Monday, 10 October 2016

Illustrators Arise: Lorenzo Matthew

Well, hello there, artsy folks! How are you doing? Hope you're well 'cause I've got some great news: it's time for another edition of Illustrators Arise! Woohoo! In case you're unfamiliar with it, Illustrators Arise is where I introduce my favourite illustrators from all over the world every month through an interview so you guys can read along and get to know them too. This year has been all about showcasing Indonesia's best illustrators and we continue with an illustrator who has an apt for making adorable creatures. Give it up for Lorenzo Matthew! I first stumbled upon his works on Catalyst Art Market in November last year, where he was selling his adorable pillows and other merchandise. Ever since then, I've always been intrigued by his ability to create such adorable creatures and design characters. Lorenzo now lives in Jakarta, where he is in constant search for music to accompany his creative process and loves to listen to other people's stories. Without further adieu, here is Lorenzo!

Hi, Lorenzo! Let's begin with wen you started drawing and when you decided to become an illustrator!
Since I was little, my Mother likes to register me into colouring competitions. Then I decided to become an illustrator, I believe, only since around 2011 when I failed to get into IPDN (National Government Institute) and manoeuvred to Communication Design, which just happens to be my interest.

Did you enrol to an art school? What did you learn there, which isn't related to art and design?
Yes, I enrolled to Universitas Media Nusantara  (UMN), taking the Visual Communication Design major in 2011 with specialty in animation. Something that isn't related to art and design, hmm? Learning about art and design in UMN requires a lot of practice and teamwork. So, when it comes to something unrelated to art and design, it was probably the teamwork—learning to bounce ideas off each other, appreciating others' works and cooperating with one another. There were also a lot of presentations, so we were forced to learn how to perform in front of many people as well as showcase our work.

What kind of materials do you usually use?
I usually sketch using pencil (and often with erasers as well), continuing digitally with Photoshop and Style Vector. Manually, I like to work with watercolour.

You have an apt for creating adorable creatures or cute versions of actual living creatures. What usually inspires you to do this?
Haha thank you! I've been into character designing since my university years for animation assignments. As for inspiration, they usually come from character design or concept art books that I was reading at the moment.

Aside from 2D illustrations, you seem to like creating 3D pieces of your characters as well sometimes. Sometimes I also stumble upon the name Black Mavis. Is that your toy label?
When I was still in uni, I studied animation—which means learning 3D and sculpting as well. Now, before I make my characters into 3D, I have to design the front, side and back look of the characters—sometimes even the view from below, if needed—but the sculptures are actually done by my friend Wili. Blackmavis is a collectible toy project created by me, Peter Chung and Wili. Here my duty is to become the illustrator for the characters.

Speaking of which, Black Mavis recently launched a new toy called KARRI that you designed. It is later on customised by various illustrators/artists, right? How did you come up with this idea?
Now I came up with this idea (haha). So in the art toy world, usually toy designers ask other toy artists to customise their toys. Another character example by Blackmavis is ShockED. ShockED was customised by 9 toy artists. Meanwhile, I decided to give KARRI to various artists as a new media for them to explore. Because the concept for KARRI is a creature who likes to explore the art toy world, I wanted various artists to explore the art toy world as well.

Oh I see. What a splendid idea! What was the process like?
First, I gave the artists the presentation file, which consists of invitation to collaborate, the concept and design process for KARRI, photos of the 2D and final product—in white colour, the mechanism and timeline for collaboration.
After the artists agreed, I asked for their address and sent them the original, white KARRI. The artists are free to modify the form, colour it, etc. After the artists finished, they sent it back with their names, description of their work, the selling price (which they also determine) plus the commission for Blackmavis. For the artists who do not want to sell their KARRI, we give it as a personal collection to the artist. Next, Blackmavis's job is to exhibit the works and sell them.

According to your portfolio, it seems you also have experience in the game design area with releasing Uga Goo mobile game. What kind of game is it and what was the process like for you?

Well, that game was an assignment for uni to be included in two competitions. It's a  basic game, because it was also the first time I created a game. The process started with learning the basic software to create games, because I was not experienced in IT as well. Now, with barely adequate knowledge, my team and I made a game not unlike Mario Bros, where Uga went on an adventure to find Goo. For the game and animation assets, we made use of the programming knowledge that we have. A bit stressful because we had to think about the logic behind the physics and storyline of the game. Animation had to also be prepared according to the physics. That's about it, I guess, but it was a ton of fun, would love to do it again sometime.

What does the future look like for Lorenzo Matthew?
More consistent in producing artwork, more productive and collaborate with many people.

If an amateur illustrator comes to you for advice, what would you tell him/her?
Keep learning the basics, such as composition, perspective, lighting, anatomy, etc. Enjoy the process, collaborate as much as you can and always stay humble.

A little note from me

The first noticeable thing about Lorenzo's work is his ability to create such adorable characters, especially the various types of dogs that he sells as plushies. His skill actually lies on his ability to design these characters thoroughly, giving them life more than just looks. Through his instagram, anyone can clearly see his passion and interest in toy designing, which is perfect for his creatures. I love how he uses different colour palettes, playing with playful, cheerful shades to accompany his playful, cheerful characters. There is a certain whimsy with how he create his illustrations and design, which makes the viewer thinks his characters have a world of their own. Not just the aesthetics of his works, but his generosity ripples throughout his pieces. He is a true evidence that collaboration develops you, not corrupt you. You can see the various ways in which he stays true to his nature in his teamwork with others and doesn't shy away from supporting others at what they do.

P.S: Just in case Lidia Puspita is reading this, he wants me to tell you he wants to collab with you :')

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