I’m an member of local PS3 gaming forum, PS3ZA, and I get to interact with a diverse bunch of people. Aside from our shared love of gaming, I also get a chance to see people’s other sideline interests. Just the other day I spotted some fantastic illustrations by by PS3ZA member and fellow Capetonian, Pr0x-E. I wanted to see and know more about him so I got on the blower and asked him a couple of questions. Have a gander at the interview and a small collection of his images after the jump.
So, who is Lenny/Pr0x-E?
Lenny is an online alias I use for myself that was given to me a couple of years back by some mates I would chat with. I created Pr0x-E as my tag for online gaming and since then I have used it it many places to identify myself. I still a little paranoid about putting my real name into the Google machine, companies love to Google potential employees before hiring.
I loved your illustrations the moment I saw them. How long have you been at it, is this a full-time thing or a sideline?
Illustration and digital painting is for now just a hobby for me, unfortunately a combination of things have made it really hard for me to pursue this professionally. At the moment I am doing freelance design work in a junior position, learning the ropes, after coming out of a more internet developer and coding job.
I’ve been drawing since I can remember, but I have been doing digital art works for about six years now. This has been a long, slow road for me, I am self-taught in all programs and methods I use to create my artworks. I still feel I have so much to learn and can be better still. There are a lot of elements that need my attention and I am working at them.
What was the spark that jump-started your interest in illustration?
I think it was around the time I got my first PC and was using Photoshop 4.0. After getting my first Wacom tablet, probably the smallest one available at the time, I started scanning in my sketches onto the PC and then adding colour to the images using used Photoshop.Then I found the art of Korean artist’s work Hyung-tae Kim and that must have set things in motion, I fell in love with his work. In 2005 I got my new and current tablet, Wacom Intuos A4, that was when my passion was really set on fire and now I find myself dedicating all my spare time to illustration, striving to get better and better.
Now tell us what/who influences you – design trends, goings-on in the world, what inspires you to do what you do?
I would say a lot of my influences come from anime and Asian artists, although I like to bring more realism into my work. I try form a balance between both eastern and western styles. I get a lot of inspiration from all sorts of places, from seeing other artworks, comic book artist, anime, manga, game and movie concept art, character designs, the list goes on. If I am lucky I am not far from my tablet and i start putting that inspiration to use. I often have a sketch book with me, which I utilize to the fullest on long train rides. There is nothing worse than craving to produce something and not being able to get it out, after several hours that feeling can die, then more inspiration is required.
Over the last two or three months I have really been inspired and motivated by the work of Stanley Lau and his Pepper Project, this has sparked my new found or maybe rekindled love for pin-ups, also as a guy, I find the female figure very inspiring to want to paint.
Fancy that, we’re quite like pinups too. Of your artworks, can you tells us which is your most favourite image and why?
This is a very hard question to answer. I love all my work I am willing to display, if I am not happy with it I won’t show it to anyone. I tend to set very high standards for myself and I’ve been told on numerous occasions that I am my own worst enemy – I think is true, but in the end, who else is there push me to be better?
If I had to choose it would be a fight between the semi self caricature (the image with yellow orange hair, red shirt and blue eyed character), the Bulldog-Teves, and my Bleeding Bunny. The latter is a pin-up girl with the pink bunny laying on the floor with a bleeding nose. It is a portrait I did for and of a friend, I just completed it and feel that it is one of my first images to really incorporate a background to it.
What’s in the future for Pr0x-E – any specific art styles or techniques that you’re looking to get into?
To be honest I have not really thought about where I want to take my style, I kind of let it find its own way. I was once told not to worry about styles, it’s something that comes naturally. All I focus on is trying to improve my work on every piece that I do.
I’m always open to different styles and believe I can handle many varieties, from the commercial to more abstract. I know my main focus of style is merging the eastern with the western and some realism. My dream is to ultimately end up in a gaming company, doing concept art but I don’t want to limit myself to just that. Matte painting for movies and film or concept art would also be great, right now I am still looking for something that can give me some more direction, at the moment I wing it and my painting is very random and based on inspiration from things I see around me.
Have you worked on any commercial projects?
Unfortunately I haven’t had the opportunity to work any of my magic on on commercial projects or ads, but it is something I’m working to change. I have recently started a Tumblr blog, a Facebook page, and DeviantArt profile to help spread word about my art.
Here’s hoping you do get some interest in your works. Finally, any last words for our readers?
Find the things that you love and that make you happy and give them your time. Keep a positive attitude and try be surrounded by people that help keep that attitude and make you want to work harder to be better. You will eventually find happiness and reach your goals along the way.
Wise words. Thanks for chatting to us Pr0xE.
Thanks for having me on. Cheers!