Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Featured artist: Francesco Mai

A new month - a new featured artist article.

This time my "virtual travel" leads me to the beautiful Italy, rather the north of Italy. We go to the famous Lake Garda. There you will meet Francesco Mai, a talented cg artist, who is not going the traditional way of creating cg - Francescos main focus is on creating real art by using todays computer graphic techniques.

Have fun with my article

The artist
1. How old are you?
First of all thank you very much for the precious opportunity you give me with this interview on your 3D Coat blog. But come to your question... How old am I? 38 years of analogy life and 23 of digital one.

2. Where are you currently living?
I am from Italy, and now live on the lake of Garda in a town called... Garda. But I lived many years in Milan and spend some years also in Parma and in Pugli.

3. What are you doing, when you switch your PC off? Do you have other hobbies?
Usually I read magazines such as National Geographic and Science. I really love watch documentary about quantistic physique, dinosaurs, ancient geological eras and savage animals. I am also a photographer. I am very attracted to shoot in local markets (not the tourist one!) of country like Madagascar, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Egypt and so on... I also like to listen "strange"music. I mean non-commercial music, from classical to heavy metal.

About the work
1. How did you get the idea to be an digital artist, why digital?
I think the my first idea to pursue the digital world briought me in mind the 23 years ago I was playing
with the PhotoCD format(does anyone rember it?). I was fascinated to the idea tha a lots of phots in very different size could be guested in a thin CD. As I tell you before I was born as classical analogic photographer first.
After some years I felt in love with one of the first "sculpting"software, called "Sculpt 3D". That was my first step in the world of 3D world. I remember with pleasure also Imagine. The first serious software for me was Lightwave 3D V 5.0. Many years was gone and now here we are with fast 4 and 6 cores cpu, faster GPU, tons of gigas and now also with 3D Coat. Incredible what is possible to create in voxel sculpting. Totally creative freedom!
I chose digital art because maybe my brain is to fast to have the capacity to wait for the natural process of analogic art. I love artistic experiments and computer is the best medium to do in my opinion. The future of art will be illuminated  by computers. There will come the day that there will no distinction between Art and digital Art...

2. Do you have a special education in arts?
No, I studied Biology at University. Anyway my father is a painter and in his late part of life, also a sculptor. Now it's my time but with mouse and tablet instead of brush and chisel...

3. Are you employed or do you work freelance?
I am an independent digital artist.

4. Which recent projects were the most important for you?
Surely the exhibition in Bogotà (Colombia) the last March with the prestigious Istituto di Cultura Italiana all'estero. Also the very last exhibition in Italy, in Gorizia was in collaboration with another important institutions, the Ministero dei Beni Culturali.

5. Which project was a particular challenge for you?
Try to extract something of artist stuff from 3D Coat and Zbrush (opps can I nominate it here?:) )
(Note by Chris: "Yes you can!". My blog is focused on 3D Coat in first case, but actually completely free and independent of any third party interests.)

6. Where do you get your ideas from?
From animal and plant's structure, especially from marine wildlife. I am very attracted also from macro-photograpy and images caught with electronic microscopy.

7. Are you creating realistic artworks too or mainly abstract?
I want to create realistic abstract sculptures :)

8. What are your plans as an artist for the future?
To have an important exhibition with also 3D print of my "virtual"sculptures. Now the market is almost ready to create real sculptures from the digital ones. No matter the material... And this process it is enchanting for me. Also some professional and artistic animation of the same objects are wished, just to demonstrate to the public the versatility of the digital art. Of course on a 62 inches Full HD TVs.

9. Which software are you using for your work, and which hardware?
I use modo for modelling, (previously only Lightwave 3D), Cinema 4D for rendering, then I am "playing"with zBrush and of course with 3D Coat. Ahh - I forgot Photoshop!
I use a Windows based pc with 8 gigas of RAM, 3,6 ghz quad core Xeon, Apple Cinema HD monitor 23 inches, Nvidia GeForce GTX 260...

10. Which tool do you like the most and never want to miss?

The "sphere tool" inside 3D Coat, which is found in the voxel room, irreplaceable for create the main shape in 3D Coat... but not only for this...

The portfolio
If you are more interested in Francescos work, feel free and visit his website:

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