of improvement. I just have to produce more character work…
Another thing that I think I need discipline with is precision and discipline in my brushwork. Sometimes, it’s just too rough. I think this is a result of wanting to produce the paintings too quickly. The following cleanup work can sometimes take a really long time…

DW: I’ve seen that you have many sources of inspiration, but may I ask if when you are looking on an empty canvas do you see the final image in your mind already?
AR: No (another blunt answer). The blank canvas is just that…BLANK! I have to throw in marks for my brain to start working. As soon, as I catch a glimpse of something recognizable I go down that path.
There have been times, when I had a preconceived idea of what I wanted to depict. But these were abstract ideas. Only the painting process can turn these ideas into something visual.

DW: Does it happen sometime that after a while to be discontent with the result of your work? In that case would you try to change or work further on that particular painting?
AR: It happens most of the time, but I think that is positive. It means the painting needs improvement and that my eyes are recognizing its flaws. Sometimes, it gets to a point where there is no salvation, so I just start another painting taking a different path. Other times, some small global corrections can make a huge difference and take the painting back on track.
Globally speaking, there are times when I look at past paintings and feel somewhat proud and fulfilled. But other days I feel exactly the opposite. It’s curious how one’s opinion about the same thing can change so radically.

DW: What is your favorite piece or which one offered you the most pleasant time while painting it?
AR: I think it would have to be “One Ticket, Please”. Not being the most popular one from my portfolio, I think it is my most personal one as I truly relate to it. My father once took me and my brother to the funfair. There was the classic ghost train ride and I insisted that I could go alone. I was 9 years old. As soon as I saw the first old witch puppet laughing I cowered inside the “wagon” and closed my ears. What a relief it was when I came out…still cowering. Inspired by that event I produced “One Ticket, Please” which depicts a small boy wanting to face his fears and satiate his curiosity by visiting a freak show in a basement of some old building in a dark alley of a big city.

DW: Many of your works are inspired by images and landscapes seen on your walks or travels. What do you do if such scene inspires you but you don’t have your camera or other way to retain that specific scene for further work?
AR: If it’s something that is near to my home and which only takes 1 hour to get there, I just go there the following day…with the camera. If I’m far away, on holidays for example, I really get angry for having forgotten to load the battery the day before. I go back home having learned a lesson: always plan ahead.

DW: Also you have many fantasy elements in your works and influences from fantasy, science-fiction and horror genres. How much personal interest and how much professional interest do you have in the fantasy art? Does your interest go outside art as well?
AR: Well, I love everything fantasy related: books, movies, architecture, boardgames, etc. I think that I’m quite lucky that my work involves creating things that I admire. I don’t think there is a division between my personal and my professional interest in fantasy. I think that one thing lead to the other. Most of the movies I saw during my childhood during the 80s like Indiana Jones, Back To The Future and Star Wars trilogies influenced me and made me want to produce such imaginary worlds artistically.

DW: Would you like to work on the illustration of a specific book or on a specific movie project? If possible which one would it be?
AR: Hmmm…I’m not sure. The fantasy world is so big that I don’t think I would want to go after anything specific. On the other hand I’m waiting for the fantasy to come to me and let me be surprised.

DW: What are your immediate and future projects?
AR: I’m currently doing concept work for a video game, illustrations for a card game and a tutorial for a magazine. Future projects are still being talked about…

Thank you very much for your time and answers. It has been a pleasure.
You’re most welcome.

For more information about Andreas Rocha and for a complete portfolio, please visit his website, Andreas Rocha Portfolio.

© 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.


Benjamin said...

Dark Wolf, I just want to say that I really enjoy your weekly fantasy art articles. Good stuff!

Simon said...

Hmm... Interesting "mushroom cloud" look for that last picture...

SciFiGuy said...

Very nice portfolio. Beautiful work.

Mihai A. said...

Susan, thank you very much for the link :)

Benjamin, thank you very much. You do a wonderful job with your blog as well :)

Simon, I haven't thought of that until you mentioned "mushroom cloud" :)

Doug, he has beautiful works indeed :)

Adele said...

those are really beautiful. I love this interview series.

ediFanoB said...

I really appreciate your series.
Week by week you present us great artists.

I'm impressed by the art of Andreas Rocha.
I had a short look at his portfolio. I added the link because I have to go back there.

Mihai A. said...

Adele, thank you very much. It means a lot to me :)

Michael, thank you very much. Indeed Andreas has some very beautiful works :)

Anonymous said...

hmm..he has a few characters here and there and i think they look preety good.
interesting interview, especially the part where he tells us that he hasn`t a style of his own but rather he`s influenced by the works of others.

Mihai A. said...

Bogdan, I think that his characters are quite good too :)

Barbara Martin said...

These interview posts of artists provide a nice insight into what is available for fantasy writers. As to Andreas Rocha's paintings reflected here, I would like to say I love the last one of the meditative man with the tree and the beautiful landscape.

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed your Andreas Rocha interview and the pics. Keep up the good work .

Mihai A. said...

Barbara, I am glad you like them. I like all of them, but with a little more attraction for that last one too and for "One Ticket, Please" :)

Steve, thank you very much :)