WELCOME.BIO# Current Age: 21
# Current Residence: UK Newcaslte
# Favourite movie: Ghost In The Shell, Donnie Darko
# Favourite band or musician: U2 . Sting . Yoko Kanno . Coldplay
# Favourite genre of music: DanceChillout
# Favourite artist: Dusso
# Favourite photographer: Foureyes
# Favourite style or digital art: anything that looks good
# Operating System: 2.66Ghz P4 and a lot of other stuff
# MP3 player of choice: the one that plays MP3s
# Shell of choice: sea
# Wallpaper of choice: the stuff thats easy to put up
# Skin of choice: smooth and tanned....and female
# Favourite game: HALO
# Favourite gaming platform: PC and X-BOX
# Favourite cartoon character: the Professor from Futurama
# Personal Quote: " I draw, therefore i am"
# Tools of the Trade: Photoshop7 & Painter7
My Interview with $spinegrinder!:
Featured Print Artist
Daniel Conway a.k.a. `arcipello grew up with drawing like it is the most normal thing in the world. Only at the young age of 9 he actually realized his talent. Today, being 22 years old, Daniel is an outstanding digital painter and aspiring 2D/3D animator with a bright future. Read on and find out how he acquired his artistic skills and how much effort he puts into his art to capture unique moods and literally terribly beautiful scenes.
Q To get the ball rolling, tell us a bit about yourself.
Let's get the boring introduction out of the way as quickly as possible. My name is Daniel Conway, I am 22 years old and currently living in Newcastle - UK. I have recently graduated from Dundee University where I was learning both 2D and 3D animation techniques, very cool stuff. As for how I learned to do my illustration and digital painting, I have been learning that all by myself ever since I first started drawing as a child and never looked back.
Q How did you discover the world of art and what got you started as artist?
I first discovered the world of digital art when I came across the www.Sijun.com forums. The work was fantastic to me at the time and I just could not get my head around how they did it (which is something I think of whenever someone asks me how it is done). People kept talking about something called Wacom tablets, and as soon as I discovered what that was I went out and bought an A6 Wacom Graphire 2 which I still use to this day! That was 4 years ago.
Q After graduating from university, do you have any current projects?
Since my graduation I have been doing contract work for various companies, currently working with Universal on album and singles artwork for Fightstar here in the UK and also music video art director I guess. I have also been trying to finish off my little animation project that I started and more or less finished early this year. However my computer decided to mess stuff up so now I am having to put the animation back together rather like the world's worst jigsaw puzzle. And while all that is going on I am trying to sort out work that might see me moving to California for a while.
Q Most of your work consists of sci-fi, futuristic and war/post-war themes. Where do you get your ideas and inspirations from?
Yeah a lot of my stuff falls into the category of "typical digital art themes", but I do not think it is too typical. The main reason I focused on that sort of theme was because I wanted to create something beautiful that in reality should be terrible, for example my image "Her Silent Silhouette" - it does not take a genius to work out that those two lonely figures are in a heap of trouble and will very possibly face death, but out of the thousands of comments I have read on that image across the internet, only very few people have actually acknowledged that fact, which I think is quite interesting.
As for my inspirations, it is mainly my own brain I guess, day-dreaming is generally when I find images that might translate well into art, and music helps this process.
Q Are there artists that you look up to and get inspired by?
Yeah there are a lot of great artists out there, I do not just like one style of art so the artists that I really like range from John William Waterhouse, Craig Mullins, Koji Morimoto, Bengal, Koro, Yoji Shinkawa, and all them other guys that you probably won't know.
Q Do things like movies, video games or music influence your artworks?
I would not really say that music influences my work but I know for a fact that I cannot work without it these days, it keeps the left side of my brain happy I guess. Games sometimes influence my work, if I really like a game and its art direction I will often do some "fan art" for it, but that is a pretty rare occurrence.
Q Works of yours like 'Forget Me Not' and 'Her Silent Silhouette' seem to have a deeper meaning. Wanna tell us a bit about them and other works that come to your mind?
I actually prefer to not say anything on the background stories to my work, as it influences the viewer's own thoughts as to what the image is trying to say. That is part of the fun of viewing art in my opinion.
Q How did you acquire your artistic skills? Did you take classes or used tutorials, or are you completely self-taught?
