Today we were lucky enough to be joined by the talented GRIFF, creating some awesome artwork, he’s creating his own lane, embracing his unique style that he’s developed over the years. Interested in learning more about his work process? Read on:
GRIFF, thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us.
How did you first get into creating digital art?
Well, my very first experience with digital art was with Microsoft Paint on my Dad’s IBM 386 back in the early 90s. I still remember what I made — it was an 8-bit pixel art-style image of my family, all as Street Fighter-style characters, called ‘Family Fighter II’. We clearly weren’t having a good day that day.
Many years later I was living in London and working in Sky Sports, and part of the job required Photoshop. So I started to learn how to make graphics, got very much into design and eventually started scanning in my drawings and finishing them on the computer. I was hooked.
Your work primarily consists of awesome futuristic illustrations that make exceptional use of colour and shapes, like in your incredible “Knights” series.
Yes, I’m very much into sci-fi and a bit obsessed with Futurism. Even though a lot of my images, like the Knights, are a bit dystopian, I find Futurism very hopeful and inspiring/aspiring. I also love fantasy in all forms, so I try to blend that in a little too. The idea of alternative realities, and the concept (or reality) that time is not linear lead me to think about playing with fusing historical elements with alt-future tech. The tech is purposely a bit rudimentary — there are wires and sockets everywhere. These aren’t Bluetooth knights. So they’re less far future characters and more alt-reality ones. Plus, I think it’s cool. :D
Star Wars has had a big influence clearly — I’ve done some work for Lucasfilm and they were very clear it’s ’Space Fantasy’ not Science Fiction. I find that very inspiring.
What are your inspirations? This could be artists (NFT or non-NFTs), TV shows, music, or any random thing on the internet!
Well, as mentioned — Star Wars is a big one, being a child of the 80s. We had some great cartoons back then too, like Ulysses 31, M.A.S.K, Centurions etc that left a lasting effect. My family have always been into films so from a young age I was a film nut, and epics like 2001, Dune & Blade Runner made a huge impression.
I have always been an avid reader, mostly of fantasy & sci-fi with some Irish mythology thrown in — so combine that with a love of film has resulted in a passion for story-telling in general.
Artist-wise I have always loved the sci-fi masters like Paul Lehr, John Harris, Chris Foss, Moebius, Syd Mead .. Anime (Cowboy Bebop, Akira, GITS), comics (Toppi, Moebius again, Gimenez).
Music has always been a huge part of my life. Almost too many to mention, but at the moment I’m a bit obsessed with Floex. I tend to get obsessed and listen until I can’t anymore. GoGo Penguin & The Comet is Coming are others I’m into presently.
With the internet — clearly Crypto Twitter is the most inspiring place :) A flood of amazing new art, daily.
There are so many. Honestly, I could go on all day about my influences. But I won’t, don’t worry.
Do NFTs, as a medium, allow you to explore the tech side of your practice further?
Absolutely. That is what I find most exciting about NFTs — that we are not limited to still images, or even animated ones. We can make anything we want. It can be an experience like a VR space or AR animations. We can use audio, film, paint, cameras — anything. It’s given me the drive to push my technical abilities so much further, learn new software, explore, push myself in terms of what I can make. I am actually terrible with technical stuff! But regardless I have a passion for learning it — or at least bash it together to fit my own needs.
It’s also given me the means to do so, with collector’s faith in my work allowing me to invest back into it. That one feeds the other is incredible and will result, I think, in a kind of Moore’s Law for creativity. What a time to be a creative, in any medium. It’s amazing.
What is your work process from idea to finish?
It really depends. If I’m doing a movie poster or a DVD cover, I watch the film, take stills, scribble idea in a sketchbook. Then rough it out, send to client, work it up until it’s done and both me and client are happy. Sometimes just the client!
On my own work (which is becoming the dominant output), I tend to go with the flow. I’ll have an idea, and I will think about very little else. I’ll then start to play around — maybe on paper, maybe on the computer. I’ll tease the idea out, battle with it until it’s not crap. Sometimes it comes right out (the Knights are an example of that), sometimes it takes a lot of development. But once I’m in, I’m all the way in. A bit obsessive, as you may have gathered by now…
There was an article recently about a study some folks had done with AI, where they used it to prove that a creative ‘hot streak’ always comes after a period of experimentation. It’s something I already knew — because whenever I have gone through a period of playing around it’s resulted in some of my best stuff, and best opportunities (like illustrating the deluxe edition of Dune for example).
Cryptocurrencies and NFT have been dominating the world news for the past year thanks to the meteoric rise of Bitcoin, Cryptopunks, and of course, the famous Beeple $69M NFT purchase. What are your honest thoughts on the cryptocurrency and NFT space right now?
My honest thoughts are firstly that I think it’s the greatest thing to happen to creative people like me, ever. I don’t know anything, really, about cryptocurrencies. But I know that the technology behind them has allowed those of us who work digitally to authenticate and add value to our work. And I know that the value of cryptocurrencies allow us to put even more into our work as mentioned above.
Previously, personal work for a commercial artist like me had two main functions — it helped us to develop our skills, and it helped get us clients. It had no fiscal value (unless maybe you sold prints) — it was used to get clients interested enough in your skills to pay you to use them on their product. But now the personal work itself has value — and actually a lot more value, in financial terms. It has allowed us the freedom to really push ourselves, explore the limits of our abilities and express ourselves more openly and fully than ever before.
The other honest thought is — the ecological issues do need to be addressed. Not just in terms of moving to PoS but in terms of educating those outside of the community — reassuring people that it’s a nascent technology and those that are deeply involved in it are all committed to improving it. It is so badly misunderstood out there, that it will take quite a PR exercise to do it. But it needs to be done, because the division is not healthy.
I guess all new technology is initially misunderstood and even feared. People on a macro level don’t like change. But the benefits of this are so huge, people are missing out. All technology has energy issues to address, not just NFTs. As a planet we are at (or past) crisis point, and so all of it — from computer chips to transport to food and everything else has to change. But the idea that NFTs are the worst of all is inaccurate and should be balanced out.
If I didn’t think it was going to improve — if the people who develop blockchain tech didn’t care about the environment, I wouldn’t be involved. But they do, and I am and I have every faith that this whole thing is going to be life-changing for anyone who embraces it. We creatives are valued now, and that will only improve. It’s about time.
What are your other passions besides creating art?
I’m passionate about making music, but I’m definitely more nervous about sharing that publicly than I am about art. NFTs are changing that though :)
I also love story-telling and writing. Reading. I like being outside, in any wilderness I can find (wild weather preferred). I’m pretty passionate about being on my couch with a bottle of rioja and a good movie.
And my family of course :)
This is something we ask new starters in CoinBurp as part of their Q&A interviews that we post on our blog, but the answers are always great so we’ll ask you too; What TV show or movie are you ashamed to admit you love?
Hmm. I don’t know that there’s any I’m ashamed to admit I love to be honest! I love David Lynch’s Dune film, while he hates it.. But I’m not ashamed of that!
Uh.. Ace Ventura films? :D
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions for us. The CoinBurp team can’t wait to see you grow as an artist!
Thank you! Very much appreciated.
Post some links to where people can find your artwork and social media accounts. Also, feel free to shout out anything else you wish.
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