First Im­pres­sions

Pass­ing on his knowl­edge to oth­ers pleases this Aus­trian artist im­mensely…

ImagineFX - - Contents - Do­rian Iten

Do­rian Iten re­veals how pass­ing on his art knowl­edge is the best part of his job.

Where did you grow up and how has this in­flu­enced your art?

I was born in Aus­tria, but grew up in a ru­ral area of Switzer­land. I re­mem­ber roam­ing the fields and climb­ing through the for­est un­der­growth. The tiny house we lived in was over 200 years old. Be­ing a child in that en­vi­ron­ment, I forged a deep con­nec­tion with the nat­u­ral world. Books about faeries, gnomes and magic spurred my imag­i­na­tion.

You’re a child, you see a paint­ing or draw­ing that changes ev­ery­thing… what are you look­ing at?

I don’t re­mem­ber any mo­ment like this as a child, but I had a pow­er­ful ex­pe­ri­ence when I was 21. I had just moved to Florence, Italy, to start my aca­demic train­ing. One day I vis­ited the Ce­na­colo di An­drea del Sarto, a small mu­seum near my apart­ment. As I walked past all the fres­cos, I felt as if my artis­tic an­ces­tors reached out to wel­come me as one of them.

Did other in­ter­ests vie for your at­ten­tion as you were grow­ing up? What was the de­cid­ing fac­tor?

When I was 14, I launched the first ver­sion of my web­site. I had taught my­self HTML and CSS, and en­joyed work­ing with com­put­ers so much that I con­sid­ered study­ing to be­come a me­dia­matiker (a me­dia/ tech­nol­ogy spe­cial­ist). I was prob­a­bly on the fence un­til age 17, when I found out about the atelier schools in Florence and de­cided that I just had to go there.

Can you de­scribe the place where you usu­ally create your art?

For much of the past 10 years, my stu­dio has trav­elled with me to dif­fer­ent cities and coun­tries. Each place changes how it looks and feels, but usu­ally my work area is very or­gan­ised. I like to have a few orig­i­nal pieces by friends up on the walls, as well as prints of favourite im­ages from Old Mas­ters and con­tem­po­rary artists.

Is your art evolv­ing? What’s your most re­cent ex­per­i­ment?

I think it’s al­ways evolv­ing, some­times faster, some­times slower. I’m cur­rently ex­plor­ing a project that in­volves a 3D scan of my­self. It might turn into a 3D print, a paint­ing, a VR ex­pe­ri­ence, or all of it at once. I’m of­ten pulled by many in­ter­ests, which can be frus­trat­ing, but right now I’m ap­pre­ci­at­ing the rich­ness of my work and play.

Con­cept artists don’t need in-depth anatomy knowl­edge – yes or no?

My gut re­ac­tion is to dis­agree. Knowl­edge is power. Stu­dios hire peo­ple who can create be­liev­able de­signs. My re­la­tion­ship to art is all about draw­ing from a deep study of na­ture. That said, if I broaden my scope from “sim­ply do­ing a job” to “mak­ing in­no­va­tive dis­cov­er­ies”, I’m sure there are ex­am­ples of con­cept artists who are em­pow­ered by their ig­no­rance of clas­si­cal in­for­ma­tion.

How much en­joy­ment do you get out of pro­duc­ing teach­ing cour­ses?

Pro­found en­joy­ment. I cher­ish the free­dom of de­vel­op­ing my own ma­te­ri­als and love the process. When I edit videos I lose my­self in the work. I also like the chal­lenge of chang­ing hats. In the morn­ing I’m an in­struc­tor, in the af­ter­noon I’m an ed­i­tor, the next day a mar­keter, pro­gram­mer or ac­coun­tant. It al­ways stays in­ter­est­ing!

What’s the most im­por­tant thing that you’ve taught some­one?

I think the most im­por­tant thing that I’ve been able to im­part is con­fi­dence. It’s a beau­ti­ful thing when a per­son be­gins to trust in their own abil­ity and stops re­ly­ing on teach­ers and other ex­ter­nal author­i­ties. We must dare to make our own de­ci­sions. Only when we take re­spon­si­bil­ity can we also take credit.

What ad­vice would you give to your younger self to aid you on the way?

First, it’s okay to be quiet and in­tro­spec­tive. Don’t beat your­self up over it. That said, share what you think and feel, be­cause the world will re­flect valu­able in­for­ma­tion back to you. Sec­ond, read less and do more. Third, be coura­geous. Be coura­geous. Be coura­geous!

I felt as if my artis­tic an­ces­tors reached out to wel­come me as one of them

Do­rian draws, paints, sculpts and teaches. He serves as the Dig­i­tal Art Pro­gram Co­or­di­na­tor at Barcelona Acad­emy of Art in Spain and pub­lishes free draw­ing tips ev­ery Fri­day at www.do­rian-iten.com.

Ceecee A stu­dent piece from Grand Cen­tral Acad­emy in New York. Pen­cil on paper, 2011.

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