Next up in our regular SciFi Art showcase, we have some amazing work from Christian Hecker, aka Tigaer. Christian also took the time to answer our whirlwind ‘tell us what makes you tick’ questions.
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?
From an early age on I had fun drawing things. I never really followed up on it and so my skills in that department stagnated fast. I never really had the drive to become better. Instead I developed an interest in computers. When I got my first PC in the mid 90s I started to check out digital imaging software. Corel Photopaint was part of the software package that came with that PC. I learned some things with it and soon switched over to Photoshop and learned to love it. That was by the end of the 90s and early 2000s. I combined my love for computers with my creativity. At that point I never really thought I would end up doing this stuff professionally at some point. Things fell into place in the following years. I learned basic 3d and how to combine in with my love for Photoshop. I always admire the Matte Painting work in movies and so I naturally loved creating my own landscapes. Over time my scenes became more and more complex. Especially with the futuristic cityscapes I created. Combining rendered material with photos and trying to make it look as seamless as possible. I never had the goal to make my work look photorealistic, which is actually the goal of matte painting, but I certainly used the same techniques that are used for digital matte painting. Finishing up an artwork with the title “Artificial” showed me that I was able to develop the right amount of patience and technical expertise that made me start thinking about doing this stuff professionally. In the following years I tried to become more efficient and tried to streamline my techniques. Pieces like “Elysia”, “Epica”, “Mistral Coast” and “Gates To Elysium” and the feedback they got, convinced me that I’m on the right path. Since then I worked for Authors, Publishers, Games and smaller film productions. My goal would be to work for larger productions at some point.
Gates To Elysium
What inspires you to make sci-fi art? TV shows, books, other artists, etc.?
I’d say it’s a mixture of all of that. I recently started rereading Asimov’s “Foundation” series. There I can easily find inspiration. “Hyperion Cantos” by Dan Simmons is another fantastic piece full of descriptions for places that come up in the story, ideal for you to project your own ideas onto. Artists like the sadly just passed away Syd Mead will always blow me away. His body of work is so influential to everyone working in the entertainment industry. So naturally Blade Runner, Star Wars or Lord Of The Rings are prime examples for inspiration when it comes to movies. Of course it’s not wrong to keep your eyes open when you’re outside, observing the world. You can find inspiration the most weird things.
Which of your pieces is your favorite? Why?
Most of the time it’s like the piece you are currently working on, that is usually the one, you’re in love with. It’s hard to pick a specific piece. I like many of my works for different reasons. My piece “Artificial” I love because it’s the one that taught me patience and what I’m able to do with my skills. “Gates To Elysium” I like because it got a lot of attention and once more showed me how far I can go with my skills. “Room With A View” was a scene I had in mind for ages until I sat down tried my best to realize it. I managed to pull it off and again learned a lot with the artwork getting some good attention. “Sanctuary” was a first serious try in creating a scene within a night setup and I got this down pretty nicely too. “Phoenix Rising” and “From Here I Can Almost See The Stars” both are good examples of scifi cityscapes I always wanted to do. All these are older pieces where I would approach certain things differently today but I can still look at them and enjoy them very much. A newer piece, more settled in the fantasy genre is “Journeys Of An Unknown Huntress”. I’ve put insane hours into it and it turned out fantastic. Seeing it on a 150cm X 100cm canvas print is breathtaking.
Journeys Of An Unknown Huntress
What’s your technique like? Do you finish pieces in a single setting or spread them out over multiple days?
Sometimes weeks. I always try to work with dimensions that allow me to print the finished piece as large as possible. That requires me to really dive in and explore the world I’m creating. It naturally requires tons of detail work. Sometimes I even go down to the pixel level. When working on a 8000×4000 pixel large scene… it can become tedious. But it pays off when you see it printed. There’s always new stuff to discover in these scenes. That’s at least when it comes to my personal work.
Now when it comes to commissioned work it’s a little different of course. Depending on the requirements I can work more quick. A client who knows specifically what he wants is quicker to work with than someone who still isn’t sure about things. If it’s the latter then the client and I need to find out what’s right. All the concepts and revisions take their time. If the result works and everyone is happy… it’s ok to take your time and find out what’s best.
From Here I Can Almost See The Stars
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?
Beaming like they do in Star Trek would be cool. But wouldn’t we in consequence end up like the humans in Wall-E? Something I really wish for mankind is an efficient way for space travel. We need to get out there and move on. With all consequences that come with it too. “The Expanse” shows nicely how all that would probably work out. We will not live long enough to see it happen, which makes me a little sad… but it needs to happen for us to survive if you ask me. For now I hope I’ll live long enough to see us landing on Mars (not just with drones and rovers). =)
Great Stuff! Many thanks for sharing your art and for doing this interview!
Find out more about Christian Hecker: