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Lothlenan: when classical art meets geekdom


Classic art styles such as impressionism mixed with modern animated characters? Edvard Munch meets Rick and Morty? Yes its possible, and such creations can be found at Tumblr page of the Canadian digital artist Lothlenan. The stunning masterpieces can also be bought at Redbubble and Society6, but, Filmsane had the pleasure to talk  to Lothlenan and discuss the inspirations and design in each beautiful creation. You can check out the end result of our talk bellow.

Hi. Thank you so much for talking to Filmsane. Tell me about your beginnings in this particular style of artwork and what were among the first illustrations you made?

Started a few years ago actually! First were the Adventure Time pieces, I wanted to do a ‘series’ of them before I moved on. It all started, though, with me doing studies of the masters. I wanted to learn how to achieve a look like theirs, but in my chosen medium (digital painting). Once I finished the background I changed the characters involved and that’s how it began 🙂

How do you find the perfect balance to combine the classical art with the contemporary? How do you decide which Monet painting goes with which cartoon character for example?

As an art school graduate and a huge nerd myself, I’m pretty educated in the context of the paintings I’m working with as well as the fandoms I’m referencing. I wait until a certain crossover speaks to me (that sounds lame, but it’s true)… something that makes sense contextually but also something I’m excited to paint.

Tell me more about your background. Where are you from, are you a self-taught artist or did you studied art in art school?

I’m from Canada! I studied in art school where I got my degree. Aside from that I believe all artists are mostly self taught when it comes to technique, though. I’d been painting digitally since I was 11 years old, but it was in art history classes where I garnered a deep respect for the painters of yore. Great professors can leave a great impact on students.

What is your personal era of classical art, painter or a specific movement that you prefer? I can already see the presence of Edvard Munch, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Hyacinthe Rigaud, Thomas Gainsborough, Edmund Leighton and Pierre Auguste Cot in your illustrations.

My personal favourite era is… hard to choose! I have a preference for Baroque, Rococo, and Romanticism. And while I’m a big fan of Academicism, I’m also partial to the work of the Pre-Raphaelites.

An on the other side of spectrum what is your favorite show, movie, anime character or any other character that you’d love to put into a fan fantasy mix? Rick and Morty, Queen and Princess of Crystal Tokyo, Zelda are an amazing presence in your paintings already.

Thank you! Honestly I would have to say anything by Studio Ghibli. I adore Miyazaki and the work of his studio.

Tell me the process in which one such creation is completed from start to finish. How does that process works, and what does it entails? Do you figure out the classical art first, or you base your creations on the more contemporary inspirations?

I will always go in knowing what my goal is. But before I do any character work I spend my time on the detailed backgrounds so that I can study the technique of the master I am trying to emulate. So the backgrounds are always finished before anything else. First and foremost these paintings are for me to study and learn from — and hopefully get in to the painter’s head a little to understand why they made certain decisions in their process. They use brushes and oils or watercolour, so sometimes the biggest challenge is figuring out how to approach that painting with the digital tools I have at hand.

Your work can be found and bought at Society 6 and Redbuble. What’s the demand for this type of artistry and can you make a living of it in today’s world?

I wouldn’t say there is a huge demand, it’s a very niche area. But as for making a living in today’s world as an artist, I would say there’s more opportunities than ever before. Animation, games, comics, novels… so many areas to apply one’s expertise. And once you’ve put in the hours, days, years to achieve that prowess… prepare to put in many more years because art is a study that never plateaus. You are always aiming higher.

How long does that process last? The creation of your illustrations? From start to finish I mean… And what was the most difficult/demanding one that you’ve managed to finish so far?

On average, I would say I spend at least a week on each painting. Sometimes more, if it’s very detailed. I don’t sit for 12 hours a day painting, I need to constantly step away and give my eyes a rest so they might approach the painting with a fresh perspective. Sometimes it’s the only way to see your mistakes. Also it’s incredibly important to me that I ask friends and family for criticism before I declare a painting finished: they can see things to improve the work that I might not have otherwise.

Since Filmsane is primarily a film blog… tell me about the art called film. Has been any movie character that impressed you so far (in 2017) that you’d love to bring in you illustrations?

In 2017?  No movies, not yet…well. Unless you count the North American release of Kimi no Na Wa, ‘Your Name’ by director Makoto Shinkai. I really enjoyed that one!


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