Today we have the pleasure to interview one of the best russian illustrator: Anton Semenov also known as Gloom82. Anton impressed and maybe scared everyone with his approach on making surrealist illustrations. I hope you will like the interview.
Hi, let’s start with an introduction. Tell us a bit about you, where are you from and how you began working with illustrations.
Hi! Well, let’s start. I’m from Bratsk, Russia. It is in Eastern Siberia. I spent the whole of my life here. That’s why I used many ideas and colours for my works from the atmosphere of my own city. Don’t think that Bratsk is something grey and weird. But I have just seen differently and have my own opinion, as well as everything that is surrounding me.
Also I used to go to the Art school for children but I didn’t finish because one day I didn’t feel any interest. Maybe if I finished that I started then, my life and the directions of my art technology would be definitely changed. In our city there are many artists painting different landscapes of the scenic views of local nature, still lifes and so on. All of city exhibitions of these artists are very similar, and it seems it will never change, at least I won’t be able to wait for that time. But I could one of them, and it’s good that I wouldn’t. I don’t mean that they are doing something wrong, but I have my own way. I’m not very known here, and not many people understand me. Sorry, I see and describe the situation a little bit deeper.
Well, this is exactly where I began my path of Illustrator. There was no teacher who could answer to my questions that I had. It made me to overcome obstacles getting own experience. No, of course, there are many the teachers-artists here, but I don’t know the illustrators at all and I don’t talk about the digital painting as well. The Internet has helped in this situation but not much. It was rather a motivation than a real solution. Probably, some insulation gave some results and helped to develop my own style. Well, that’s enough, I have been living in Bratsk and drawing till now.
Could you explain your workflow? How do you start your Illustrations, on paper or you make all digitally?
Probably, it isn’t a good answer but I don’t know how exactly to answer to this question. Everything is always different. There are some works that I drew sitting at the paint tablet, and other ones are machined pencil sketches. The ideas usually comes suddenly, for example, when I am at work doing a small sketch on the sticker, and then it serves as a basic platform for my future work.
What tools do you use on your design process and where do you go for design inspiration?
If you are about the software packages, it is really enough PhotoshopCS, Wacom Intuos 5L. Sometimes I use CorelDraw and 3Dmax. This is regarding the tools. As for the ideas, they are everywhere, the main thing is to learn to see them. Sometimes it is useful to doubt of that seem obviously. Also it is helpful to develop the ideas making them alive for our real life. I can like absolutely weird thing for other people, and it can even inspire me. For example, twisting line in the fence boards, marks of paints, scratches and so on. I would like to find out a little fantasy everywhere even there no exists.
Do you have any specific plans for the future direction of your work?
Oh, yes, many plans. I have really a lot of plans. Sometimes I feel really sorry that I have only one life, and I won’t be able to achieve everything that I’m planning. I don’t want to open all of my secrets, but I share with you couple of them. Long time ago I have planned to start painting with natural materials (together with digital painting) because oil painting is another sort of energy and it’s very attractive and interesting for me. Also I would like to dive in the cinematography if I would have a good chance, but I don’t like to suggest now. By the way, the lack of time is making difficult these implementations.
What makes an illustration successful?
It must be clear for the audience, and the main task must be well-done if it means commercial illustration. In my opinion, it is more interesting question what makes successful an illustrator? It is worth thinking about it. Success and fashion here are very important things. The things like technique, world vision, ideas make an author unique, and it’s difficult to predict these mix factors. I have seen excellent, technically well painted pictures but there is nothing special that makes them popular. In other words, there are many works that make us emotionally “shiver”, but you can’t figure out why.
Could you name a couple of your favorite illustrations?
Do you mean my illustrations? I think some of them were successfully done and reflect exactly what I wanted. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen all the time. For example, Auschwitz, Society, Black Dream, the Snowman, and Again the Afternoon, Wolfberry. Honestly, there are more ones but I won’t list all of them.
What passions do you have besides your work?
As my major job is outdoor advertising, the illustration can be called a hobby. It is still hobby. If I didn’t become an artist I probably would be a musician. It is very close to me and I feel sorry that I can’t spend more time but I have only one life as I have mentioned before.
I saw that you are a member of Slashthree. Can you tell what is it and if this helped you in your career?
Sure. This is a community of illustrators, designers and artists from around the world. They release the kind of works about specific topics (approximately 2 – 3 times a year), and it is very interesting. It gives to look on the same idea with the different opinions. This teamwork helped me a lot. Usually, you don’t want to shame before professionals, and try to do everything on the high level. Last time I can’t participate in these exhibitions because I am very busy, and the job takes all my free time as well. But I hope that one day I will come back, and I won’t be forgotten.
Thanks for the interview. Would you like to give any tips or advices to aspiring digital artists?
If you decided to become an artist and succeed success in this business you should know that you need to spend of your life, to live and to breathe it in. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense. So the artists are the people who can’t live without painting.
Thank you for the interesting questions! I was glad to answer them.
Sincerely, Anton Semenov.