It's a pleasure to present Lee Griggs, our 2015 AREA Artist of the Year! Lee was voted into the top 3 during our community voting on Facebook and then chosen as the winner by our panel of judges.
Read below to hear more from Lee.
AREA Team: What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Lee Griggs: Some nice quiet time to play with a new feature in Arnold for Maya or experiment with an idea. Usually, they fail dramatically, but occasionally something sticks.
AT: It's been a good day when...
LG: I've created something good or learned something new.
AT: It's been a bad day when...
LG: I've been defeated by a technical problem that makes no sense.
AT: It's been a bad day when...
AT: If you could choose one person you've never met to have dinner with, who would it be?
LG: Oyonale (www.oyonale.com). He has been a huge inspiration to me.
AT: Tell us about your winning piece.
LG: It's based on a 3D scan of Lee Perry Smith. I used it to demonstrate how to render curves with Arnold in Maya. I did an Autodesk Masterclass video that demonstrates the workflow.
Lee's winning artwork
AT: You have a very distinctive style, tell us about it.
LG: I just want to try to do something a bit different. I think there is a lot of work out there that is quite 'samey' and I really appreciate work that is original and unconventional.
AT: What have you worked on that you are most proud of or excited by?
LG: Recently, I used some deformation tools in Maya to create some surreal images of some head scans that have proved to be popular.
AT: What inspires you creatively?
LG: Undoubtedly music changes the way I think and affects my work. Photography is very inspiring. My work with XGen was heavily inspired by photography.
AT: What is your biggest challenge when working on a new piece?
LG: Just having the patience to stick with an idea and pursue it without getting bored and giving up.
AT: What is your job position right now?
LG: I am a technical author at Solid Angle where I test and document the Arnold renderer. I work from customer feedback with the engineering team to improve the plugins and documentation.
AT: Tell us about your start in the industry.
LG: I started in graphic design. The company I worked for bought some SGI's with Alias Power Animator software. I used them on the weekends when the senior artists weren't around to build up my portfolio.
AT: What are your hobbies/what do you do in your down time?
LG: I like to watch films and play video games. I also rock climb, swim and cycle a lot to try and make up for my many hours of inactivity.
AT: Advice for the upcoming generation of 3d artists?
LG: There are a lot of excellent 3D artists out there so try to do something different and original.
AT: You live in Madrid, correct? Are you born and raised there? Have you worked/traveled elsewhere?
LG: I moved here from the UK to work at Solid Angle. The chance to work with the Arnold renderer in a country that has sun was a no brainer for me. I used to be a product specialist for another rendering company that involved a lot of travel all over the world to various companies and exhibitions such as Siggraph. I would definitely recommend it.
AT: What do you love most about what you do?
LG: Being able to test and use the latest features in rendering technology is very exciting to me.