Sci-Fi Art Feature — theRenderCode (Andrew C Popa)

Continuing our series in epic SciFi Art, we have some favourite pieces from the very talented Andrew C Popa. Andrew was kind enough to answer our whirlwind ‘getting to know you’ Artist speed dating questions too.

Thanks for doing an interview! First, tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started in art and what’s your overall goal? Where do you see yourself going?
Hi, my name is Andrew Popa, I am 20 years old and I live in Romania. Reinterpreting the things around me has always been something I was interested in. As most artists I have been passionate about drawing from a young age, but on top of that I was also building things out of cardboard and later on sculpting in wood or in clay. Nothing that was SF related at that time. About 5 years ago I started making portraits, but my focus shifted when I discovered 3d modeling (2 years ago). I couldn’t stick with both, so now I do mostly CG renders, but when I have time I do sketches to study human anatomy. For the most part I do environments, in the next years I would like to explore the process of creating characters, which is a bit more complex.

What inspires you to make sci-fi art? TV shows, books, other artists, etc?
What we surround ourselves with eventually changes the way we see the world, the way we interpret things. Even though most of the concepts that are presented in a SF universe are not possible at the moment I want to be surrounded by them in some way. Creating in 3d allows me to get a better feel of that universe. It allows me to interact with the objects, modify their shapes, paint on them, arrange the lights in the way I want. It’s a small simulation I get immersed in, and I want to share it with other people to see how they react and what cool ideas they have.
I love space exploration and I find inspiration in movies like: Avatar, Interstellar, Passengers, The Martian.

Which of your pieces is your favorite? Why?
I think the one with the portal is my favorite. I did a photoscan of an old room that is located in a small house in my backyard. It turned out to be pretty accurate and I kept thinking about how I could use this digital representation of an actual place with something that I would like to see brought into reality. I remembered that I had a model of a portal that I created a few months earlier. It was designed for another idea of mine that didn’t really work at that time. I put the two objects in the same scene and started adding secondary elements to come up with a story:
“While loading the coordinates of the destination, a glitch occurs which causes the other dimension to be seen reflected in the objects around.”
More about the project on Artstation.

What’s your technique like? Do you finish pieces in a single setting or spread them out over multiple days?
My workflow is spread across multiple days. Going for a realistic result requires a lot of attention spent on the small details, most of the time I have to remind myself that I have to finish at some point. I start by working on the main element of the image and then building around it, but sometimes I get distracted by some new idea and that prevents me from getting the project done. I think a time constraint allows for a more creative control, rather than getting caught up in the technical aspects, I can focus more on what story I want to tell. Recently I got started sculpting characters. I wanted to do that for sometime, but I was afraid to start, thinking it will take too long and I’ll never get anything done. So, I set out to sculpt a head within one hour and call it done by the end. I was surprised to see how much can be done in such a short time. It’ something that I should try for other types of projects as well.

Finally, of all the future technology consistently theorized across all forms of media (teleportation, instant communication, genetic editing, spaceflight, cloning, etc.), what would you like to see the most?
Definitely teleportation and spaceflight. I love the idea of going far out into the space and exploring how things evolved on other planets. We don’t know what to expect, what can be found out there, what forms of life. We can try to make assumptions based on what we know, but our perspective it’s limited to the things we came across. I wonder how art will be influenced in a future where those things could be possible.

Awesome! Thanks for sharing your art and for doing this interview!

You can find more about Andrew C Popa on Artstation

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