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Johnson Ting is a digital concept artist from Malaysia. Soon to be a graduate of the One Academy of Communication Design, Johnson is striving more and more to master the digital art medium. Taking a look through his gallery, shows that he is definitely on his way to achieving this goal.
Toonari Post (TP): How and when did you first start practicing your art (are you traditionally trained or self-taught)?
Johnson Ting (JT): I started practicing art when I was really young. I didn’t like homework so I used to doodle a lot on textbooks and exercise books. I usually ended up being punished by both my parents and my teachers. I only started to practice seriously when I was 16, when I first got my tablet from my father.
It was the first time I started making digital art and everything was really new and fresh to me. The potential of using it to create amazing stuff was just limitless. This was when I decided to really become what I’ve always wanted to be, an artist. And then I got into an art college when I was 19.
TP: What mediums do you use for your art work? Which is your favorite and why?
JT: I’ve tried different mediums, but not all; color pencils, gouache, acrylics, oils, charcoal, etc. But the one I frequently use and is also my favorite is the digital medium, Photoshop mostly. To me, digital art has endless possibilities. There are so many different ways to create art, and there are times where you need to come up with paintings/sketches quickly under a rather tight timeline, so doing it digitally could save some time and the errors can be corrected more conveniently.
But still, no matter how convenient it is, the importance of a strong foundation is always a top priority and we should always practice traditionally as well. A pen and a sketchbook are one of my best friends around.
TP: What piece of your work is your favorite and why? Which one are you most proud of why?
JT: ‘First in, Last out‘: I’m quite a fan of science fiction films and games, mainly because of Star Wars. I started watching them when I was young and I liked the genre because of the many things you can come up with, gadgets, story, characters, basically anything. So when I did this piece it was also my first time trying to actually produce a fully painted sci-fi mecha. It was fresh and I’m quite satisfied with the outcome.
‘Binds‘: Modern contemporary artists are one of my favorites. I get inspired by a lot from them, like James Jean, Audrey Kawasaki, Eric Fortune, Jon Foster, etc. Their works have always been a source of inspiration to me. So I tried to tackle something I’ve never tried before. The technique and idea was quite new to me, so it was a great experience and I kinda like how the painting turned out. I had a lot of fun doing it.
TP: When you first started did you ever hit any bumps in your art process. What were they and how did you overcome them?
JT: Yeah, a lot. There are always some hard times when you think of an idea, but you just don’t have the skills and techniques to execute them. Often, the art piece comes out nothing like you first wanted it to be like (in a bad way). This was always my main concern. Being able to think of an idea, but not being able to execute it is just torture.
It brings out a lot of frustrations. Then, through time and guidance by friends and masters, I have managed to balance the two things, technical skills and ideas. It really works well for me, not to push the balance on these two things, and always enjoy your work and the process of creating it.
TP: Who or what are your inspirations and why?
JT: My main inspirations are from games and movies. As a concept artist myself working on games and films, it’s important to explore and gain more knowledge from them. Artists like Danny Luvisi, Jeff Simpson, Dave Rapoza, Andree Wallin, etc, are also some of my inspirations. I just can’t stop being amazed by their works, especially my favorite sci-fi environment paintings.
TP: Have you ever had to deal with a situation where someone else took credit for your work? If so, what did you do to resolve it? How did this art theft make you feel?
JT: Yes, a few times, but there’s one that was really ridiculous. A teenager stole a few of my works and sold them as prints and he also sold them to a t-shirt company, which is when I was informed that my works were on the t-shirt website as an advertisement. I was quite shocked and immediately contacted the company.
They said someone had sold them the rights to print them as t-shirts and they thought that I was the art thief instead of the teenager. After some clarification and proof that I was the original artist, they took down the prints and settled the problem with the teenager himself.
TP: What is your favorite subject to sculpt/paint/draw and why?
JT: Mechanical stuff usually, mostly armor. Incorporating armor designs on a human body is quite interesting to me. The process of coming up with it is just really enjoyable. When I get to think how thing works, how the joints connect, how the gadget functions and the uses for its bearer, it’s always the most exciting subject for me to paint. Oh, and I do a lot of environment paintings as well. Creating a world from scratch is just too satisfying!
TP: You sculpt as well as do digital works, do you prefer one over the other?
JT: During my free time yes. I don’t sculpt a lot, but being able to turn a painting into a 3D physical sculpture is really an advantage. I can’t say I prefer one over the other, but I definitely love both of them. Being able to hold and touch your own character is just great. One of my colleagues is an amazing sculptor and his determination is definitely my inspiration.
Image Courtesy of rhinoting