Interview with FloOd

by NdK (August 1999)

    To many of you FloOd may seem like a new name, but I bet you have all seen one or more of his pictures. He is a member of the Swedish demo group Noice. This demo group has already been active in the scene for about ten years! Noice started on the almighty C64, but are currently almost 100% PC based.
    Lately I noticed that pictures by FloOd got higher ratings at parties. At Remedy '99 for example his picture "I want U" finished 2nd. This interview should give you a better picture of this talented Swedish graphician.



    FloOd, as a prelude to the interview, can you please give us a description of yourself and your current situation.

    My real name is Johan Flood and I am 24 years old. I am a student/lab assistant at the University of Gavle/Sweden at the moment. There is two aspects of my life. On one side there is Hatha-Yoga and Meditation and on the other side is my need to express myself visually. Last year I was traveling with Noice to visit a computer party in Norway and later on I went with my former girlfriend to the Indian Himalayas to study Yoga. That is my life in a nutshell.

    Hatha-Yoga? Can you explain what that is? The only Yoga I know is that little green guy from Star Wars ;-)

    Hatha Yoga is the oldest documented form of physical exercise that has existed (over 3000 years). Hatha Yoga is the practice of various postures and movements called asanas. Important aspects of yoga is also meditation and breathing exercises.

    Thanks for the explanation. That sounds like a balanced way of living.
    Can you give us a description of your history in the scene?

    I was part of projects of making productions on both Amiga and Atari before I joined the the forces of Noice 2 1/2 years ago.

    Do you have a long history with computers?

    I started using computers when I was about 14 years old . It took like hours to save the pictures on the tape recorder . The Amiga period was really the starting point for making serious graphics attempts. When I saw computer art I got interested in traditional art forms as well. The influences of some artists were quite obvious. I did a lot of pictures during my Amiga period, both in low and med-res but I didn't spread them around. Later on I went to art schools for two years to study the more classical ways of painting. When I got back to computers I translated my brush technique to the digital world.

    It sounds to me like you knew right from the start that you wanted to do graphics. What inspired you to be graphician?

    I get a special flow when I am working with graphics. First I liked looking at demos and I bought art-books then I started to go to art-exhibitions and I went to subway stations to see graffiti. Lately I am mostly finding my motives in the surroundings. I did a picture of my friend and her sister for the Birdie-gfx-competition. I have also done some sketching in anfypaint which is really glimpses of my reality. I did a portrait of my sister in anfypaint to keep up with my drawing skills etc. Lately I have been really fascinated by faces.

    Yes I noticed that you are inspired by faces. ;-)
    Can you describe what goes on when you create a picture?

    When I was attending art courses we had living models all the time. But when it comes to painting certain face expression it's hard sometimes impossible for a model to hold that position for some hours in a row. Then it becomes necessary with pictures from different directions. doing a lot of sketches on the place is also necessary to get a feeling of the form of the object and light conditions etc. This is the ideal situation.

    I try to get the motif to look like the picture I have in my head. It's often more of an emotional picture than a realistic one. After finishing a picture I really feel like giving up painting etc. But after some rest in the bed or some meditation I am back on track again.

    I had no idea it could be such a physical and mental challenge to create graphics. Do you recognize and admire this in other peoples work? (and who are they)

    I spend a lot of time watching other peoples art. The Swedish artists Peter Dahl and Joakim Pirinen are inspiring me a lot. When it comes to graffiti I like the work of Disk ( Sweden ), Pike ( Sweden ), Talent ( Sweden ), Mode2, Daim and Toast. When it comes to the scene I like the work by Facet, Raa, Made, Anthony and Jamsam. To zoom around in computer art to see how they have done the ranges and details can be really fascinating.

    Do you want to convey a message to whomever is watching your pictures?

    I paint the motifs I feel like painting. I think there is a reason in my sub-conscious mind why I pick certain motifs. It's really hard to have a perspective on your own artwork.

    I notice the distinct technique you use to paint the faces. Can you tell more about the technique you use to create pictures?

    When I work in 2d I use different sized brushes and I paint as I would do on canvas. I start of with the biggest brushes and try to get the whole motif to work together. The big areas should be in balance with each other and there should be a flow in the picture, no disturbing details. Then I work down to the smallest brushes, there are no shortcuts.

    Lets focus on your picture "Elina och hennes syster". What was your inspiration when creating this picture?

    Elina and I was going to a disco and she likes to dance a lot so I was standing watching her for a while and I really got fascinated by the lighting at the moment. Artificial light gives a special atmosphere.

    Do you know Elina and her sister?

    Elina contacted me at the first place because she wanted some help to do a portfolio of herself for her modeling career. Later on I asked her to pose for some photos just to get a feel of how artificial lighting works. I had borrowed some light filters from a classmate and took some photos with our digital camera. The digital camera was actually a digital video camera so the still pictures were lacking detail etc. But it got me started.

    Did you start by making a sketch on paper, or is everything done on the computer? What program(s)/techniques did you use?

    I work 100% on the computer. I have like 37 steps of the Elina and her sister on my computer. You should not stare yourself blind on the latest version of different programs etc. the more you learn to draw the less you use the predefined smoothing operations etc. The best thing is really to draw everything with either digital airbrush tools or brush tools.

    How did you get the lighting effect in like this? Is there a special secret technique I don't know about?

    I suppose you mean the different colors of the light etc. It's a lot like working in 3d in 2d so to speak. It's a lot about getting a feel for the form of the object. Then I place the light sources where they will enhance the form of the object and pulling it towards the viewer. Contrasting colors are the basics of getting a stand out picture.

    How long did it take you from start to finish to create this picture?

    2 1/2 weeks.

    Are you satisfied with the result? Did it work out the way you planned it?

    Yes I wanted to get away from my fantasy palette and get towards more of a cold futuristic one. It was a step in the right direction anyway although it look a bit fantasy . After this picture I had a long period of developing graphics for the Goatage demo, which was more design and texture graphics work.

    I noticed that some of your pictures are ray traced pictures. Do you like ray tracing?

    Actually it's closer to my way of thinking than 2d. I have more and more integrated 3d in my way of working. Building up scenarios in 3d, render it, and adding it to something I have painted in 2d. My latest project "Stairway" was completely done in 3d except for the textures.

    Click here for a work in progress version of the "Stairway" picture or click the thumbnail for the final version.

    Lets change the focus of the interview. Can you tell me what you think of the scene?

    The scene for me is a meeting place for people who want to be creative in one way or the other (music, code and graphics ). I have discovered lately that there are some vegetarians in the scene also, I thought I was the only one for a while. The scene is changing all the time, I like originality and when you get surprised.

    Final question: is there something you dream of achieving before you quit the scene? Or will you be in the scene forever ;-)

    I have more of artistic freedom nowadays so I will drop in once in a while and do some phunky stuff. At the moment I am focussing on getting an interesting full-time job.

    I am really into the art of pictures. One of my dreams is to do the editing of the cover picture for Ellé ( the fashion magazine ). Working with a skillful photographer would be intresting, he taking photos and my work would be to put them together and giving them a nice finish etc.

    Thanks you for your time, and best of all in your future plans as a graphician.

    Thanks a lot for doing so much research and stuff for this interview. One of my dreams earlier was to be interviewed in this excellent art resource.

    And a big hello to all of you who keep on doing demos, intros, 3d, 2d, music and design etc.

    Visit our FloOd gallery.

    Well, that is it for the interview with FloOd. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoyed making it. If you want to get in touch with FloOd you can mail him or visit his home page

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