Interview with Danny

    by tobiasf


    First out is the big question: Why have you chosen to leave the demo scene?

    Okay, I don't feel like having to explain this time after time so that everybody will understand, so I'll explain it plain and simple.. the whole story, Let me stress out that this is not an impulsive act (like I might be known for). I've been running around with plans to stop for a while atleast. The past few months I felt more and more enthousiasm for the scene draining from me. Optimistic as I am, I didn't think that this would lead to such a drastical decision.
    But recently in quite a short period of time (perhaps only a few weeks) I became too aware of the direction that a large part of the scene is heading to.

    When I started out in the scene back in 1992, the whole scanning bussiness wasnt even an issue. Hardly anyone had even heard of that form of technology. Nowadays it seems the other way around. Where there's competition, there's bad, average, good, better, best, also in the demo scene.
    As the scene-pictures in general became better and better, it became harder for the any artist in general to keep up and stay on top. The lesser artists dissapeared out of the charts or just kept releasing pictures of lesser quality...
    At the same time however the Software and Hardware industry kept making improvements too. Better art programs were made but more importantly scanners and digitizer prizes dropped way down to the point where the average financial income could afford them. Therefor people started buying them. Afterall, what better way is there to show your friends your holliday snaps, and oh boy, isn't it fun to scan in photo's of people and mess around with them, giving them giant mustaches and pimpled faces. Joy all around.
    But there's always the smart ones amongst the less talented artists struggling to keep up (or perhaps even just starting out in the tough world of the graphics scene). They were thinking "boy, I whish I could draw like that.. it almost looks like a photograph..... Hang on a second... photograph, scanner... I HAVE A CUNNING PLAN!! I'll just scan in some bits and pieces of photos, paste them together and retouch it here and there, sign it and people will think I have drawn it. I could be famous.. a V.I.S., my name high in the charts..".
    Ofcourse the very first attempts were crude and anyone could spot the diffirence. However the temptation of wanting to become a respected artist, or in some cases the sheer lazyness of other people (even of some otherwise quite capeable artists (you know who you are)) seemed too great to ignore. Demos started using scanned art, gfx competitions started showing scanned art, even demo-groups based all of their visuals on scanned-in images. Calling it a new form of design.
    A large part of the scene however could not respect this easy way of producing imagery, and a lot of critizism was aired in the direction of the offenders. The offenders in their turn initially started coming up with lies (claiming they were honest artists, pixeling the whole lot). As the pressure continued to increase, calling for even better and more original art, the lies turned into cleverly constructed excuses that bended the rules and definitions the art scene had created on it's evolutionary path. Keep saying those excuses long enough, and their exceptance will gain ground. And so they did.
    And thus the scene got devided into three areas, those who had accepted the use of digital fakery, those who opposed to it, and those who just did not care eitherway.
    There only remains one step to mention to get to the point where we are now at the time that I write this. (Which is the first month of 1998) There are quite a number of artists (even some famous ones that get much respect) that have practised so long on making a scanned image look hand drawn that their lame efforts become almost undetectable. There is almost no way of telling if the image is created through blood sweat and tears or the powers of modern day technology. Usually an artist falsely accused of scanning could prove his innocence by showing the 'work in progress' steps he had saved along the way. Now there are groups of scanning people that backtrack their picture and create in between steps from a retouched scan. Erasing certain parts to black, drawn a sketch line here and there, you get the point. If people go to such lengths to cover up their lies to steal away the respect people have from honest artists, then the fun for me in the scene is over.
    Another thing is that for many people the use of a scanner has become so accepted that they see absolutely nothing wrong with the use of it. Often their opinions is that art can be created in any way. This is certainly true and I won't argue with that. But what I can't get out of my mind is that this new media is so popular with people that have little or no talent for drawing in the first place. For me art is about two things: 1- The feeling of it. Making art is just a very relaxing and (to me) rewarding feeling. And also a way to express your feelings. And 2- The challenge of competing with other artists from your genre. The challenge of trying to be one of the best, to create the ultimate picture.
    Art becomes interesting when you can combine those two things succesfully. I have yet to see a scan+retouch picture in the scene that managed to capture those two things succesfully together. If you happen to go and venture into new areas of creating art, fine, but do it with honesty and determination to make something special of the medium. Otherwise don't bother, cos you won't stand out of the bland and grey majority. Art is something special, a bland and grey majority isn't! Scanning in photos of people and doing some weird things here and there and run some filters over it may feel good, and allow you to express your feelings, but it isn't special, it doenst take determination, anyone can do it that way.
    Scanning in photos and draw on top of them, or retouch it into a handdrawn look and claim you drew it MIGHT require a LITTLE form of talent, but it isn't honest, and could therefor not feel good. You only fool yourself in the end.
    All this, that I have just desribed is so clear to me and somehow it seems to be so UNclear to the scene. There is so much debate going on about this, so much misunderstanding, so much lying, cheating and basically downright crap pictures being made, that this outweighs the fun and good things there are about the scene. I can't bring myself to spend time drawing graphics for a purpose that has lost it's own head.

    What about the scene would you change if you had the chance?

    If people agree with what I have just stated, then perhaps they should take notice and change the scene. I have no intensions to try and change the scene other than by trying to open up some eyes by awnsering your questions.

    I gather you still work at Eidos. How's it going? What project(s) are you currently working on, (or is that a secret)?

    Yes, I am. At the moment I'm learning to use 3DS-Max. I'm not particularly on any game project. However I recently finished a large scale poster drawing of Lara Croft (the female character from the famous Tomb Raider games) utilizing 2D drawing techniques and 3D rendering techniques. However currently I have my sights set on creating the same level of realism in 3D animations as I do in my 2D work.

    Where are you going from here? What are your plans for the future?

    I plan to release my work in the professional bussiness, where, when and what exactly I'm not quite sure..

    Is there anything else you would like to say?

    I'd like to state that there still are a lot of good things about the scene. Like friendship for instance. I'll still be reachable on IRC once and a while (if you can find me that is :) to spend quality chatting time with my friends and EX-TBL groupmates. I hope you all enjoyed the graphics.. :)


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