We are honored to announce the next demonstrator at the upcoming London Workshop workshop.conceptart.org is the and the only Carlos Huante. Mr. Huante is the former art director of ILM and Digital Domain, and has worked on blockbuster feature films and entertainment content throughout his storied career. He is also one of the single most respected creature designers in the business. Many of you will have seen his work, and many more will have enjoyed the works that his vision helped guide and form. Carlos worked directly with Ridley Scott to create art for Prometheus, as well as the inventive concept designs and music used in the film pitch that got that movie off the ground, funded, and on the big screen for all of us to see.
Carlos has contributed his vision and work to film franchises like from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Prometheus, Hellboy, Men in Black, MIB 2, Battleship, and War of the Worlds, among many others. Look way back and you will find out he even worked on the Real Ghostbusters. Awesome.
We have his interview for you right here:
CA: You have worked on a lot of great projects during your career including Prometheus, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Men in Black and more, during your storied career. If you had the opportunity to travel back in time and tell your younger self two truths that would make life or career a whole lot easier, what would you share with him?
Carlos: Geez…good question…well.. maybe…"don't let other people influence who you think you are" or who you know you are"…..
CA: What can you tell us about your new book? Is there an e-book for those of us who are digital content lovers and want to be able to pour through your work?
Carlos: Blind Spot is the book of Prints…it's a gathering of all my images that I had in gallery shows over the couple of years prior to the making of the book.. It also contains a lot of unseen works, drawings and rough sketches from that time period…Its all fine-art no production film type work…I wanted to put it all in a book to wrap up that whole experience. Blind Spot in many ways is an expression of my Christian faith..I wrote all the poems as well..I am really happy with the way the book came out. and with Global PSD for their great work on the printing and the quality.….The content itself again is way more personal than anything else I've done…Ridley Scott wrote a dedication and a small tag on the inside back..I started putting this book together about the same time that I was working on Prometheus…so the two experiences are very intertwined…and yes I am working on an iPad version which will be an edited down version of the hard copy of Blind Spot..BUT it will also contain some video interviews and a pathway to a sketch book that is obviously not in the Hard copy..I will pitch it on Kickstarter in the next month or two…maybe sooner depending on how quick I can get the presentation together. Hopefully people will be interested…
CA: What was the biggest challenge you faced during your career and how was it overcome?
Carlos: Uhg…another good question…I would say dealing with untalented egotistical people and politics in the workplace..There are some bad people out there..no matter how positive you want to be and practice some new-age "serenity now" positivity..If you are not realistic about this stuff you are setting yourself up for a major heartbreak…I like the idea of being positive but mixed with reality..I can't say that I've entirely got through this stuff yet…as the "bad people" are still out there…however what I do to try and remain a content person or reasonably at peace and enthusiastic about my job is to focus on the job at hand and how much i love to draw and create things….if you focus on all the monkeys out there, before you know it you'll be in the bad part of the jungle with 'em …Drawing and sculpting is way more fun, healthy and profitable
CA: What do you think the biggest challenge ahead might be?
Carlos: Probably remaining relevant and expanding my artistic vocabulary to be able to stay creative till I'm an old man...
CA: You recently made the decision to branch out of film and include other areas of entertainment, including the video games industry, as part of your career focus. It’s an exciting time for that kind of decision, given all the new media and entertainment channels that exist. What has you most excited right now about where you are headed?
Carlos: Well I actually worked on some games for EA and THQ..years ago..The evil Dead game for THQ ..a Lord of the rings game and some other XP stuff for future games that never happened for EA…also a big gun game that just never happened for some rich guys....and I just designed the Turtles for a new TMNT game..I'm not sure if they were able to implement my take on the those characters but it was still a lot of fun…. I enjoyed every one of those jobs.. I don't really care what the platform is at this point.. I've worked for film for many years and have been so disappointed so many times because in the end it's not my job to follow the design through and thus I can't quality control the creature work… so…. you know.. I can only care about my own job which is to design/draw and illustrate…SO as long as someone has an interesting idea and can pay me I will love working on it…and right now games seem more interesting to me…that being said If a good movie is on the block to get made then I will probably want to be a part of it…I just like to work on cool stuff with talented people, what can I say..
CA: Are you still doing freelance work? If so, what’s the best way for interested clients to reach you?
Carlos: I am all freelance at this point…I've just recently taken on commissions as well....they contact me through my e-mail kletos1ATyahoo.com
CA: What are your goals with your personal fine art?
Carlos: It's all I want to do.."Blind Spot" is a first step of trying to express myself on my own Independent of a publisher and just as an artist…..I will do another Monster design book because it is part of the art that I like to make…but I would like to have another gallery show.. I just have to make the art…
CA: What impact has sculpting or 3D had on your 2d images or concept work?