I am entirely self-taught and have been drawing since I can remember. I guess the first time a realized that I was actually quite good at drawing was when I must have been 9 years old, we had a new teacher and she was trying to find someone to draw a picture of the Titanic for an assembly presentation. When she asked if there was anyone good at drawing, all my class mates pointed at me and called my name out. Until then I just assumed everyone could draw the same way that I assumed everyone could read or write. Anyway the hardest learning I had to do was when I made the move to the digital medium, I have had very little experience with color as most of my stuff was done in pencil, so having to learn about color and light has been a long trail, but a very rewarding one. I guess I have just got a very visual brain or something, as I learned about color from simply observing the world around me, which unfortunately a lot of people ignore when it comes to their art.
Q What steps and tools involved in the process of creating an artwork? Give us a short walk-through from the idea to the finished image.
I use both Photoshop 7 and Painter 9 in order to create my work. I generally first use Painter to sketch out ideas and work out composition, once I am happy with what I am doing I will then transfer the image into Photoshop and work out what colors I am going to be using, and this mainly depends on the sort of atmosphere I want to create. As you can guess this stage generally takes a while as it more or less dictates how the final image will look, so it is important to get it just right. Once I have passed this stage it is just a matter of adding color in photoshop and blending out that color in Painter using the various blending tools, Photoshop just does not cut it when it comes to blending colors together. The last stage involves a lot of detail work, skies for example need a lot of attention, as does water. As I mentioned earlier I tend to rarely ever use layers or custom brushes so my method for creating my work is pretty straight forward, I just keep adding color until I am happy with the results, not too dissimilar to how a traditional artist might work.
Q You've been a deviant since 2002. How has deviantART influenced you as an artist?
Yeah I would say deviantART has actually helped me to grow as an artist. Being able to gain instant feedback on work that I have just completed is great, it allows me to know if I am heading in the right direction with my art. It is strange when I think back to first discovering dA, it just seemed so overwhelmingly huge and complex, I had never seen a website like it before, I thought my stuff would never get noticed. But within 10 days I got my first Daily Deviation (which back then had more importance) and then I was hooked.
Q You are an idol to many people. Do you have any advise for aspiring artists?
If people are wanting to make a career out of their artwork then I might suggest that they avoid the over-saturated genres, for example Anime art. deviantART is absolutely over run with this stuff and to be honest I can not tell the difference between any of it, you would have to be very skilled in order to stand out of that crowd, otherwise you will just drown in a sea of bug-eyed ladies. Avoid tutorials on how to paint things. There are a thousand ways to paint any one thing, do not simply rely on someone else's technique. Instead discover your own personal techniques and soon you will find that you are also developing your own style that people will soon recognize to be unique to you.
Q Being one of our top print sellers, what do you think about our Print Program and what do you think does it take to be a successful art seller?
I think the Prints Program is great right now. I have never had a problem with it or the Prints staff, in fact the staff I have talked to have gone out of their way to help me with any issues I have had in the past. I am really liking the fact that you are now doing canvas prints also, I am sure that look great (send a free sample my way sometime =p ).
As for how to sell prints, well it is really all down to your work. I do not do any advertising for my prints although I am sure it helps, but really at the end of the day people are not buying prints for the paper, it is the image that they are spending their money on.
Q Do you have any solid plans for the future yet? What would be your dream job?
I would like to be get into computer game development first, design characters, environments etc, and then move onto films doing some of the same. Pixar seems like a nice place to work so I might try to see if I could spend some time with those guys in the future. I have got a lot of dream jobs in mind, but since I do not like the idea of choosing one particular profession and staying with it until retirement I would rather stretch myself out a bit more and try a bit of everything. Art director seems like a nice job to aim for, but then again I would quite like to get into oil painting and have exhibitions etc.. So yeah, I am still undecided on my path in life.
Q To finish this interview, do you have a message for our readers and fellow artists?
I guess I am supposed to say something profound that will inspire you all, but I would rather just do what Jerry Springer does and leave you with a final thought. As we all know toast always lands butter-side down, and cats always land on their feet. So what happens if you spread butter on a cats back and throw it off a building? Some people say it would cause the cat to spin in a perpetual motion a few feet above the ground, but then other people just think it would create a bloody buttery mess on the sidewalk. I guess some things are best left unanswered.