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Back in the Americana

Sun Jan 4, 2009, 4:57 PM
Aaah, I miss the smell of freedom and french fries.

Ironically my grandmother (who is chinese) insisted that we have chinese food for dinner when we got back, even though that's what I had been eating for 2 weeks straight. I really needed a change, so first thing in the morning I had some American-grown Columbian coffee and Liberty Jacks, which the french insist on calling "crepes." America never tasted so good.

Hong Kong was kick ass. Since this is my first time of the country (well, unless u count Puerto Rico I guess), and it was a very good experience for me. The funny part was that since I had grown up in Chinatown New York, Hong Kong just kinda felt like an epic-sized Chinatown. Even a lot of the food tasted the same, just prepared differently. A lot of people from my Chinatown are Cantonese and Toisanese, which share a lot of the same traditions as the people in Hong Kong. My grandmother pointed out that the food and traditions in Chinatown resemble something closer to how they used to be about 80 years ago in the mainland, since that is the last big wave of immigrants to move from there.

This trip has definitely been useful to me as an artist. I will take what I've learned from the images and cultural experiences there and incorporate them into my work. I might even post a few of the better photos!

In the meantime before I upload new work, check out my college friend :icondrigzabrot: Drigz, he's muy bueno. Give him my kudos!

Thanks folks!
  • Mood: Thanks
  • Listening to: classical Chinese music
  • Reading: My passport stamps
  • Watching: Planet Earth
  • Playing: Guardian Heroes!
  • Eating: Pho Tai
  • Drinking: Back on track with the liquid Black Mamba

Hong Kong!

Thu Dec 11, 2008, 1:03 PM
I'm going there.

For 2 weeks starting the weekend before Christmas I am going to be traveling abroad to Hong Kong! I'll be staying with people I know most of the time which is AWESOME 'cause otherwise I'd get lost.

This will be my first time truly leaving the United States! Puerto Rico was the farthest I've been. Ironically, I've lived in Chinatown NY for the first 18 years of my life so it probably won't be as big of a culture shock as Puerto Rico was.

Maybe not.

There's also a chance I might visit Hokkaido, Japan when I am there! That'll be different for sure.

So if you have any suggestions on where to go and what to buy please tell me.

And on a side note, yes I will be updating my artwork this month before I leave... :)

Thanks folks!
  • Mood: Thanks
  • Listening to: Christmas Carols
  • Reading: Y the Last Man
  • Watching: Heroes
  • Playing: Castle Crashers
  • Eating: Milanos
  • Drinking: Back on track with the liquid Black Mamba
...with Jack Handy.

I decided to post something other than the usual "Hey guys, I'm gonna update soon!" sorta post, so here it goes.

I recently gave a talk at an art college with my friend/roommate/colleague who is also a videogame artist (harmonix) about concept art. While developing what we were going to talk about that day, I remembered something that a teacher from school told me.

"What the industry accepts as 'concept artists' aren't actually hired as concept artists." Which means to say, that we are not necessarily hired for our creativity. It is actually the screenwriters, novelists or content designers who come up with most of the subjects we produce! In actuality, you get hired for the job based more on our understanding of "aesthetic arrest," which is to say our ability to create convincing, powerful images, not really our ideas. In this sense we are very much illustrators realizing other people's concepts.

I am going to have to say that, upon looking back at the "concept" industry, I will have to agree to some extent. A prime example of this is the gaming industry, in which so many characters look alike or are based on a particular look from movies or literally TAKEN from other licenses (LOTRO, for instance!). Popular characters influence other characters so much that it is difficult to discern one robot game from another, or one adventuring male lead from another (the buzzcut brown hair syndrome seems to be plaguing a lot of them these days!). is another example of how much "aesthetic arrest" (the feeling you get when you see a moving image) is important to be a concept artist; So many talented renderers and painters, but how many of them are truly saying something unique? How often do people emulate the styles of others, even the style with which they create simple backgrounds? It can become a cesspool of lackluster creativity, polished to hell but otherwise not really saying something. We get obsessed with the way things work, as apposed to what they represent in context.And before I get flamed, note that there ARE talented and creative people posting on that I admire a lot! I am just as much a style-victim as the next person and I ALWAYS to to figure out the way things work cuz I can't help it.

I'm not criticizing individuals; I'm criticizing the heavily-loaded label that people put on being a concept artist. In reality, we are just ONE STEP in the creative process; HUNDREDS of people influence the final product that ends up in movies or games. We get our 2 seconds of input, and then it goes down the creative assembly course. I don't think enough people realize that, and not only does it make being a concept artist a misled "holy grail" of creative professionals, but it also can make some conceited, pompous individuals with holier-than-thou attitudes, which really doesn't need to be cropping up in a team player industry.