Carlos: Well I am a sculptor who draws for a living and painter who sculpts…Sculpture is what I'm doing on paper and when I sculpt it is like a painting to me…I use sculpture the way the younger folk are using Zbrush. Sometimes I sculpt a sketch in clay and I photograph it and paint over the photo…only to put my sculpting skills to work. Going back and forth between sculpting and drawing really keeps both disciplines in check.
CA: When you are eighty years old and look back at the career you have had up until this point today, what are two moments which you will certainly remember and stand out from the rest?
Carlos: Only two?….I have so many…but OK here's three … working with Rick Baker on Men in Black is one and two getting to work with Rob Bottin…and working directly with Ridley on Prometheus was one of the best ……Of course then…there's that moment when I got The first copy of Monstruo in the mail….and then the subsequent books.. Blind Spot was a big one because I essentially did the whole thing myself.. …..The first gallery show with my friend Jose Fernandez was something special as well…..sorry..a little more than 3…But I could keep going…My first live action gig was with the Chiodo Bros. so that's always going to stick…but ok.. I'm done…
CA:The current industry seems to be one where those working in it are best served developing their entrepreneurial skills, so that they have other ways to make money, not just a paycheck or freelance client work (services). What are your thoughts on the importance of creating, controlling, and publishing one’s own intellectual property?
Carlos: I think all of that is essential. But let me say this..I saw this years ago in the what i call the"great homogenization". It started back in 98 or 99 with Photoshop becoming the new way of illustrating. Computer "painting" and the internet were to traditionally driven art/ design as a giant bucket of water being poured over a sand castle. I don't mean to be down on CG imagery because there's a lot that is good and some that is quite good..BUT there is a majority that is bad..It made it easier for untalented people to copy other artists style more easily and thus what I just named the "Great homogenization" infected illustration students like the Black Death. I saw my own work starting to make it's way through the system and getting copied… I had already wanted to make a book for many many years before I actually made it because I knew at the time there was nothing like it out there and I saw the hills being flattened by Computer generated imagery and I wanted to own my style before it was absorbed…So I tried for a year to get it published but it was so unfamiliar to publishers at that time that no one wanted to be involved with what they called dark imagery. The only books out there were the Fairies book by Alan lee and Brian Froud and the Expedition book by Wayne Barlowe.. and then of course the making of the Dark Crystal book…I loved them all and still do..but that was it as far as creature design oriented books go.. I mean there were illustration books out there from a lot of different artists and Magazines like Fangoria, Starlog and Fantastic films but no creature art books besides the one's mentioned at all…They were all geared toward makeup and or Special FX. I didn't have the desire to be a makeup or FX artist and so any "making of" books that were out at the time all fell short for me… I wanted to make a creature design art book so it could finally exist for any kids that would be like me…SO…a long story to make my point…You have to have a reason to make anything that will matter and that includes publishing or any other artistic endeavor…The only way for artists to take control, to some degree, is to create content of their own that matters. It can't just be promotional drivel. And yes you are correct, to be practical you cannot depend on the Hollywood system to make a living anymore…..it's over saturated with untalented art types and unfortunately the people who hire them don't know the difference…Creating content and IP is the way but it has to matter… I know not everyone is out to make a statement but isn't that what art is all about? It's about expression..If we as artists just become businessmen marketing and selling ourselves then the whole thing is lost and will fall flat…. There won't be anything worth any amount of salt anymore.. Be smart with how you market yourself but don't kill your art in the process...
CA: For the younger artists here on ConceptArt.org that are just starting out, do you have any suggestions on how they can begin their studies?
Carlos: You have to love to draw and have the talent to be a designer…I see far too many illustrators speaking as creature designers when they are two completely different things…When I was younger and coming-up that was a big deal to us as character creature designers..we could tell when an Illustrator tried to design a creature because it never worked and couldn't be translated. It would always have to be redesigned for function and the design always fell flat after it was removed from a background and put in a plain white environment….So know who you are and where your talent is…work hard , don't expect any credits, try to be the very best that you can and above all have fun..love the actual image that you are making every time. Don't just try to get through images to get to the next one…make every one count and I would also add make sure you know how to draw with just a pencil….and…get along with your peers. They are your shield. Respect what was before you even if you are better than them…Class goes a long way…You can have an opinion and not be abrasive…
• Oh…before we bring this discussion to a close, thank you tremendously Carlos, we will look forward to seeing you at the upcoming workshop. Until then, where can people see more of your stuff, and do you have a facebook or any other links you would like to share?