Each month the Renderosity community votes on The Renderosity Artist of the Month — May’s AOM is Fractal artist, Rykk. We congratulate Rykk for his outstanding collection of Fractal images.
Who is Rykk and how did you come by your username?
First, let me say a VERY BIG “thank you” to everyone who voted and selected me for Renderosity’s Artist for the Month for May. I'm honored and humbled by this distinction you've all bestowed on me. ALL of the fractal artists nominated this year are truly world-class artists, and I'm honored to have been considered among them. Also thanks to Renderosity for providing such an awesome venue to show our art to the world.
I'm Rick(Richard) Spix and my username is just a more "edgy" looking spelling of my first name. I saw all the cool usernames when I came here and had to come up with one too. My other choice was "anoyzendusters", which is how I typically order "a dozen oysters" after about the 3rd pitcher of beer [laughter].
How long have you have you been creating computer graphics?
I first got into computer graphics WAY back in 1995-96. I started with a freeware fractal generator called "Winfract". I've done compositional fractal art on and off for brief periods since then. This period of making digital art started in Jan 2003 and has been my longest stint by far, owing mostly to the exposure and encouragement I've received here at Rendo.
Do you have traditional art experience?
None really, other than a couple of years of art classes in junior high school and engineering drawing in high school. I was always into art, but got caught up in music in high school and for years after, that is once I got good enough on the guitar to play more than "Smoke on the Water" (more laughter). In the 80's, I played in bar bands up and down the east coast of Florida. Thank goodness for fractals - I'd look REALLY bad in spandex and high-top sneakers, these days!
What are you currently working on?
Mostly, I'm working on trying to create fractal images that would print well on canvas. Trying to use textures to give a painted look. In September, I am going to be showing my work in this year's DragonCon Art Show in Atlanta. It will be my first venture into that type of thing and I'm hoping to do well. I also want to start doing a booth at art shows in my general vicinity by this fall or next spring.
I have a few other ongoing projects that I work on when the inspiration hits. Some more scenes from Lord Of The Rings: Mordor, The Shire, The Pool of Ithlien, and The Ramparts of Osgiliath. I have to be in just the right mood to work on anything like that. Especially the Osgiliath scene because it has well over 200 layers so far (just one building is 90 layers) and images like that really tax your rig to its limits and the going is VERY slow waiting for any changes/additions to render.
I'm also working on using brighter colors for more traditionally "fractal" images such as the ones that one sees in the Fractal Universe Calendar. I use many earth tones in my work but one of my many areas for improvement is in the use and control of brighter, more saturated colorings.
What software/equipment do you use and why?
I use a Dell 2.53GHz PC, with 1gb of RAM. Why? Because that's what I could afford (laughter). For my images, I use Ultrafractal 3 and the freeware "flame fractal" generator, Apophysis 2.02c. Ultrafractal is my main tool because it offers the most versatility and control of colors and shapes of any of the available programs at this time. It has built into it many of the graphics editing tools and functions of high-end editors like Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro so you can do everything from a single platform.
Actually, sizing and rotating of layers in UF is a lot easier than even Photoshop, and you can use the Apophysis plugin to export flames to UF and make layered compositions with them that can also include "straight" fractal layers, as well. The background of the flames can be made transparent merely by pulling a slider control, and UF is capable of most of the useful layer merging modes found in PS and PSP.
What do you think your best piece of work is and why?
From a purely abstract standpoint, I'd say maybe "Moorings" is one of the best. I like "Soul-Seed" because I was able to tell the complete Easter story with it and I also think "Lionfish" is nice because of the colors and depth I achieved with it and also "Twenty Thousand Leagues" for the undersea vibe. Out of those, I'd say "Soul-Seed" is the best.
Why do you like to work with 3D software?
I like it because of the release it gives me from day-to-day stress. And for the outlet for creativity it affords. When I get into that certain "groove", everything else just goes away and I become totally immersed in what I'm trying to do — sometimes for days at a time. (at least after work — I still haven't gotten my dream job of "Head Lottery Winner"). I'm a big first person shooter PC game nut, too, and I love the artwork in those games, which is so much like what I see in the Bryce and some other galleries here — cool stuff! I tried to emulate that style of image using only fractals in one of my images called "The Depths of Orthanc".
Who/what inspires you?
I am, and have been for years, inspired by the Ultrafractal artwork of Keith Mackay (Deagol) and Toby Marshall (kymarto) for the colors they use. Linda Allison (gumbycat) and Jackie L (lulu18) for their wonderful shapes, textures and pastels. Bruno Contant (fractalexpo) for the very cool abstract vibe of his work.
For Apophysis flames, I find much inspiration in the compositions made by Matt (Criminally Insane/Midday Crisis, and the nifty shapes crafted by Gudrun Ostermeier (skyeX) and Carol Saenz (CarolSassy). The unbelievable substance and rendering of works by Mike Polinchak (melancon), and the utterly cool unscripted flames made by my wife, Joanne, or Joie, as I've nicknamed her (gargoyle84 and the BEST half of PairOfPyros!). I'm also inspired and awed by the Xenodream fractal work of Joseph Pressley (joefraq), Dirk Monteny (Urchin1996), and Bryan Smith (smithgiant).
How has this online community (Renderosity) enhanced your work, relationships, and learning?
I've found Renderosity to be just plain awesome as far as having a very well trafficked venue to display my art, and also for the encouragement and advice/tips I've received from many of the artists here. The exposure I received here has directly led to my invitation and acceptance into this year's DragonCon show, and a feature article on me in the May edition of Contour magazine. The friendly community vibe of this site has given me the positive attitude and confidence to continue to grow in my chosen art form.
Parting comments or advice to other Artists?
Just to “keep on keepin' on” with your art, and always look to learn something new and improve. Don't be daunted by the learning curve in some of the more complex programs — I'm not exactly the "brightest gradient in the folder," but even I eventually figured out at least SOME things.
We invite you to view Rykk's Renderosity Gallery. To learn more about Renderosity's Artist Of The Month [AOM] award, and to view our past AOM's, please visit the AOM page, which can also be found on the sidebar under Highlights.