There are varying degrees of what I like to think are conceptual input. ANYone can come up with a concept! Are we really training to be creative, or are we training to know what's cool and hip? I mean, you can really tell if you look at a concept and are like "Omigod dude, that's so 90's." Certain characters TRANSCEND time. Darth Vader. The Alien from Aliens. Mickey Mouse. Superman. Any Miyazaki film! These visuals simply don't die because they are so appealing and symbolic in their design. Why can't that stuff happen more?

It seems to me that the best "concept" artists are simply illustrators that chose their own path, and directors came to them for creative direction. That is the ultimate position of visual possibilities. "Hi, is your name Ralph McQuarrie, or Wayne Barlowe, or Brian Froud? Can you just like, MAKE what these characters are? Script? No, we'll base the script around what you design. Thanks."

I am NOT saying that concept artists do not create refreshing, new concepts. I am saying that we should not take our position for granted as being "the creative people." You have to earn it! And I have to earn it, and I thank my friends and teachers for pressing me to adopt and create brand new ideas, even if they say "there's no such thing as an original idea." And hopefully I will. But not yet. so far. :P



I have to credit teachers like Shanth Enjeti and geniuses like the late Joseph Campbell for helping me think this way.
  • Mood: Artistic
  • Listening to: Katamari Damacy Soundtrack
  • Reading: The Silmarillion
  • Watching: Heroes
  • Eating: Honey Stung Drummies
  • Drinking: Back on track with the liquid Black Mamba
I've been doing some stuff for Wizards of the Coast recently, so once that get's published (around November) I'll be sure to put it up. Until then, I also have some more LoTRO stuff I haven't posted yet so I'll get around to that.
  • Mood: Artistic
  • Listening to: Katamari Damacy Soundtrack
  • Reading: Warhammer Online Forums
  • Watching: The Office
  • Eating: Cosi
  • Drinking: Back on track with the liquid Black Mamba


Mon Aug 25, 2008, 11:16 AM
Ya that's right, I actually have been working.

A buttload of my work has been released online- albeit very outdated pieces, work that was never meant to be seen by the general public for their embarrassing level of finish and/or ZERO context to LOTRO: Mines of Moria- so I am putting them up. Some of my favorite ones are still on hold until the actual game comes out it seems like, but this should be enough in the mean time.

aaaw ya.
  • Mood: Artistic
  • Listening to: Mark Farina
  • Reading: Kotaku
  • Watching: Heroes
  • Eating: Cosi
  • Drinking: Back on track with the liquid Black Mamba
cuz all I did at Comicon was eat up all the nerdy shit!!!

Ya, that was probably a terrible image for you, sorry. Anyway, Comicon was madness. I refuse to use DA to host personal photos, but lemme tell you... I got some good ones. Just use the power of your imagination. Did anyone see the guy with the Bumblebee costume? He couldn't move at all and he had water-bottle assistants but that shit was tight.

I spent like 300 dollars in art books without thinking. My friend says this is normal? OK. No guilt. Tax-deductible, all good. Thats what I tell myself.

For some reason- without telling me- Turbine's marketing department released one of my images to be used on Kotaku! I had to find out myself because I scour Kotaku like a gravedigger searching for jewelry (coughnewsonSporecough). But that means I can put it up so I did. :D

P.S. I wanna do Soul Calibur fan art again... I am such a weak pansy.

I return bearing fruits--------!
  • Mood: Artistic
  • Listening to: Mark Farina
  • Reading: Kotaku
  • Watching: Heroes
  • Eating: Cosi
  • Drinking: Back on track with the liquid Black Mamba


Tue Jul 22, 2008, 7:43 AM
poppin my nerd-cherry...

My first time to San Diego Con 2morrow! WHOSE WITH ME?

I have no idea what I am doing, I'm just gonna be following my friend/co-worker/fellow artist Andy Murray around because he is seasoned like aged Kobe Beef. Maybe I'll see some of you there!

to nerd mecca!
  • Mood: Artistic
  • Listening to: Mark Farina
  • Reading: Kotaku
  • Watching: Heroes
  • Playing: Oh I think you know.
  • Eating: Cosi
  • Drinking: Back on track with the liquid Black Mamba

So Close

Fri May 30, 2008, 8:23 AM
Almost.... There!

