(Look, rain in Seattle!)
No pictures of the last day, sorry to say. The whole trip was a bit of a whirlwind, but a fantastic one. Now that I have caught my breath I’ll explain the event a bit more.
Massive Black / ConceptArt.org have thrown a number of these workshops over the past few years. This is the first one that I caught and now I’m bemoaning the fact I have missed the earlier editions. 500 attendees + enough instructors to overspill a decent sized stage = a great time!
They had two giant rooms set up. The ground floor had a large presentation screen surrounded by over a dozen smaller screens. Game designers, artists, illustrators, would give presentations throughout the day while three to twelve digital demos where going on simultaneously. Attendees could sit and watch the presentation, wander around and watch the demos while keeping their ears open to the speakers, or plug in their own computers and listen while they worked and took notes.
Upstairs was the traditional room. Again, there where stations in every corner with at least three models posing at any one time. Groups gathered around the instructors and watched, asked questions, and worked on their own paintings. Some working from the models, others from reference that they brought.
The loose structure seemed to most benefit the focused and self-motivated, which is fine since anyone that Isn’t focused and self motivated wont make it in the arts. There was so much going on at any one time, the trick was being able to settle down and absorb as much as possible without stressing about what you are missing. It took me a day or so to realize that the instructors were working so much throughout the weekend that you’d eventually find time to check out what everyone was doing.
The atmosphere was fantastic, vibrant and giving. I kept thinking how brave these guys are. Art is a solitary activity and usually attracts those that are most comfortable working in private. And yet, here they were, in front of huge crowds banging out work, sharing sketchbooks, helping each other out. Everything from high school students to old pros working next to each other.
The weekend was capped by a job fair on Day 4 - art directors and artists from various print and video game companies go through portfolios. Some attendees were still in school, just looking for some advice and direction, others were working professionals looking for freelance and full time positions.
It’s impossible to pick out highlights from the weekend but I was particularly taken by watching Jason Manley gave a kick-ass color theory class that also doubled as an art history lesson. The whole time, Jason Chan and Andrew Jones were working on the screens either side of him. It was amazing to see students connect the direct link from 19th century oil painting to 21st century digital painting.
Thank you to Massive Black for putting this event on and for inviting me out there. And thank you to everyone that took the time, money, and guts to show up and play.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
(Look, rain in Seattle!)