An Interview with Artist Jarlan Perez
We follow a lot of artists on the Fists of Heaven Twitter, so we’re often coming across new art and artists, which is how we found Jarlan. Jarlan’s ‘more real than real’ rendering of a robot in the desert prompted me to contact him for an interview. Lucky for me, he replied, so here we go!
How long have you been an artist and what got you started?
I don’t know if I can recall the exact point which lead me down the path to becoming an artist, I remember always having a strong desire to make things from a very young age.
Pursuing 3D art and game development as a career choice, on the other hand, I would have to give that credit to Hideo Kojima. I remember picking up Metal Gear Solid for the PSX when I was 10 years old and being amazed by the rich storytelling, the beautiful cinematics, the complex character dynamics and interactions, it was like nothing I’ve ever seen before at the time. My brothers and I played so many times over that at one point we were able to recite the game word for word. At the time I had no idea that you could grow to up and do that for a living, but I know I wanted to be like him.
I got my hand on some design tools like Photoshop elements and RPG Maker at an early age and started my endless learning quest that I continue to pursue to this day and for the rest of my career. We never stop learning and should never be afraid of change or something new.
What are your tools of the trade?
I mostly use 3ds Max, Unreal Engine 4, and Photoshop for my work. Other tools of the trade are Quixel Suite, Keyshot, and I’ve recently began to learn Octane Render.
What are some of your inspirations?
Of course the legends, Syd Mead and Moebius. Their work in general is a staple to our industry. Great directors like Ridley Scott, Neill Blomkamp, Chris Nolan, and James Cameron really know how to take a spark of an idea and make it magical. As I try to bring a little bit more story telling into my art I look to masters like them. The art community is probably one of my biggest inspirations. They are always there to motivate and inspire and if there’s one thing that really inspires me, it’s seeing great work.
I’m a sucker for anything Sci-Fi. I like to think of ordinary subjects and settings and reimagine them as a sci-fi environment. Scavenging units, aerial surveillance, marketplaces, farming, garbage collection, those are all things most people will easily know and understand and in some way identify with. So another form of inspiration is life itself and all the wonders that we have around us. For better or worse I feel like you can always find something positive, inspirational, or at the very least, an art piece in most situations. Now whether or not time permits the creation of said piece is a whole other story.
Do you have any lore behind your works, or just the art?
Absolutely! There is not a piece that I release that doesn’t have a story behind it. I usually only write a small snippet of information for each piece as I enjoy when people create and find their own meaning to it. That’s one of the beauties of art, you can show the same piece to a group of people and get a unique meaning from each one. People like to bring themselves into art, to be part of it, to take some of their own life experiences and using them to interpret an image. That alone can make the experience very personal and engaging.
Are there any notable projects you’ve worked on that you’d like to share?
Due to the nature of my current work most of the work that I do for my current employer will most likely never be seen by the public. But I can say that I’ve worked various simulations, models and real time environments for high performing jets, aircraft carriers, ground units, and now more recently, helicopters.
All the work that is publicly available are things that I’ve worked on my spare time. Recently I started getting more and more in VR development and recreated Ash’s room from Pokemon as a VR experience.
I learned quite a bit from this project and as a big fan of the franchise, I made sure to include lots of little details in there. I won’t go on too much about because that’s another large topic but the experience is available for free for anyone with an HTC vive or and Oculus Touch. Take a look here: https://gumroad.com/l/RExH
Any advice for aspiring artists?
One of the biggest pieces of advice is to stay hungry, take chances, know your worth, and stay positive.
Stay Hungry: Our industry is a living entity which is constantly changing, adapting, and evolving. You have to be willing to change and adapt with it if you’re playing the long term game. Be amazed, always wonder, and stay hungry for knowledge.
Take Chances: Often times we stay in our safe zone because it’s comfortable and we know what lies within. Stepping away from that can be a very scary experience but those who innovate, those who define eras, those who we aspire to be are the ones who dwell and thrive in these scarey places. Take a chance, the absolute worse that can happen is that it doesn’t work out but if the chance pays off, it can be monumental.
Know Your Worth: I know for many up and coming artist this may sound odd, but the majority of the world has no idea what we do and how much time and dedication it takes to do. This is particularly important if you chose the path of a freelancer. Take a little time to educate your clients on the process and value you bring in a confident manner. If you just show them and image with a quote (which will probably be realistic) they’re most likely be unwilling to pay because they simply just don’t understand what goes into it.
Stay Positive: Every situation can be as good or as bad as you make it. It’s very easy to get caught up in complaining if things don’t go your way (and I can guarantee they won’t) which will only hurt you and bring down the team, and that’s one of the worst things you can do. Look on the positive side of things. Our industry can be a bit tough at times and having a positive attitude and outlook will make a huge difference not only on your own moral but of your team. It will certainly not go unnoticed. And come on, we’re artists, getting noticed is what we do!
I’m really impressed by Jarlan’s work and his professionalism, and I think aspiring artists or those that are making their foray into the industry can learn a lot from him. Jarlan, thanks so much for your time and amazing art!
Art Station: http://jarlanperez.artstation.com
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