The Deviousness Award is an accolade which is traditionally handed out
on the 1st of every month to one truly outstanding deviant.
The Deviousness Award for June 2012 goes to `Rahll.
Before you continue to read his interview, I would like to give a special and personal thanks to Reid for his time; despite being inhumanly busy in the past weeks he still got the time to answer these questions. So thanks man!
If this was a job interview, I’d probably just let my work speak for itself to avoid any of those awkward moments that typically arise when you’re trying to impress someone who has the ability to pay you. Here’s art, I made it, you like? On the other hand, you asked me that question for a reason and I’d probably come off as a bit of jerk if I left it at that.
I could describe myself as a lot of things, but if I had to spit it out all at once, it’d probably be something along the lines of a nerdy, sci-fi enthused concept artist with a passion for lens flares and cinema. I hail from about 30 minutes north of Detroit, Michigan and I plan on moving out west in the next couple years.
Things have been going fairly well for me professionally, but I’ve made some of the biggest leaps in my career over the past year. It started with my work helping to design the control room in The Hunger Games, which was a huge opportunity for me. After that, I got some work with some independent filmmakers as well as the Moving Picture Company in London, and now I’m working with Warner Bros. on the new Wachowski movie Jupiter Ascending and things are going great. I love the people I’ve been working with and I couldn’t be happier.
You have the dream job of many young, aspiring artists, working for big names in the entertainment industry. Do you always wanted this? What has changed since you started to this day? Do you still enjoy doing what you do now compared to when you used to do it just for fun?
I drew a lot as a kid, and I used to think about how cool it would be to work on films, but it never really seemed like an actual option. Growing up in Michigan, you’re just not subjected to the film industry much and Hollywood always seemed like some magical fantasy place that didn’t really exist.
So, I went through high school thinking I was going to be a writer, because I loved reading and writing as well as drawing. I just wanted to do something creative, and I enjoyed making things for others to enjoy. It wasn’t until near the end of high school that I started to realize I loved the visual aspect of creation far more than the written aspect, and it was my senior year that I kicked myself into high gear and decided, “Yeah, I’m gonna work on games and movies!”
Of course, it was kind of a bold statement and it didn’t happen overnight. In fact, I suppose some small part of me thought it was just a pipedream, but I had to try. It’s been a pretty tough road getting to where I am now, a lot of let downs and frustration, but I don’t regret any of it. I love my job more every day and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. The main thing that’s changed is that I now get paid to do things I’d be doing anyway, AND my work gets to be seen by millions of people all around the world. Whether it’s for my own personal pleasure, or professional, I simply love what I do.
From the initial idea to the finished product, is there anything in particular you enjoy the most about your creative process? What do you like the least?
I think my enjoyment of the process varies from painting to painting. I approach problems a little differently every time, so sometimes an enjoyable part of the process turns into an annoying part, or vice versa. I would say though that my favorite part of working on an image is somewhere in the last 20%. It’s that moment where the thing goes from being a bit of a mess and not really working completely to all of a sudden coming together and looking the way you envisioned it from the beginning. That home stretch of polishing and detailing I think is the most fun to me. There’s also the early sketching phases that are a blast, but those are sometimes as frustrating as they are fun.
The thing I’d say I like the least is anything that’s overly technical. Sometimes the cost of doing a really realistic painting is that you end up not doing a lot of actual painting. You spend time making selections, gradations, applying textures, warping stuff, etc. It can become really tedious and cumbersome, but the end result is always worth it.
I hate to say it, but I’ve become a bit of a ghost on dA over the past year or two. The time I used to have for the site is eaten up by working all the time, but I don’t love it any less than I used to. I definitely wish I had more time for the community, so I try to post work and help people out whenever I can, especially because it’s been such a huge influence on both my work and career.
My discovery and use of dA coincided heavily with my first foray into digital art, and the site, community, and artwork were all super influential on my evolution as an artist. Almost all of my early commissions came through dA in some way (in fact I still get freelance work through the site), and I’ve made a lot of incredible friends here. In fact, I met my best friend `DanLuVisiArt through the site something like 5 year ago. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.
Reid Southen is a jewel of an artist. He is an amazing person. He puts others miles before himself and he treats everyone he meets with dignity and love. I am so proud to say I know him. He more than deserves this. He always had."
Absolutely. I already have the long, luscious locks of hair. Actually, forget the whole parallel dimension thing, I could just shave my entire body and... uh... next question.
You received this month's Deviousness Award. How do you feel about this?
I was totally taken aback. I was actually in Australia visiting my girlfriend when I found out, which made the whole thing even more surreal. I never really expected to receive Deviousness, but it’s quite an honor to get that sort of recognition, especially from such a massive community. It definitely put a smile on my face all month long.