Sometimes I have the pleasure of following an artist as they grow and get to know them a bit during the process. Kiren is one of those artists. He is making some awesome work right now and the future is certainly bright at the end of the dark tunnel that he is creating.
How did you get your first paying art job?
I used to play in bands, which I usually created the artwork for. The bands we gigged with wanted to know who did our artwork. The rest is history.
Have you always worked in your current style and if not how did you work before?
It’s evolved over the years but my overall style hasn’t changed that much.I think I’ve just gotten better at translating my ideas. My stuff is definitely more polished and my attention to detail has increased.
Who are your artistic influences?
Hugh Syme and Derek Riggs were huge for me. Especially Hugh Syme, being one of the pioneers in photo manipulation, his stuff was just mind blowing. Then there’s Travis Smith, who probably is the reason I do what I do right now.
Tell us about your studio space?
I recently moved into a bigger house and made one of the extra rooms a studio space. I have some books and all of my cds displayed for inspiration. I also I have a Kylo Ren helmet I received from a buddy of mine, Kylo is my spirit animal ha ha.
It’s definitely a work in progress but for the time being, it’s a comfortable area for me to focus and get work done.
Take us through a typical day.
Well, I have a day job Monday through Friday, so I’ll sketch some ideas at work, then bring them home and flesh it out on the computer at night. Other times, I’ll work on stuff right at the office if there is some downtime.
How do you create your work? Take us through the process from concept to final.
All my stuff starts off as an idea, then I do a rough drawing in my sketch book so I don’t forget. Next, I’ll research the best way to bring my vision to life, be it 3D renders, stock, etc. Once everything is on screen, I start to experiment. The beginning stages on the computer are the toughest for me, but once I pass a certain point in the progress, I start to really enjoy it.
What materials do you use? How much if any is done on the computer?
All of my work is done using the computer. Photoshop and most recently Daz Studio, have been my go to when it comes to software. I also have a Wacom Intuos5 tablet which really helps me with blending, masking and painting shadows. I work with textures too, be it from painting on paper or just taking pictures of random things.
Do you use reference materials or does all of it come from your head?
Since I do photo manipulation, I’m assuming reference material would be photos and 3D renders? In that case, yes.
Do the bands give you any direction?
9 times out of 10 that is the case but there are times when they let me go wild and come up with the artwork.
Do you listen the band’s music when you work on their project?
When it’s available I do but I usually just listen to my Spotify library, iTunes, etc.
Do you have any advice for artist’s who wish to do artwork for bands?Be patient, don’t sell yourself short, have the ability to say no, try to set trends not follow them, be punctual, be professional and have fun!
What are you currently working on?
Nothing at the moment but I’m always creating artwork. I do a lot of personal work that is available for purchase through my website
Have you ever turned down a project?
I actually had to turn down a job recently because it went against my own personal beliefs and felt it would affect my business down the road. Always listen to your gut.
Do you have any dream projects?
Oh yes, most of the bands I listen to are potential dream jobs ha ha. I think doing a cover for King Diamond or Fates Warning would be awesome, though.
What are your favorite bands of all time and what bands are you listening to right now?Metallica, Iron Maiden, Katatonia, Fates Warning, Paradise Lost and many more. I’ve been digging Steven Wilson’s ‘Hand. Cannot. Erase.’ lately as well as Dark Tranquility’s new one ‘Atoma’.
Who would you like to see featured on MBA?
The madman behind Rush’s artwork: Hugh Syme!