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Adam Spizak is a Polish-British designer, currently residing in Lisbon, Portugal. His journey with computer graphics began in the year 1996/7 and in the year 2006, he became a Computer Science graduate majoring in Computer Graphics and Multimedia. His specialty is highly-detailed 3D art inspired by pop-culture, games and music.

H+: You have been creating for well over 20 years now! Tell us briefly how that journey has been.

Spizak: Sure, yeah! I always joke that my first "I want to do this" moment with VFX/CGI art was after watching the 1986 "Flight of the Navigator" (prob around 1989). I remember being blown away by the CGI and thought: "wow, I want to make something like this." At that time, homemade VFX didn't really exist. Somewhere between that time and the Terminator 2 release, CGI started to be "the thing". At the same time - back in the mid-'90s, an exciting "movement" emerged that focused on creating art using (home) PCs. It was called "Demo Scene". Various artists - visual designers, musicians, and coders wanted to design animated art that showcases their skills and interesting new computer graphics effects (like Gouraud/Phong shading etc.). These artists would often meet up and create fantastic art in (essentially a hackathon-style) a 24-48h session. I was around 14-15 years old, and it blew my mind - the creativity, the focus, the passion - and, of course: the art itself. And the best part: I could do this at home! ;-) So I saved money and, with the help of my parents, was able to buy an Amiga 500 with Delux Paint. None of this was (of course) a plan for a life-long passion and career - I just felt it was something I needed to try. So here we are! ;-)

H+: Getting started in the 90s, are you fascinated by how much has changed regarding tools, techniques, and technology?

Spizak: So much. It's incredible and liberating that you can make Movies and TV-Shows quality VFX on home PCs. I've always felt connected to the VFX culture. One of my first 3D apps was Lightwave, which was used to make some great TV Shows (like SeaQuest, Babylon5 and more). That was a fantastic moment, as it also run on home (Amiga4000) computers. But only a few years later (prob in 1997-1998), I got my hands on Maxon Cinema 4D V4 - that changed everything. Whist Lightwave was great. It was also much harder to use. Maxon with C4D came up with a much simpler UI, much lower price. Around the same time, Photoshop came up with V4 that was so much more robust. Suddenly you could make an excellent render and do a very decent post in PS. The next time I felt a leap of this magnitude, it was Zbrush (2.0 for me) and Octane Render - both change the approach to 3D and VFX. I still love looking at new (emerging) software and trying new things. I think that will never leave you ;-)

H+: What was the moment you decided that you can create as a professional artist for a living?

Spizak: It was web design in the early 2000s; while it wasn't a true art, it meant you could make things on your pc and pay bills. Between 1998-2010 I was primarily working as a front-end dev (doing both visuals and code) and making art at night. While I had some success with my art in the late '90s, it really took off around 2008. I won a few prizes, was featured reg on Behance homepage, joined Depthcore collective, and placed 7th on the Ad Week Top 100 list. That was the moment when I thought: ok, I could prob do this full-time. :)

H+: Your artwork revolves around darker themes; skulls, monsters, religion... Where do these influences come from?

Spizak: I was always fascinated by sci-fi/horror themes. One of my fave filmmakers is John Carpenter, so a lot of influence was the horror genre in general (with movies like "A Nightmare on Elm Street"). I'm also an introvert, spending most of my time on my own (or now with my wife), so thinking about past, life and (gen speaking) mortality is something that always fascinates me. Growing up in Catholic Poland was also a big part of it - I never had a strong connection with religion, but the darker side (the macabre, the Good Vs Evil themes) always fascinated me.

H+: Have you always been fascinated with 3D? What was it like when you were first interested?

Spizak: Ha! yes, sorry - my intro answered it more, but absolutely. I was blown away by the 1986 "Flight of the Navigator" and Terminator 2, so much that I knew I want to learn CGI/VFX. Maxon bringing 3D to home PCs was that pivotal moment. I was obsessed with making X-Wings models and slowly started making more and more in 3D.

H+: Prior to 3D, you were doing some amazing digital manipulation and photography. How did your experience in those mediums transition into your 3D work today?

Spizak: It was fascinating. I started doing some simple photomanipulation and loved it, noticing some artists were better than others, so I've studied their work and why their "photoshopping" was better. Learning how to think about light (highlights and shadows), sharpness (as photos come with different sharpness) etc. When 3D arrived, I've started using it to add elements to my photomanipulations that were too complex (or abstract) otherwise. As 3D became more powerful, I suddenly realized: why buy this building as a stock picture and be limited if I can make it in 3D and have it exactly as needed.

H+: What does it mean for an artist like yourself to develop your own style and when did you finally realize you had?

Spizak: Do I? ;-) It's kinda funny - I think if you want to develop and style: Don't try to develop a style. It's like finding what your favourite food is: you have to try different foods ;-) I always felt that my eye for colour was good and never struggled in that department. I also have OCD when it comes to adding detail (I blame my developer's brain). Some of my more unique work (like the mechanical animals) is a mix of that "detailed-obsessed colour-fascinated" brain. Letting the style emerge naturally.

H+: What are some of your favorite clients you've worked with? Do you have a client you dream of working with?

Spizak: I loved working with Adobe and Maxon. Both are great. Also Hasbro team is amazing and very open to new ideas. My dream client would be around the movie/video games industry. Companies like ID Software, From Software, Disney (esp Star Wars). I also love Indie games and do pro-bono work for smaller developers - to support fresh creativity.

For more information on Spizak, visit his artist page!


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