surname: Straechav (not my real name)
year of birth: 1981
Q1: When did you start making art?
I think I was about fifteen when I started. I never treated my art very seriously and I did only about dozen pieces a year. But if you want to really know when I got serious about art, it was about 2011 or so that I resigned myself to the fact that I am an Horror Artist, and just went to town with it. Early next year I did “Regurgitate” which won the Horror category Gold for Infected By Art book in both audience and judge votings. Later I got a sudden stroke and lost vision on my right side in both of my eyes. Initially I was afraid I couldn’t paint anymore, but once that I proved wrong I kept at it. Even after I got another stroke this year which partially paralyzed my right side for a time. And yes, I’m right handed. And yes, that sucked.
Q2: What does inspire you?
I can’t say I know. I just suddenly get these crazy ideas in my head, and it’s usually while I am doing something that let’s my mind wander. You could say that several artists inspire me to try to be like them, but that’s not the same as direct source of inspiration. I’ve never looked at a piece of art or anything and thought, “Oh, that’s so inspiring”. The closest I’ve got is “That’s a great idea, I wish I had come up with that”.
Q3: What are your techniques?
I started with drawing pencil like everyone else, then I moved to pixel-by-pixel art on computer to help my friend’s little game projects to move forwards. Then I discovered photoshop (v3.0.3) and went crazy with layers, after that I bought a wacom tablet and learned digital painting which ended up being my main technique for years. Then I did some learning on Acrylics/Watercolors. Once I got my first stroke, I first did a lot of digital painting but I am now much more interested and into 3D sculpting and 3D art. There’s enormous potential to do some really crazy things there.
So, right now my technique is to do a 3D sculpture, take it to Cinema4D and do all the crazy stuff I want, render it, and then digitally paint on top of it to fix all the issues. I can take a lot of shortcuts because I can just say “I’ll paint on top of that” if something doesn’t look right. I’m not really a true 3D artist, I merely consider it a tool to help the final product, not actually a way to create the final product.
Q4: What is the main idea or feeling behind your works?
I usually leave dissecting my art to other people. People say there’s a lot of mythological or religious overtones to my pieces, but that’s their interpretation. I am a Taoist so I don’t really subscribe to such things. I avoid analyzing my art or myself too much, I don’t think there’s anything to be gained from it. But let’s just say that whatever message you get from my pieces, it probably should be dark.
Q5: What is the main color of your art and why?
It used to be orange, for some reason. Or the color of sand and rust, really. These days I try to vary each image and their color schemes at least some. I think blue highlights or lights and overall muted brownish tone tend to come up pretty often along with yellow highlights.
Q6: What would you improve about your work and why?
I’d like it to be more “painterly”. The 3D has given me some very cool ideas and created some spectacular pieces (in my opinion) but it has definitely robbed my pieces the expressiveness of brushstrokes.
I also would like to make my sculptures more expressive than they are right now. The pieces of Beth Cavener Stichter come to mind how the surface of the sculpture can really sell the piece. Right now, I feel my pieces are a bit too sterile.
Q7: Do you have any project for the future?
As always, I want to go forwards in experimenting and combining techniques (and technology). My next overall goal is to add Acrylics/Watercolor in to my current workflow, after that I don’t know. Maybe I’ll move away from 3D once I am good enough at it.
Q8: Describe yourself with 3 words capturing the essence of straechav.
Perfectionist, Funny, Taoist.
Q9: Show us (link) your very first work. Describe it from techniques till feelings.
Unfortunately, I don’t keep my older pieces and I’ve had several hard drive crashes. All my old physical pieces are either given away or thrown to trash. I am not much for sentimentality. The oldest I could found was from 2006 called Heartache: HERE
The title should tell you all, and it’s pretty obvious that back then I was still enamored with layer effects and textures in Photoshop even with my digital painting being the focus.
Q10: What did change from your first work till now?
Considering my first pieces were pencil sketches and later on pixel-by-pixel art for computer games… A lot. Techniques. Tools. Style. Purpose. Possibly not the colors but I wouldn’t know.
Q11: What is art for you? Escaping from reality or the essence of life?
I don’t know. I could die tomorrow. I’ve hard two strokes within a year without doctors having a good explanation for it. So I feel like I am living under a deadline. I can’t explain why, but I have this urge to get better in art, as fast as possible. Create your own interpretations from that and from my art. You’ll probably hit closer to the mark than I.