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Artist Spotlight: Volkan Kucukemre

1) Please tell us a little something about yourself.
I am living in Istanbul, Turkey. I've studied graphic design. We had a basic drawing course in the first year. Beyond that, I've learned mostly from internet tutorials and videos. And practice of course. But I consider myself as a lazy person... And could (should) have worked a lot harder..

2) What experiences influenced your artwork? Where do you get your ideas for your artwork?
I've grown with sci-fi and fantasy, and never ever grown out of it. A lot of things influence my work, from the books I've read to anime, comics, movies and nature. I also try to follow popular science, as much as I can.

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?
I am always thinking about some piece of machinery or some creature, in a corner of my mind. When I sit down, I'll put down with whatever tools I have at the moment. 2d, 3d or even physical models. Sometimes, I see some object and start building around it with other shapes. That way design seems to grow on by itself. This works best with physical models. But works with 3d too. I often archive and kitbash previous models to get new models in 3d. Just like in physical model building.

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 always liked my toys =) So as soon as I've learned that I can draw with a stylus on a PC, I had to get into that. I wish I could practice more with traditional tools. But they are too messy and expensive, compared to digital. Also, digital is so much faster. You don't need to wait for the paint to cure and such...

4a) What tools do you use to create your artwork?
I use Maya on a daily basis, for my work. Also Photoshop. I use z-brush for personal work mostly.
I have an Intuos tablet at work, connected to my PC, and Cintiq21UX at home. Also have an AsusEP121 tablet to work when outside, or traveling.

5) What made you decide to submit your artwork to ImagineFX
ImagineFX e-mailed me about my work, and I said why not? =)

6) What piece of artwork are you most proud of? Why?
None =) I think that's called artist's curse. I just can't love a piece once I'm finished with it. That's a good thing I guess but also bad. Don't know.

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?
My main challenge about my career is, that I am living in a country where there is virtually no industry about my chosen field. That means, there are not enough senior talent to guide me when needed. Internet helps, but it's not like working with some big name, in the same office all day. You learn so much from people when you see them actually working. I try to save money and go to workshops in other countries as much as I can. That way, I can meet and talk with veterans and learn from them, whatever I can. Seeing so much talent in one place is really motivating.

8) Do you accept commissions from people who enjoy your artwork?
8a) If you do accept commissions, have you worked for worked for many clients? How does your creative process differ when making your own artwork compared to making artwork for a client?

I don't get too many commissions, since I don't have a really extensive portfolio, I believe. But yes, I accept commissions when they come and if it seems like for a decent enough project.

9) How do you handle criticism of your artwork?
I respect and thank everyone, who spend time trying to improve my work. And try to get as much as I can from them. As long as it makes sense =)

10) What advice do you have for up-and-coming artists who want to improve their artwork?
As another up-and-coming artist, I can only say Work hard! Don't burn yourself up, but work as hard as you can. Also try to step out of your comfort zone as much as you can. When you feel you are struggling, you are improving.

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?
Tools are tools. Digital tools are also tools. like oils and canvas. Someone can as easily say that using paint tubes are not real art. You have to mix your own paints from pigments and walnut oil and beeswax... Same principles apply to both digital and traditional work, like light, colour, composition, line quality... so...

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?
Recently, our company, Gamester, won Best Social, Casual & Online game prize with Hordemaster. I've been working on this for last 2 years, doing half of the visual assets and some game design. We'll see if the game becomes an actual success. =)

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