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MEET THE ARTIST: Steven Baltay - Quick Questions with H+!

Get to know the New York-based artist Steven Baltay with this quick and easy Q&A with the artist!

H+: Describe your aesthetic in one sentence:

S: My aesthetic revolves around surreal representations of organic forms that evoke surprise, disgust, and satisfaction.

H+: What is your background and how did you get into creating digital artwork?

S: I started 3D animation in the 3rd grade and and ever since them it has always been a hobby of mine. I went to grad school to get my MFA in 2015 and since then I've been experimenting with combining my technical side and my artistic side.

H+: What things or subjects inspire your work?

S: I find inspiration in so many places. It's usually when I'm not even looking for inspiration that something pops up. Traveling is always a big one for me. Something about being in a totally new place changes the way I think.

H+: Who are your influences?

S: I would highly recommend that any artist looks into David McLeod, Rose Pilkington, Stanley Kubrick, Frank Guzzone, and James Turrell. I think my work takes little bits and pieces of inspiration from all of them.

H+: Who would your dream project be with? (Person or company or brand). And what industries are you excited to work with (Music, entertainment, etc.)?

S: I've always had a dream of making a Nike shoe commercial, and I would definitely be very excited to work on anything in the music, entertainment, and fashion industries.

H+: What is your favorite program(s) to use for creating your work? Why?

S: Houdini and Octane are my main two softwares. I think they are two of the most innovative 3D softwares right now. Houdini is slow to learn, but once you figure it out it out, it makes your life so much easier, and Octane is great too because it renders so fast you can tweak colors and compositions almost in real time.

H+: What is your favorite thing about New York?

S: Mostly I love that you can get a microwaved beef pattie at 3am from any corner in Brooklyn

H+: Besides creating art, how do you spend your time?

S: I like playing fifa, playing actual soccer, playing guitar, and learning programming. I keep trying to write a program that will teach a character to walk on its own. It's far from working, but I think the concept is exciting enough to keep chipping away at it.

H+: What are you currently listening to or what music do you listen to while you are working?

S: My favorite music for working is Ratatat and Kygo. It's very relaxing and puts me in the right place to start.

H+: Any tips or advice for people who want to learn animation or are just beginning their careers?

S: Basically just work at it every day. Anyone can be a 3D artist. It's more about constantly experimenting and learning than being gifted. But some more tangible advice would be to look at art all the time and save everything you love. Either make a mental note, save a pintrest board, or even print it out and put it on the wall. After a while you will have a very clear image of what your aesthetic is and you can revisit this whenever you get lost.

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