Interview with Mermaid

by Mr Ed (May 2000)


    Hi Mermaid,

    We always start the interview with the same question. Tell us a little about yourself. Name, age, where do you live etc.

    My name is Vanja J. Utne. I'll be 24 in April 2000, I live in Norway and I'm a member of Scoopex on the Amiga, Creators on the C64,Crest on the C64, Bandwagon on the MSX and Retrocoders on the NES.

    And what do you do for a living?

    I'm a college student, studying animation in Norway. I also work part time as an illustrator/cartoonist, and sometimes I work at the local public library as a librarian.:-) Oh, and I'm doing the animations for a documentary we're selling to Norways biggest commercial TV station, TV2 :-)

    What kind of person are you?

    I'm quiet I guess... 

    Any hobbies?

    I like painting, drawing, reading, movies, music, collecting dolls, making dolls (for animation purposes) etc. Coding on the C64 and making music on the C64 and Amiga. Graphics, of course... Watching demos, playing games. Oh, and working on my homepage:-)

    Coding, music and graphics? You are a woman of many talents. Kinda like one person demo group! With the work that you do and your hobbies, where do you find the time? You must be very busy?

    Extremely busy at the moment :-/

    How did you learn coding?

    From a book about 6502 ASM for the BBC, the manual which came with the C64 and, eventually, the C64 programmers reference guide which I got from a friend. Oh, and Kranix/Creators helped me with the first fewbasic Assembler steps.

    I saw a lot of stuff about haloween on your homepage. What is that about?

    Halloween? Or my halloween page? :-)

    Utne's Halloween Homepage  

    I mean your Halloween page. If someone makes a Halloween Homepage he or she must have reason for. Or a certain attraction to it.

    PHmm...I've always liked fantasy, folklore and myths,.witches, vampires, wizards... :-) And dressing up is fun too ;-) Halloween is one of my favourite holidays (xmas being the other) and after I attended a halloween party last year I decided to do a page dedicated to it, with scans from partys etc. It also gives me an excuse to do halloween-related clipart which I enjoy very much :-) I did plan to do an xmas page as well, but ran out of time... I will update the halloween page some time before halloween 2000:-)

    How did you came up with the handle "mermaid"?

    Hmm...It just felt right, somehow.

    When did you first notice that you had a talent for drawing art? 6th grade I remember doing a drawing I was really, really pleased with, I guess that was when I first realized this might be what I wanted to do with my life. But I've always been drawing. 

    Judging from your homepage i gather that you have worked on a large variety of computers. Could you tells us your history with computers? What was your first computer etc...?

    My first computer was a Commodore 64 which I bought because most my friends and relatives had that computer, which made it the obvious choice: Easy access to software and help :-) That was back in 1986.My next computer was an Amiga 500 which I bought in 1991. Over the next few years I got an Atari ST (which I regrettably sold), a Vic20, C128, C128d, Sony HitBit MSX-1 and various other Amiga models. My favourite computers are my C128d, my A1200 and my HitBit :-)

    When and how did you first get in contact with the scene? 

    I got some demos from a friend of mine (3 years older) who, it turned out, was a demo coder :-) I loved the demos, wild effects and extremely cool music, the graphics were stunning too. When I went to highschool I met a few people who were in the scene, C64 and Amiga. I then joined Creators on the Commodore 64.

    And where did you go from there?

    I was a member of various unknown Amiga groups. In 1998 I joined Sonic Dreams for a brief period on the C64. Earlier that year, after finding an MSX computerand searching for MSX demogroups on the web, I contacted Bandwagon and asked if I could join them,which I could, and did :-) In early 1999 I was offered to join Crest on the C64, and I also asked the guys in Scoopex if they needed a graphician - which they did -and they let me join.

    What demos and productions have you worked on?

    C64: Too many to mention...demos, games, diskmags etc.
    Amiga: a few intros, some games and a demo.
    MSX: One demo so far :-)
    PC: A demo from Talent, a demo from Creators, a few 64k intros from Bandwagon. 

    For the people who are interested in your work, could you name a few of these demos?

    C64: DeusExMachina, PeaceLuv101%, Aquarium, Xmas-98...

    The MSX and PC demos from bandwagon are available from Bandwagon's web site. The C64 demos will eventually be found at my web site, as will the Amiga demos I manage to find...

    Which one springs out in your mind? 

