Tiziano's Workshop

Musings on art and miscellanea

Fine Artist Vs. Digital Mercenary?

Since about a year, every now and then I read of a collegue working in the industry that is thinking about leaving  commercial works  behind and taking the fine art /gallery route.

I can well understand the appeal : leaving behind a specific genre and paint  ‘what I like’, with no deadlines, no Art Director – sent assignements , no ‘I’d like the composition of n.1, the palette of n.2 and the point of view of n. 6, may I have the new sketch tomorrow?’, setting one’s own prices, coming back to working with ‘real’ paint and being able to hold an original in one’s hands once more.

Besides… as some say and some more or less imply,  shedding the ‘mercenary’ label to enter the ranks of ‘real’ artists, those who paint for art’s sake and do not accept assignements to meet the basic need to put food on the table.

As I said, I understand the appeal, fact is that I don’t  find it that realistic.

I’ve seen the gallery route close and personal, given that my mother has done quite a few exibitions before deciding to go the private-commission way. Admittedly I don’t know how things are outside Europe, but I don’t believe they are that different (I’ll be happy to be proven wrong, though).

An art gallery is a businness: it has a space, which costs, either as initial investment or as monthly rent, it has personnell  that must be paid, it needs a name and a reputation and that means events, PR and advertising.

I remember an exibition of  art of the ‘90s by Veronese painters.  At the vernissage there was an introductory lecture held by an history of art professor , a critic and a well-known local gallery owner. When it was time for questions, a member of the public asked the gallery owner about ‘how can art be defined’, the answer was immediate and assured : “What sells is art”.  

Galleries want to sell, that often means following the trend that’s ‘cool’ at the moment, it means that a newbie has either to be introduced by someone or to strike the owner’s fancy as ‘sellable’ (either by style or  by some quirk of personality or bio) in which case, of course, a good percentage of the sale price goes to the gallery,  or has to rent gallery space investing personal money  in the hope to recup expenses, and possibly earn something, with sales.

Even more, an exibition is a deadline, one for which the painter works for months on end, even a year or more, to produce the 20 – 30 pieces that will be shown, with no guarantee whatsoever that even one of them will be sold.

Frankly this mercenary likes much better trying to make a name for himself in the game industry and painting some originals on the side (time allowing) for direct sale to fans and collectors…

Happy New Year!!
Hello everybody! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (or your seasonal festivity of choice) and a fun, safe and warm New Year's Eve.

I know I've been AWOL for a long time, in fact I came to LJ rather frequently, reading through my friends'list and keeping abreast of things, my problem was with updating my blog since...well, it takes time and while I write, I cannot paint (I did better with fast updates on Facebook, though, I didn't turn wholly web-hermit).

With the new year just arrived it's time for another retrospective, how did 2009 go?

In 2009 I painted 31 pieces, all but 3 of which were print-resolution.
Of these 31 I had:

20 industry pieces (among which 1 painting for a Q&A column, 3 covers for rpg manuals and 16 cards) of the 20, 14 are still under non-disclosure.

8 private commissions: 5 portraits and 3 backgrounds for a web-site

2 pieces made for challenges (from 2 other challenges I dropped out, commissions got in the way)

1 personal piece (Xava: mischief)

I didn't have more than 2 weeks as maximum timespan between the end of the job and the beginning of the next one, from October onward the pace became hectic I found myself with work lined up for three months straight and the trend is continuing in the new year.

I've had some new clients, all of which found me on their own, and all have came back for more, some multiple times.

Features: I have had 2 pieces and a tutorial published in Art Squared  1 a new British annual, quite a few more pieces have been selected for volume 2 that will be out later this year.

A  whole page feature on Painter Magazine

One Q&A column on Painter Magazine (now it has changed name and scope, we'll see whether further cooperation materializes).

One interview on It's Art Magazine (web and paper) and another, taken by my lovely collegue Constanza Ehrenhaus earlier last year and publishe on EMGZine today.

All in all I've painted a bit less than last year, but work in 2009  has been picking up in the second part of the year reaching an hectic pace in the last 3 months of the year.
I've been added to a second line of LCG by Fantasy Flight Games (Call of Chtulhu) and my first piece for the line has been used as cover for the pack and has been very well received by the player community (which, if I may add, as very strong opinions about what constitutes good Chtulhu card art, and rightly so), another piece done for AGOT also was used as pack cover and was similarly well received).

All in all I believe that, work-wise, this dual-job wielding free-lancer can be well satisfied of a year that, in general I'm rather happy to see ended.

Here is to a way better 2010 for everyone!

