d-TOP Interview – Feb 2nd 1999

Name: Neil Blevins

Age: 23

Company: Soulburn Studios

Job: Head Cheese

How did you begin your career as a 2d/3d artist?

I've been drawing and painting since I was 6 years old, and I've always loved making monsters and robots and the like. Then video games got me into videogame art, which I used to create pixel by pixel in paintbrush. Eventually I got as a copy of POV-Ray, a very simplistic text based 3d program, which lead to work in 3dstudio. I now use Max.

What or who inspired you?

Lots of things. I am very inspired by fantasy and science fiction art, and music. My favorite artists include H.R. Giger, Heidi Taillefer, Dale Keown, Marc Silvestri, Michael Turner, and I get a lot of inspiration from music such as Devin Townsend, Meshuggah, Fear Factory, and Steve Vai.

Why do you do it?

I do it because I have to. I have to get these ideas out of my head into a tangible form. That helps keep me sane. I use many media, but 3d computer generated graphics allows me to reproduce what I'm thinking in the most detail. 

Give us a clue to the hours you work?

Images usually take anywhere between 30 to 60 hours.

Materials/Software/Hardware?

3dsmax and tons of plugins. Photoshop for textures. PII 333 with 128Megs RAM. When doing 2d art, I use pencils, paper, acrylic paints, and anything else I find around me. I do all kinds of art.

Physical working environment?

My tiny room, which I've lived in for 23 years. Got a nice big desk, I'm surrounded on all sides by posters, my own artwork, other people's artwork, artbooks, and I have a kickass stereo with huge subwoofers blasting evil music 24 hours a day.

Current desktop picture (presuming you have one)?

"The fighting 'Temeraire' tugged to her last berth to be broken up" painting by J.M.W. Turner in 1838

Work philosophy?

Do what you love. Do what you need to do. Work on it day and night without stop until it looks great, then step away from it for a week, come back with a fresh view, and fix all your mistakes. I also have trouble leaving an unfinished project hanging around, I like organization and completion.

Vision(s) on the future of your type of work?

Eventually someone will figure out 3d can be real artwork when real artists use the tools, and it'll grow as a means of expression.

Tips for budding 3d artists?

Work, work, work, learn software at home, learn art basics in school, observe everything around you.

Are you a gamer? (which?)

No, but I used to play on my Genesis all the time, and I've finished Doom at least 100 times.

What do you do when you aren't creating 2d and 3d work?

Playing guitar and drums, reading, looking at art books, working on my webpage, rollerblading, going to parties with my strange friends.