    Aquarium on the C64 because it was my first "big" solo C64 demo. One file, 3-4 parts, and I did all the work:-)

    Did you ever entered a party Compo? If so, which one(s)?

    You mean graphics compos? the followingparties: Convention 1999, Oblivion 1998, Convention 1997, Convention 1996, Dota'95, 
    ASM'94 (local, not in Finland), ASM'93 (local, not in Finland).

    I also took part in the c64 gfx competition at MekkaSym2000.

    Monsters finished 7th.
    You were present?

    No...I wasn't present! I just contributed a picture to the C64 graphics compo and took part in Crest's demo. In fact I spent most of the easter in bed with a cold:-/

    Hope you are feeling better?! How is it to be a female in the a mostly male scene?

    Hmm. There aren't as many nude females in demos as there used to be, I think, which is nice. I suppose there are a few advantages to being a female scener,
    and a few disadvantages as well.

    Could you tell me some of the advantages and disadvantages?

    Advantages: People tend to treat you nicely :-) And you certainly get a lot of attention.

    Disadvantages: Some people don't treat you nice at all. And attention isn't always a good thing. There's also a myth that female sceners are not very good
    looking. Some people (very few I guess) judge females only by their looks, luckally there are also people out there who judge you by what you do and not just by the cup size of your bra and things like that. Also there are those who assume that because you're a girl you don't know anything about the scene and computers...

    What programs do you use for creating your picture’s? Probably lots because you have worked on so many type’s of computer. :) 

    Amiga: DeLuxe Paint 4.4 AGA and 5.
    C64: Zoomatic by Olav "Omega Supreme" Mørkrid of Panoramic Designs.

    How do you start when creating a picture? Do you first draw stuff on paper or do you draw directly via a computer?

    Most of the time I began directly on the computer, but sometimes (ie. when doing stuff for games) I start by doing paper sketches.

    And where do you go from there?

    Months of sweath, tears and grinding teeth :-) Or a few hours of frantic work. It all depends.

    Where do you get your inspiration from?

    Comics, photos, movies, books, life, memories... 

    What do you find the most difficult to draw?

    Cars, aeroplanes, spaceships, realistic humananatomy...

    What do you find the most easiest to draw?

    Human faces, cartoony stuff...

    Do you only draw on computer or do you also paint?

     I paint, I do comics, I do illustrations... I painted a sign for a shop once..

    You wouldn't have a picture of that would you? :)

    No, I'm afraid I don't :-( I will scan some of my other paintings though.

    Can't wait to see those. Which one of your pics are you most pleased about?

    Roxx               Valley   
    Amiga: ROXX                                                                        MSX: Valley.

    And C64: Speed (not released yet) 

    Which pics are you not pleased about?

    My old C64 pics...

    What is your favourite demo?

    C64: That's the way it is (SCOOP)
    Amiga: any Exploder/EXTREME 4k intro...AMAZING!!! 

    Who is your favourite scene-artist?

    C64: Electric/Extend
    Amiga: Cyclone/Abyss, Leunam/Network, Acryl/Scoopex

    And what is your favourite picture (not including you’re own work).

    Hmmm...I don't think I have a favourite picture actually.

    What is your point of view on scanning/retouching debate?

    Scanning is a crime against mankind. End of story.

    What projects are you currently working on?

    An Amiga slideshow, an Amiga music collection, an Amiga game, a few C64 games, a few C64 demos and music collections, an MSX-1 demo, and some NES stuff...

    A mermaid slideshow??? Cool!! Could you tell us more What's it gonna be called? Any specs? :)

    Hm :-) You'll have to wait and see...

    And what are your plans for the future?

    To port all my favourite Amiga games to the C64 ;-) (Eye Of The Beholder, Monkey Island I & II, Simon the Sorcerer etc. etc.) 

    Monkey island on the C64? Your kidding right?

    Bah. It's possible, I tell you. Porting Lemmings was much harder, I'm sure, and they did that.

    Point taken. :) If you could give beginning artist a point of advice, what would it be?

    Don't be afraid to experiment. And please, no more Boris Vallejo copies, no matterhow good they are. 

    Anything you would like to say to the readers? Any hello’s?

    Hello to all at #c64, #Amigascne, #Amigano, #sid64,all in Bandwagon, Retrocoders, Scoopex, Creators and Crest :-)

    Thank you for your time Mermaid and i wish you all the best in the near future.

    Thank you :-)


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