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Artist Spotlight: Simon Wendler

1) Please tell us a little something about yourself.
My name is Simon and I live in Graz, the second largest city in Austria. Most of my artistic knowledge and skills are self-taught, although I started to study architecture, which I didn’t complete and then “Information-Design” on the University of applied sciences FH Joanneum, which I finished, and where I was able to get a broad range on different fields of work with digital media.

2) What experiences influenced your artwork? Where do you get your ideas for your artwork?
I take my inspiration from all sources I get, sometimes they come from a trip to another country, sometimes I see a picture of something that captures my attention or just from a short walk, where I see something special or interesting. In this particular case, the house I created, was actually a real house, which I rebuild for a special FX shot for the upcoming Independent movie: Biest ( (link opens in new window)

3) Can you tell us a little about your creative process? How do you create your artwork? Do you sketch an idea first or do you keep the design in your head until you're finished?
That depends a bit on the project. I really try not to stick to a fixed process, so that the creativity comes first and isn’t affected by fixed cycles. Sometimes I use sketches to get a clearer idea of what I want to achieve, sometimes I start directly within 3dsmax and develop the image there, building together some rough geometry and adding details and textures on the go (and vary them). When the concept is already quite clear in my head, I also start directly in the 3d program.

4) When or how did you decide to get into digital artwork? Did you start with traditional media first or did you jump right into the digital world?
I really decided to go this way after my study of architecture and during my next study of “Information Design”, where I had the possibility to try out and play around with different kinds of digital media design and traditional art, like web-design, 3d animation, painting, graphic design, typography and so on. I sticked with 3d, and since then it was more or less a clear decision, although I started to create digital – I wouldn’t call it “artworks” – pictures since my school time, when I was sixteen and started to play around with Pov-Ray and 3d Studio on DOS operating system…and I always loved and love sketching with pencil and paper.

4a) What tools do you use to create your artwork?
The software I mainly use, are 3ds max, Photoshop and After FX and I use simple pencils and my Wacom tablet.

5) What made you decide to submit your artwork to the CGTrader website?
I uploaded the 3d model of the house to CGTrader for an architectural challenge they started.

6) What piece of artwork are you most proud of? Why?
I like the picture “childhood memories”, because it captures a lot of feelings and most people can feel some kind of mood, when they look at it. It can also tell some kind of story when you look at it, and you ask yourself some questions about the kid, sitting in front of the house – what is he doing there, does he live there, is he alone? It’s very important for me, to create some feelings with the images.

7) What keeps you motivated when things don't seem to be going your way? What are some challenges you've faced in your career?
The goal keeps me motivated. If something doesn’t work out, I try to keep focused and think around some corners. What is my goal, what do I want with this project, and what are my possibilities to achieve this?

The challenges are often the clients, who aren’t aware of the creative process and what it takes to get to the final result.

8) Do you accept commissions from people who enjoy your artwork?
Yes, of course. I do both, personal work and contract work.

8a) If you do accept commissions, have you worked for many clients? How does your creative process differ when making your own artwork compared to making artwork for a client?
I have worked for many clients now. Mainly Advertising agencies, movie production companies, architects and industrial clients.

There are, of course differences between personal and client work. In my personal work I can make, whatever I want to and I don’t have a deadline, which means time is of no concern. This makes the creative process very rich, because you don’t have pressure and have to make fast decisions. It also means you can try to achieve something as long as you want. On the other hand, this “endless” time and possibilities sometimes makes it hard to keep up the motivation and you have to take care, not to loose yourself in details.

With clients it differs on how creative the process can be. Some clients have an exact idea on every detail of the project and I’m just recreating their imagination as close as possible. Other clients have just a rough concept of what they want and give me a lot of freedom on how the final artwork will look. With both client work, you have to be efficient and work very goal-oriented, because time and money matter.

9) How do you handle criticism of your artwork?
If critic is constructive and helps making a better picture, I like to get a lot of critics.

10) What advice do you have for up-and-coming artists who want to improve their artwork?
Just make as much as you can and don’t focus too much on creating the perfect artwork, with every tiny detail worked out perfectly. Oh, and don’t loose the fun when making your work – that’s probably the most important thing!

11) Some people claim that digital art isn't "real art" mainly because it's made with software programs. How would you respond to this?
If people see it that way, it’s ok for them. I create those works, because I like what I do and not to create some perfect art. Of course, it’s nice to get some attention and other people also like what I make, but that’s not the intention, when I start to create an artwork.

12) What are some of your more notable achievements? Have you been published in a magazine or exhibited your artwork at an art festival or gallery?
My work was published in the printed magazines of 3dartist and Digital Production. I was on the 3dtotal gallery and of course the client artworks where used in their printed posters, folders and websites. And the animated art, I created was used in documentaries, movies and spots.

13) Any other comments or anything else you'd like to say?
Hardware and software are just tools, it’s what you make out of them, what matters.

Where can people go to see more of your artwork? Do you have your own portfolio website or do you post your images on a graphic arts/ community site?
I usually don’t post so much online. You can find some personal work on my site: (link opens in new window)

I also do a lot of animated work for signSTUDIOS (link opens in new window)


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