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Mark Olsen (MDO2010): "Art is a way of seeing things in a different and usually less analytical way"

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In the Carrara Forum, Renderosity's winner for the Movie Poster Contest was Mark Olsen (MDO2010). We decided to have a chat with him about how he found Renderosity, why he loves art and how art has altered his life.

What brought you to Renderosity?

It's hard to remember, it was so long ago! Recently I've begun dipping my toe into the Renderosity "community," at first in the Carrara forum and most recently in the Blender forum and wish I'd been more aware of these earlier, but for many years my only exposure to Renderosity was buying things in the store. I think originally I was just looking for a wider variety of resources in terms of models, textures, tutorials and things like Photoshop brushes and layer styles than I was finding elsewhere.

How has art changed your life?

It has given me an outlet for a part of myself I don't really get to express much. My day job is mostly working with financial numbers, spreadsheets and analysis; being able to devote a part of my evening or my weekend to something so radically different from that has really helped me balance things.

What is it about art that you love?

It's a mix of things. When looking at others' work I am most often impressed when something breaks my preconceptions and shows me something familiar in an unexpected way. On a more technical note, the more I learn about modeling, texturing, lighting and composition, the more impressed I am by people who do those things very well; I can't even count how many times I have been to the local Art Institute in my lifetime but since I started really working on these skills myself it's added a lot of depth to my appreciation of traditional art.

In my own work, it's finding a way to express some idea visually rather than verbally so that others connect with it, or least understand it. Sometimes it's just a chance to be playful too - I don't get enough of this in other parts of my life and the importance of it can't be overestimated. It can be really fun to take something that seems very simple and try to find a new angle to approach it from.

How did you become so passionate about art and why?

I'm honestly not sure I can point to anything concrete. I was never a terribly artistic person growing up. Creative certainly, but not artistic; for as long as I can remember I've always loved looking at art, whether it was a cool cover for a sci-fi novel or a drawing of a new D&D monster or something I saw at a museum, but I was never really moved to create my own art until fairly recently (just the past 5 years or so casually and only the last two more seriously).

I think it is the fact that programs like DAZ Studio, Carrara and Blender run so well now on pretty much any computer you buy. You no longer need to have a state of the art machine to just play around in these programs. I'm not good with my hands and never have been, but I am great with computers and the combination of the fun of learning and exploring a new program and of the technical aspects of using it to get good results made creating art something that really seemed possible.

I can't draw or paint on paper, because my hands just don't do what my brain is picturing, but something about doing it through a computer lets my mind figure it out.

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Artist Spotlight
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