I've taken some contract work for the past two months and it's been slowing me down on pretty much everything else in my life (I bit off more than I can chew... ALmost). I'll get my act together after May is over.

Must.... Red.. Bull...
  • Mood: Artistic
  • Listening to: Mark Farina
  • Reading: Kotaku
  • Watching: Heroes
  • Playing: Oh I think you know.
  • Eating: Cosi
  • Drinking: Back on track with the liquid Black Mamba

Into the Deep....

Fri Apr 25, 2008, 8:40 AM
I ho, I ho, and off to work we go!

Turbine released a ton of crap on Book 13 and about our new expansion, The Mines of Moria (shameless plug), so now I can post a bunch of crap that the NDA lifted. Yey! I don't really care if you play LOTRO, but I think it's a shame they don't really use the work of the concept artists for more promotional work so I gotta wait all the time.

  • Mood: Artistic
  • Listening to: Mark Farina
  • Reading: Kotaku
  • Watching: The Office
  • Playing: Oh I think you know.
  • Eating: Cosi
  • Drinking: Back on track with the liquid Black Mamba


Thu Jan 31, 2008, 12:07 AM
It's comin'!

Can't say much else is going on except more work is coming. Pretty much every "book" of LOTRO that is published, I get to show whatever work was in it... I just got to organize the crap and see what's actually worth looking at. :/ Unfortunately I've also taken upon more projects (ahem) so I might slow down as far as what I show from live updates.

I'm also getting ready to Gung hey Fah Choy it up in Chino-town again. For those of you who are unaware of my racial profile, I am half of the asian-persuasion. I am fusion-oriental food, you might say. HAPA, you might call me. Terms like "Banana" and "Twinkie" are not appropriate in this situation; these are references to asian people who act like they are white. I am, in fact, a TWILIGHT ARCHON of these two worlds.

My reward? Yey, I get to stand outside in the cold holding a flag and banging on gongs for 4 hours!...(?!!!?!!!!) Where the fuck are my ninja-jumping abilities? Did my genes skimp out on the good shit?

Happy Ching Chang Chinese New Year!
  • Mood: Artistic
  • Listening to: house music on my new Nokia fone!
  • Reading: taxe forms... :(
  • Watching: Feral druid PVP videos
  • Playing: Refer to above^
  • Eating: Taco Bell
  • Drinking: Back on track with the liquid Black Mamba

Whoever wins... I lose

Wed Dec 26, 2007, 3:23 PM

I went to see AVPR...

I am thoroughly convinced that my favorite franchise(s) is dead. HOWever, I liked it better than the last one; simply because it didn't have some limp-dick concern for the humans in the movie and cut straight to Yuatja-on-Xenomorph ass-kicking. Hell, no one was spared in that movie... Pretty, old, children, infantile, black, white, pregnant... everyone got pwned rather indiscriminantly. I'll say it over and over and over again, though; they NEED to base it on the original Dark Horse comic, cuz that actually has, like, a good story and strong characters.

Soul-stabbing aside it has inspired me to do fan art for AVP which I will finish shortly. So sue me, I am still a rabid fanboy.

I loaded up two new images, more comin' soon!

P.S., happy holidays!
  • Mood: Artistic
  • Listening to: New Kerri Chandler album
  • Reading: Alla Prima by Richard Schmid
  • Watching: Sin City
  • Playing: Man, Portal is so awesome!
  • Eating: Those Roche candy things
  • Drinking: Back on track with the liquid Black Mamba

Busy Boy

Mon Nov 5, 2007, 9:16 PM
I am taking too long...

OK, so Book 11 went live for LOTRO: SoA, which is the first big publication of my concepts! Yeyzorz! That means I can show you guys some of the work I've been doing!

  • Mood: Lazy
  • Listening to: Chicago House
  • Reading: Two Towers
  • Watching: Chuck & Larry
  • Playing: Hellgate: London... Or, trying to. :(
  • Eating: A lot of club sandwhiches lately..
  • Drinking: A&W... DAMN this is good.
Hey guys, update.

The month 1 prop for Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar was released recently, IE the patch I did some concept work for, which means I can post stuff without violating NDA, yey! So now I can share with you what I do for a living.

I have learned that being a concept artist is not all fun and games painting awesome monsters all day- although thats part of it- and that you really do have to know more than just how to paint well and being a good designer to be good at this job. Fortunately there are a lot of bright people here that help me out.