5- word meme

I've been tagged by ellenmillion with five words to explain or talk about, if you comment here I'll tag you in turn (unless you're Ellen herself, I guess).

loyalty :  I don't trust easily, due to some very unpleasant experiences in my teen-age years, so, for me loyalty has became in a way the very basis of human relationships, the single element upon which to build. On my turn I do my best to reciprocate.

architecture: my study choice at university and my day-job, but definitely not my vocation. I am still fascinated by 'real' architecture and history of architecture, but after getting my degree and starting working I discovered that most of my time was (and is) taken up by jumping bureaucratic hurdles and doing paperwork in legalese. Thank Heavens for my second job! 

Italy: A real Mediterranean labyrinth, sometimes enchanting, sometimes exasperating, rich in history and culture and terribly shallow and provincial, home to countless geniuses, who mostly had to look for opportunities elsewhere...
Home, and no matter how much I love to travel and experience life elsewhere, it's always where I come back to.

texture: when painting, texture is substance for me, it is what defines and differentiates materials, lack of texture makes everything the same . It needs not be over-detailed or photorealistic, but it has to feel real to the viewer without any need of explanation, texture is apparent in the way an object reacts to the lightif it appears organic or not, new or battered, it doesn't even need to be visible per se, but it needs to be perceivable, even unconsciously. I love painted texture ( I experimented for a short while with photographic ones but they just don't work for me), they are one of the elements in a painting I enjoy playing with.

religion this one is difficult: I am by affiliation a Roman Catholic but I don't see myself as a particularly devout one, I have my doubts, I have things I dispute or don't like, but the single thing I'm absolutely sure of and would never think of disputing (and I can't even explain, but it's like a physical certainty) is that there is a God and he/she (imo gender is a human limit so it doesn't apply) is good .

Variations on a Theme
Some time ago I happened acros Jon Schindehette's blog, if you are unfamiliar with the name, he is the Senior Art Director for D&D.
I found his blog to be a mine of useful information, and Jon himself to be a very obliging person, who, at the moment is working very hard (in his free time, I might add) to build a community of artists interested in game art illustration and design.

Part of this effort are the challenges he is holding regularly.
The one I made this piece for was called 'Variations on a Theme' and involved choosing a D&D race and designing 3 variations of armor for it.

The race I went with was the Eladrin, and I chose to depict the three classical variations on armor: light, medium and heavy.

The full line-up can be seen on mr. Schindehette's blog here (it's a long post, make sure to scroll down).

Feel free to go over, browse the entries, discover the current challenges and/or vote (he isn't allowing anonymous votes anymore, though, so, if you do, either log-in or put your name somewhere in your post) .

And this is my entry


BRP: Rome: the Life and Death of the Republic
The first of my covers to come out of non disclosure...is the one I painted last, of course.

'Rome' is a RPG supplement for the D100 system, it's published by Alephtar Games an Italian independent house publishing in English, it's already available for pre-order but will be released at Tentacles Omega, in Germany, this June.

It has been an interesting project, for one it is historical roleplaying, not fantasy, and historical accuracy was stressed throughout. this presented a few problems, since the client wanted something that could clearly say 'Ancient Rome' to the average player browsing through a game-store's shelves but many of the elements we generally link to Rome are the trappings of the late imperial age, two or three centuries after the time the game is set in.

click for more and pictures.Collapse )

Some time ago I was interviewed for It's Art magazine.
Tonight I have been informed that the interview is also available on it's own on the 'It's Art' site: right here

OK, I am addicted to tea, but that isn't the reason for this post..
Fact is, a collection of teas with labels featuring some of my fantasy girls has just been put up by lovely Ellen Million at EMG.

Dangerous Women Tea Collection

If anyone is so inclined, each kind can also be ordered separately.
Excuse me, I think I'll go brew myself a cup.

Once upon a time

I promise I'll explain as soon as I can, but now I need your take on a question : what says ' Republican Rome' to you?

Senators wearing togas!
Other (please say what in a comment)

Thaldir on CGWallpapers
Since yesterday, Nimhelith is available for download by subscribers at CG Wallpapers.

More wallpapers will follow: Chromis: the Origin, Elven Scout, Topia World : Sinja.
Xava: Mischief will also be submitted.

Here's a sample of their 'free wallpaper of the day'.

the Xava are coming.
I'd been thinking for a while about painting a series of pieces about the tribe of my 'Elven Scout'. They are the Xava, live in the tropical forests covering a great part of their world, decorate themselves with natural paints and jewels made of stones and seeds,wear little more than loincloths of tanned leather and hunt with weapons of hard wood and flint.
Every now and then they discover mysterious ruins in the jungle, the places of those who went before. There, at times, beautiful pieces of metal and other things can be harvested.

Here is Elven Scout's little sister with a couple of friends...



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