Each month the Renderosity community votes on the Renderosity Artist Of The Month [AOM] ... October's AOM is Chipka!
Who is "Chipka"?
I was born and raised in Chicago--or as a fortune teller might say of me: I was born at a very young age in a city near water. I've traveled around a bit, but I've spent the bulk of my life in the Windy City. I can't say it's my favorite place on earth, but it's pretty at night, and I do love the lake and the river, and the natural wetland surroundings. I've lived in the Czech Republic, I plan to live in Russia (eventually) and I think that the major defining force in my life (at this point) is the time I spent in Prague and in small Czech towns strewn throughout the Czech Republic; I'll be returning there as well, for yet another bout of long-term residence.
I'm a science fiction writer and lifelong fan of the genre, though I have to say that I'm pretty specific about the sorts of science fiction I like. I'd once planned on becoming a biologist, and I think that is what inspires my writing and visual artwork the most, even now. I've moved into an interest in linguistics and I suspect that much of my future work will have something to do with languages and how people perceive the world through language. This all sounds fancy-schmancy, but it basically just means I'm incredibly nosy and love getting my head around the way other people think; I've always been fascinated by that and always will be.
So I guess, in a nutshell, in answer to "Who is Chipka?" I can say that Chipka is an incredibly nosy dude with a taste for obscure music, sushi, and rice pudding. I'm also pretty big on human rights: which probably explains yet another element of my science fiction writing--I love exploring various social issues and actually poking holes in the various dogmas that rule contemporary life. I don't know whether or not I'm a social commentator, but I'll definitely say that I'm a social observer. Photographically-speaking, I'm immensely fascinated by colors or contrasts, or camera artifacts that aren't entirely photographic in the "pretty picture" sort of way.
My nickname is Chip, and my handle here is a variation of the diminutive of my nickname bestowed upon me by my closest friends, who also happen to be Russian.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing since the age of 12. I started writing due to my childhood exposure to OMNI Magazine and all of the amazing artwork I saw there. I didn't possess what I considered to be "artistic talent" at the time, but I was always interested in the art I'd seen in that magazine. I'd often invent stories to go along with images and, over time, I began to write them down, especially since (at that time) there wasn't very much good science fiction on television, and I was not patient enough to read "grown people's" science fiction novels. I've published a number of works (non-science fictional) in various small press publications, and I have a bit of non-fiction published in a few Chicago-local magazines.
What are you currently working on?
Right now, I'm currently working on a number of photographic works, while allowing more fiction to percolate on the back burner. As anyone can see in my gallery, I've begun an exploration of a fictional country called Agara; I plan to construct a rather complex, multiple-narrative tale concerning Agara and its role in an alternate history. Though I define myself as a science fiction writer, this is probably my least overtly science fictional work. It IS science fiction, but I think it's geared toward people who tend to limit science fiction to its pulp origins. I'm also feverishly working on a "generation ship" idea, probably for a series of novellas.
What do you think your best piece of work is and why?
I'm actually not sure of what my best piece of work may be, but I have to say that of the pieces I've posted here, I'm probably the most proud of "The Stolen Sky."
Who/what inspires you?
Music inspires me the most, I think. I'm always listening to orchestral, or "ethnic" music whenever I'm creating. Even if I'm just listening to random CDs or something, my muse goes into inspirational overdrive and often whacks me over the head with an idea that just won't let go. My friends inspire me the most: especially CoreyBlack, a fellow Renderosity artists--he and I have known each other for decades and we're both writers/photographers. We're constantly bouncing ideas off of each other. Bad art/writing also inspires me: more in terms of declaring: "what a piece of crap! I could do better than that!" I'm never really satisfied with simply saying or thinking that, however, I have to actually DO it: of course judgements of "good/bad" are purely subjective, but for me, I think that something that rubs me the wrong way ideologically will always inspire me to pick at it and create something as a way to counteract the "icky" feelings such "bad art/ideology" might inspire.
How has this online community (Renderosity) enhanced your work, relationships, and learning?
Renderosity has been helpful on so many levels. My work has been enhanced and will continue to be enhanced simply because of the measure of interaction I have with so many different artists here: only in an online community such as this might a real international group of people come together and have so much to share. I love the fact that I can interact with people on the other side of the planet and have something to talk about. When I lived in Prague, Renderosity was a link to the USA and now that I'm in the USA, Renderosity is a link to the rest of the planet. For me, that's incredibly inspiring in that I can look at the work of someone here from, say, Russia, Denmark, South Africa, or anywhere else, and that leads to my own exploration of artistic sensitivities native to other places.
Renderosity enhanced my work by simply inspiring me to produce it, especially in terms of my photography and my 2D stuff. Most importantly, I've discovered quite a few people here who think as I do, or are at least open to the way that I think. In terms of relationships, I've developed some very real friendships with people I've met face to face, and in one case (With CoreyBlack) a long-standing friendship has taken on an additional digital aspect. I think that in this sense, particularly, Renderosity allows both Corey and I to interact on an artistic level that continually pushes me.
In terms of learning, well...just look at the galleries here: all of the best ones have something in common, and that's the willingness of an artist to simply follow a vision and see where it goes. There's something liberating in being able to simply follow something through, to experiment, to play, and I think the most important thing that Renderosity allows is play. I think that if humans lose the ability to play, then we lose the ability to be human and so Renderosity helps to keep me playful and my interaction with other artists inspires me constantly because I'm always looking at writing ideas or photography ideas and asking myself: "Yeah, but what if I do this instead of that?" It's all play, and I love that.
Do you have any comments or advice for other writers/artists?
Never be afraid to take risks, especially if they are fun risks or inspired by something deep in your gut. Art is about risk, in so many ways, and art is a way in which risk is rendered safe. You can't take risks when you're driving or about to work with heavy machinery, but you CAN take risks with colors, composition, and all of that other stuff that artists are always going on and on about. Most importantly though, have fun; if you enjoy what you do, others will enjoy it as well.
We invite you to have a further look at Chipka's Renderosity Gallery!
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Artist of the Month is highlighting a talented Renderosity artist that has been nominated by mods and admins, and voted by the community. Recognition is given to this member for their collection of works for that year.
Since we only select one AOM per month, it is not about their works for that particular month. Instead, it is about highlighting a talented artist's works for that year, and they are recognized during that month.
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.