cneofotistos -August '02 Artist Of The Month
Who is cneofotistos??
cneofotistos or Christos Neofotistos is a boy of 22, living in Greece and studying medicine - or so he says. his favourite colour is burnt umber and he wishes he will one day become as *arrogant* as the old masters...
How long have you have you been rendering?
On paper, since elementary school, on every blank paper, notebook paper and margin possible.
How long have you been doing digital art?
For about two years.
Do you have traditional art experience?
I did a lot of clay modelling and wood engraving when I was in highschool, and a lot of sketching. I've used acrylics and fingerpaint but I always preferred pens, pencils, tempera and pastels. Pastels and tempera were my favourite medium too, because they allowed me to make thick and embossed strokes. in none of these mediums may I be so bold as to say that I used their full potential, though, because I discovered digital art in the end.
What are you currently working on?
Two paintings, one of which will eventually be called "The everyday drama of being bored to be born"
What software do you use and why?
I use Photoshop 5.5 and 7. 5.5 because I'm 100% familiar with it, and I find its old-style brushes handy at times. Version 7 has a great painting engine, however. I also use Zbrush 1.23b -soon to become 1.5, with the upgrade, to model basic shapes, fill in my composition, and then take it from there. I also use it for its very memory-cheap smudge tool - I work with very large files, and memory is never enough. I often interchange from one application to another, which can be a problem when one works with multi-layered paintings, because Zbrush doesn't support Photoshop layering (yet?). So, I don't use layers if I can help it, and paint directly on my canvas -normally with a sketch layer on top of everything, with its properties set to "multiply" in order to be visible at all times - much like the deep sketch a traditional artist has to make on paper, if one wants to be able to see the outlines after two layers of paint... All in all, I use these pieces of software for something they weren't specifically designed for, namely making painterly-style digital art. it is masochistic practice, perhaps, but it's my technique, and I have come to like it, chaotic though it is.
What do you think your best piece of work is and why?
I have one favourite; "Self-portrait or On the Gender of Angels and Red Vegetables". it was my first ambitious painting which I didn't have a clue if I had the skill to finish.
Why do you like to work with computer software as opposed to traditional media?
the usual, I suppose.. I can work faster, it isn't messy and I can resume work at any time. I don't have to mention the downside of having your hard-drive break down, do I?
What inspires you?
usually tricks of the imagination, dreams and emotions caused by how I perceive the behaviour of people around me. I have little to do with Freud. But social hypocrisy is something I like to attack - probably because I want people to think highly of my progressive way of thinking? maybe all we do is for others to notice us, and maybe we want people to notice in order to send a message, and maybe we're really desperate to send that message, because of our own insignificance. but the bottom line is, I dislike oppression (what an incredibly original rebel I am!) and I dislike low tolerance behaviour, since nobody has proven him/herself to be the keeper of the "truth" and no-one can impose his/her truth on people who have half-decent self-confidence.
Who inspires you?
my girlfriend, Maria, whom I love to no end and who loves me back an equal amount, or at least we have convinced ourselves that we so do, and are getting along admirably. also, my environment, by making me feel depressed/bored/disgusted.
How has this online community (Renderosity) enhanced your work, relationships, and learning?
my relationships are poor - it's my own fault for not being an active enough member of the renderosity community. more often than not I don't want to post comments on work that I don't really like. but people who view my work are usually kind, forgiving, or easily awed - I can't explain my popularity otherwise, because I know painting is a dying art nowadays, regarding audience size. And in the diminishing number of fine-art fans, few among them like to see paintings with no fantasy themes, made with *dubious* technique and talent, and bearing arrogant titles, and even more arrogant "hidden meanings". I don't like to fool myself. or rather I do, but I try to keep it down. however renderosity is a good place for finding inspiration, especially in 2D art which I prefer. there are a lot of real gems of an artist inside the community, some of whom were artist of the month nominees like me, and whose work I admire. a particular influence is Shawn Vibyral, a friend and brilliant artist, who is quite close to my own "artistic" questions and worries. many visual (technical and thematic) influences translate into a lot of material to be processed, re-ordered and modified by thought, and result consciously or subconsciously to some new ideas. from there on, the artist is on his/her own, but this first step is not to be frowned upon at all.
Do you have advice for other Artists?
I don't even know if I am an artist myself. "other artists" sounds a lot like praise for me. I can't really offer advice, when I don't know how my own technical and artistic value translate on an objective scale. but try this: in digital 2D art it is very tempting and very easy to make impressive-looking works in next to no time -what with filters, black backgrounds, lens flares etc. trying to find a way AROUND these easy solutions produces results that may not be as cool, but at least I think are a little more interesting technically, and also *induce* on the artist a better understanting of colour, outlines, lighting and effects. working on a painting for more than a month always pays for me - I consider my paintings decent, for at least a while. and to try to speak up your mind about politics, social issues, religion, sexuality - being an artist entitles you to speak up. a privilege and an obligation - or that's what I normally think.
I took the time to carefully construct this interview out of respect for the people who voted for me (even if they aren't more than 100 -are they?) but most importantly, because it makes me look rebellious and very hip. in ANY case, it won't slip your minds easily, that's what I hope. no more, no less.
Michelle A. 5.9%
Stay tuned for the interview!
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