One of the first digital neo-surrealist artists.
1962- born on the 14th of May in Omsk, USSR
1979- graduated from a special School of Fine and Applied Arts
1985- graduated from the State University with a BFA(Hons) and BDes(Hons) and started experimenting with modern surrealism and photo realism techniques
1987 -moved to Saint Petersburg where he had been involved in Free Artist Fellowship movement and famous "Pushkinskaya-10" art establishment
1989- had his first international exhibition at Mistral gallery, London presenting neo surrealistic paintings and drawings
1989-1995 -had been involved in various group and personal, domestic and international exhibitions, including but not limited to the following galleries: Artnova, Stockholm, Cinema House, Art-Manege, Saint-Petersburg and Artson, Helsinki, ect.
1995- moved to Toronto, Canada, where he studied digital art and multimedia design and transformed his artistic carrier from traditional fine art to computer digital art
2000- joined IBM Corporation as a lead new-media specialist
2000-present – participates in divers exhibitions such as Toronto Art Expo, Artfocus – Canada’s largest indoor art event, Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition – TOAE, Contemporary Art London New York Toronto Art Fair, International Art Exhibition
George Grie’s interview I have received numerous responses from visitors all around the world since I started this website. I am grateful for your interest in my work and sensitivity revealed in your letters. Many of you have asked about my background education and my thoughts on surrealistic concepts. I hope these answers will be of assistance to you in understanding my viewpoint, work, and philosophy behind it.
1. Where do you draw inspiration for your art?
a. I’m not able to determine the exact sources of the incoming inspiration. It seems that the muse comes and goes by itself without my involvement. An inspirational impact could be drawn from almost anything: music, movie, advertisement, etc., something that has a strong visual, philosophical, or emotional message. The ideas are in the air, they are all over the place. Although, there is one proven source that triggers an inspirational reaction most often, that is other artists’ artworks. Usually, this type of inspiration urges me to create something regardless on the subject matter of the artwork. Some old ideas that I keep at the back of my mind, rush to me with the fresh force.
2. From concept to final piece, how long does an average piece of art take to create?
a. All pieces are different and it is difficult to tell how long it takes to create an average piece. Nevertheless, I prefer to spend no more than a week for one image, trying to keep it fresh while the inspirational impact is still strong. Otherwise, I lose the original meaning and reason of the image creation and move on to something else. That is why some of my works are not as detailed and sophisticated as they could be.
3. What software do you use to create your pieces?
a. I use two main applications for the most of my images, 3ds max and Adobe Photoshop. 3ds max is the major tool for setting up any of the image scenes, where I import live forms from Poser and Daz studio, background skies or landscapes from Terragen and MojoWorld and extras from Zbrush and CreatureCreator.
4. What role does photo-editing software, such as Photoshop play in your art?
a. As long as I’m producing two-dimensional art Photoshop remains the most imperative production tool. All closing touches such as hue and saturation adjustments, removing small imperfections, or global color balance changes are done with CS Photoshop.
5. Your pieces all seem to carry this feeling of breath-taking awe, given their size and complexity, have you ever considered using these 3D scenes for animation?
a. Oh yes! What artist doesn’t dream of setting alive his images? We all enjoy spectacular graphic effects of some recent motion pictures. 3D graphic animations literally revolutionized modern cinematograph. Regrettably, building a full-scale 3D scene might require an enormous amount of time and resources that I do not have. Besides, writing a storyboard involves a different type of creative abilities that I might not possess.
6. Some artists begin with an exact idea in their mind’s eye and simply replicate it, others begin with an overlaying idea and allow it to evolve as the piece is created, how do you generate the concepts for your pieces?
a. Generating a concept does not take much time. Typically, future concepts come as an indistinct vision of something interesting, something surprising and challenging to create to. The first mental image transforms greatly at the end. Every so often, I am amused to see the unpredictable results of my original ideas. As soon as I start working with a picture, it seems that the picture begins living a separate life. By telling me which way to go, which part of it should be emphasized and what additional elements it might require the picture generates itself.
7. Along with each piece, you provide a short description of it, in your mind is there a more evolved story that has been created as you build the piece.
a. I prefer not to force my picture interpretation or push my philosophical opinion about it on viewers. I only hint them by image titles and a short description. Often, descriptions consist of encyclopedic quotes that have the same subject as the image title. I favor viewers being absolutely free to interpret or translate my artwork content the way that is close to them only. My views or even existence should not bother you. It is actually, entirely your job to build picture concepts based on your personal knowledge, sensitivity, preferences, and world perception. In the majority of my artworks, I try to merge real world images with subconscious emotions and philosophical thoughts. Many of my creations are similar to mental puzzles where viewers can take a trip from one point to the very end by analyzing symbolic objects laying around. Occasionally, images’ subject matter is unclear when the path is hidden under layers of mutually excepted items. Sometimes, a picture could appear almost abstract and meaningless but there is always something for you to discover.
8. If you could place the meaning of your art into one word what would that word be?
9. In your experience, what is more difficult, creating a concept or bringing it to life?
a. I depict existing reality, and yet I create my own world, so real but non-existent. By translating the personal concepts into the language of art, I try to find the possible answers to major questions of being: birth, death, and life. Creating an idea and transforming it into reality is a crucial process of any image development. The poor concept, even perfectly executed, still makes a pitiable, tasteless artwork. For that reason, the most vital component of the great picture is a concept. The mix of a talent to create a concept and the skill to deliver it are two main parts of creating a credible artwork. I do not start making an image unless I have a great concept, or at least I think that it is great. I do not create concepts "per se" they come to me somehow. Bringing them to life might be a very long and painful process. It requires tons of technical knowledge, patience, and dedication.
10. At a creative level, how does digital art compare to creating classical art?
a. The power of a good artwork comes from its soul no matter if this soul is classical or digital art. Great picture is alive and talks to viewers in a captivating language of feelings. The difference between a classical and digital creation resembles the difference between using a keyboard and a pen for writing. Both of them are modern communication tools. With a keyboard, writing is accurate and fast, mistakes can be corrected quickly, and writhing styles can be changed right away. When using a pen we create writing, which bears our "physical presents" and reflects our personality. It is unique. From the other hand, we see most of artworks in books or online, where the vital "unique" difference is nonexistent. Digital imaging has almost no limitations. The only limit is an imagination of the person who uses it. It’s relatively easy to use, and it is a very convenient tool to produce a good art. Classical art is more personal and only one of a kind by nature. Artists have to make their own choice. I made mine.
11. Many of your pieces feature mystical or mythological creations, what sort of research is involved before creating such a piece?
a. The image concept comes from knowledge and philosophical opinion that I already have. It might sound strange, but most of my research is done at the end of an image creation, when I start looking for the appropriate image title. The majority of the researches are based on various encyclopedia subjects; sometimes I go deeper and read articles or books related to the theme that I am interested in.
12. In your opinion, what are the most common mistakes aspiring artists seem to make?
a. There are many very talented and professionally skilled 3d artists, but some of them have very obvious lack of knowledge in fine art and fine art history. As a result, a perfectly looking, professionally executed artworks suffer from lack of juxtaposition balance, color moderation, and choice of symbiotic elements.
Others create tons of mediocre, vulgar, or pretentious bad taste artworks in order to distribute and sell them quickly. It is very dangerous practice for young artists, because it is bad enough that they encourage public’s bad taste, but they also kill creativity and something special that each artist has inside.
13. Is there any advice you can pass on to any young digital artists?
a. Do not afraid to look unparallel, you never know where it might lead you. The beauty of art is that it could be anything as long as it touches somebody’s soul.
George Grie April 20, 2008
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