The stuff I've posted was actually done while I was a temporary texture artist, they didn't hire me full-time as a concept artist until about a month ago. I can't wait to show you what I'm doing more recently.
  • Mood: Lust
  • Listening to: Kerri Chandler
  • Reading: The Hobbit
  • Watching: Juste Debout 2006 DVD
  • Playing: Yep, still Soul Calibur 2
  • Eating: A lot of club sandwhiches lately..
  • Drinking: Strawberry Sunkist, my new favorite elixir.
Alright, so I've been away for a while.

I have been hired as a full-time concept artist for Lord of the Rings: Online, and since there is only one other concept artist working here, needless to say it's been kinda hectic with launch and all and other projects. Don't worry, I'm not about to go and tell you to go buy it- although it IS very good- I just wanna make sure any future monsters that go in look cool.

I have art, I just don't really have access to it because my computer is down (I am moving to a new location). I need to update my website for business reasons anyway, giving me ulterior motives to update, so you are guaranteed to see something new in the next month, really.

oh and by the way, Starcraft 2? Hell ya, anyone? I can't tell you how much impact the first game had on my life. I hope I survive the second.
  • Mood:
  • Listening to: Matthew Dear/Audion
  • Reading: Starcraft 2 previews
  • Watching: Memories of Murder
  • Playing: still Soul Calibur 2
  • Eating: Calamari
  • Drinking: C to the O to the double F double E.
Went to the BT/Thomas Dolby Show!

Thomas Dolby is still awesome but I was expecting that, because he's the OG of electronica. . BT was funny, since the lead guy's opening line was "if you came here for snares and kicks, the door's that way..." but otherwise thier new sound is not my cup of tea. I actually like snares and kicks, you see.

I didn't meet many deviants, but I did have the pleasure of meeting :icondanimation2001: and :iconandrewk: at the show, two very talented artists might I add. As a forethought I think it would have been a good idea to wear our DA buddy icons as pins so that we could recognize each other as deviants. Good idea, right?

Work coming soon I promise.
  • Mood:
  • Listening to: DJ Sneak House of Om
  • Reading: Game Informer
  • Watching: Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
  • Playing: Soul Calibur 2
  • Eating: Mac n' Cheese
  • Drinking: C to the O to the double F double E.
My work will be shown at the New York City show of BT and Thomas Dolby! Woot! Get there before the opening to see my work and 29 other deviants show their stuff on a huge projection screen. Eh, I don't think I get money for this but honestly I don't care as long as credit is supplied somewhere. Free exposure in NYC is a big deal! More info at:…?

It's bizarre, cuz BT composed one of my gateway-songs into electronica. It will be cool to see their recent stuff.

So ya, come. I'm going for sure, and oddly enough my family wants to go... embarrassing. It would be nice to meet some people from DA!

  • Mood:
  • Listening to: Daft Punk House Mix
  • Reading: Game Informer
  • Watching: Waiting
  • Playing: Soul Calibur
  • Eating: Turkey sub
  • Drinking: apple juice... damn these are specific
I am employed! Woot.

I am currently working as a temporary texture/concept artist at Turbine Games, working on Lord of the Rings Online.

Anyway, the reason why I haven't submitted anything in months is because of this job- not because I don't want to, but because I don't have access to my own computer since I've moved to Boston. Once I get my computer down from New York I can paint my own stuff again. In fact, I already have several things that I left in NY that were half finished and just need completion.

Prepare thyselves...
  • Mood:
  • Listening to: Louie Vega's Simply Rythm
  • Reading: The Orientalists
  • Watching: Casino Royale- best since Golden Eye
  • Playing: Bully, Guitar Hero 2
  • Eating: a free BLT from work
  • Drinking: coffeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
... And Unemployed. It's okay, I'll find something. Hopefully. Who'da thought a business of Nerdery would be so cutthroat? Aren't we more civilized then that? Then again, those MMORPGs are rather competitive....

Swing those paying commissions this a-way if u are interested. Yeah right.

By the way, I'm gonna swing over to Post Mortem in Boston and see if I can crash that. Anyone else going?
How do I feel about the new DA look?  Hmmm... I guess it's like when a relative you don't know very well buys you an article of clothing that you normally would never buy on your own, but then end up wearing it anyway because it's there and people say it's a refreshing change from your normal sense of fashion, and then you thank them and take credit for having such good taste.

My personal website is itching for an update... BE PREPARED...
Sorry I haven't updated in a while... That would be for a few reasons:

A) Tragic family incident
B) Graduating
C) Lost artwork that I've done and apparently didn't back up

But now I'm back on track.

New art soon, I promise... and some other stuff on my website that I won't be putting on DA, like tutorials and stuff.