What are today your favorite artists and sources of inspiration ?
This is a difficult question. There are too many to mention. I will say as of 2012, the CG artist I’m working with on a new project is Alex Ruiz. However, some artists that I think are timeless inspirations for me are Linda Bergkvist, Nykolai Aleksander, Kirsi Solonen, Martin Bland, Alex Ruiz, Danone Rolle, etc. The thing I love most about their work is that they create worlds within worlds and my imagination runs wild, wondering what it would be like to live in those made up landscapes and to talk to those characters, or atleast, hide in the forest and watch them. I’m inspired by mythologies, lore and landscapes. I love new imaginary cultures and creatures. I love when I can look at a painting and I feel something shared or unique. There are paintings that are technically awesome, but have no emotion, and then there are those with some flaws, but the feeling still truly unfolds before my eyes and heart.
Do you think the industry has entered a new level in terms of creativity and how do you think music can help to develop a new area for art ?
Yes, with the creation of more portable devices (Notebooks, Netbooks, Ultrabooks, Tablets, etc.) that have faster processors and more space, we can create art on the go, while we travel and experience the world. This is an exciting renaissance feeling of art technology in music and visuals (cg, video, postfx, etc.) You don’t have to have a million dollars to make highly sophisticated art and music anymore. I think my series helped to break new ground in exploring the relationships between digital music and digital visual art. Several universities and art schools now consider my project required study in their courses, which is pretty surreal! I would have never thought something like that would happen. I was just creating to express myself and to share. But I guess the most groundbreaking stuff happens by accident. I think over the years with gallery exhibits incorporating music, projections, light shows, and animation, that events are now becoming a piece of art itself! Imagine that! You don’t want to tear down the event, when you are done because it was an environment brought to life with art and music in a new interactive way, that you want to remember it forever.
“Justin’s ability to connect instantly with his audience through music and visuals makes him a natural choice as a credible and engaging spokesperson or brand ambassador. He is highly creative and is able to create rich landscapes, connecting dots between sight and sound, and invoking a wide range of emotions through his works. His technical acumen allows him to work effectively with technology and provide insights and feedback to developers and designers. Truly a pleasure to work with!”
- Mike Fard, CMG, Intel
Amon Tobin had released in the past Chaos Theory an album dedicated to a game. What do you think of such an experience ?
So many talented video game and electronica composers around the world, doing fascinating and epic things with digital tools. The landscape is changing. There was a time when games were just to pass the time, but now are seen as pieces of art in some cases and a lifestyle in others. Music albums dedicated to video games are a great way to re-explore themes and feelings. Almost nostalgic and spiritual in some cases. To remind you where you’ve been and give you a clue of where you’re going next.
I created a full soundtrack for an iOS game called “Herbert: The Misanthropical Fly”, and then put together a team of award winning and respected remixers and artists and created a follow-up remix album for it. Both became quite a success. Even got me a nomination in some video game music awards in 2011. Which was unexpected. Just trying something new, builds those kinds of new possibilities. I think composers and sound designers should keep doing things like that!
What’s your favorite game and the one you would like to score if you had the opportunity?
This question is not fair!! J I think some of my all-time favorite games were from Black Isle Studios. Including Icewind Dale, Baldur’s Gate and Fallout series. I would have loved to work on games like that. I’ve got a little Mark Morgan, Jeremy Soule and Michael Hoenig in my heart, waiting for the chance to work on an epic beautiful score for some exciting RPG adventure. I am lucky enough to count them as friends. Mad respect goes out to each of them for continuing to inspire me.
Can you give us your vision of the future for the CG Industry and artists ?
We’re living in a great world where CG, digital design has taken over the planet. So many talented artists in the world who can’t afford paints and canvases or sculpting tools can create art with computers and technology. The computer revolution continues to change the world, faster and faster. There are so many stories that would not have been able to be told if it wasn’t for the exciting tools we have available to us today. I’m not sure I would have become a composer without technology. I’m not sure what the future will bring, but I know as artists we’ll all adapt and it will be a great story to share. I want to see more artist collaborations in my future.
As an artist how would you define your art ?
I think I’m an ethereal artist in a way. I build ambience and character and transport listeners to a different place. I’m an organic composer, and my songs or tracks or more like “organisms” as they have many layers and grow on the listener over time. There is always something new to listen to in the depth of the many layers. I think I’m out of my time a bit. I’ve got romantic/Victorian sensibilities, but I’ve got my ear to the underground, eye to the sky, at all times. I help pioneer new directions for myself and other artists.
Interview by Patrice Leymarie and Sébastien Tafani.