My interview with Kim Forman can be found here through this link/PDF Files.
-April 30, 2015.
My interview with Kim Forman can be found here through this link/PDF Files.
-April 30, 2015.
MN: Hello Kim! Thank you for taking your time off to do this interview with me. Can you tell me a little about yourself.
KF: My name is Kim Forman, I am 27, a writer and digital artist. I am from Huntington Beach, California and grew up there as a child. Recently, I relocated to Detroit, MI. My passion is music & art, digital, formerly charcoal & pencil. I went to MSJC College in San Jacinto, California where I majored in Abnormal Psychology & Minored Administration of Justice. I also took voice there. As a teenager and young adult, I worked as a makeup artist for MAC Cosmetics & Urban Decay, eventually going freelance. That said, art was always a passion. Something I normally reserved for myself and close friends, as it was pretty personal to me. For the past 8 years, I’ve been working on a book series. I plan on launching it in the Summer with Kickstarter and a Flashy website.
MN: I saw a preview of your upcoming project, Anamnesis. Can you elaborate more about what it is?
KF: The Anamnesis Project is the first in an ambitious series of character driven, high fantasy sci-fi novels. The official synopsis is set on the compelling fictional world of Ista’Ruh. Assembled in a colorful mosaic of intersecting & diverse narratives, the story takes place some years after a world war that sparked a revolution. Dwindling flames of rebellion have yet to be fully extinguished however; Unlikely allegiances are forged when the discovery of a primordial relic ignites conflict unlike anything the world of Ista’Ruh has ever seen. A kaleidoscope of characters brutally collide in this exhilarating, provocative, and enigmatic drama. It is a book series, but it is far larger than that. Accompanying the launch of the website, there will be an immense amount of artwork & music to coincide with the story. In addition to that, I am integrating unlockable concept through the website. There will be codes, some hidden—some not so hidden, which will allow access to certain content on the website. A treasure hunt, per-Se, for people to delve deeper into the world and lore if they so choose.
MN: Any videos to accommodate with the series? Attempts to animate?
KF: I am working on a basic rudimentary intro video at the moment, right now there is very little animation as it is very rough and being story boarded. However, once the site launches in the summer, there will be a video either at launch or within a few months down the line. I am looking at a Kickstarter project, so I will likely have a video to go with that when it lands. The Kickstarter will include stretch goals for a graphic novel, however, and possibly an audio book.
MN: I’ve seen some of your works, self portraits, and characters such as Sahyrn ad Distar from the Facebook page, familiar names. As an aspiring digital artist myself, what would you say are some of your techniques or methods to creating your pieces?
KF: Everything I do is either a. drawn out on pencil and sketched, then shaded with photoshop, or 2. it is digitally drawn by hand using a Wacom Cintiq tablet and minimal resources. For me, my style, I used to be very focused on semi-realism, but now I think the direction that I am leaning is heavily influenced by both Japanese manga & western comics.
MN: Hey! Me too! How long do it usually take to finish a work?
KF: You have to start by learning to draw the basics, I started with faces. I studied faces and used poser and a lot of references for lighting and shade to really get an eye for what I could and couldn’t do. Shading, shading, shading! That’s always the most important step. Take a look at light & shadows and make sure you always have a light source in your head. It is important also to keep in mind the materials of the object you are drawing, cloth, wood, leather, etc. So it looks like it reflects how it’s supposed to and has the right textures. Faces, I think less is more—paint just enough of a person’s face to reflect their personality & emotions, no more no less. As for the art work, it depends. When I started, it could take me a few days. I broke my arm when I was young, a spiral fracture in both wrists, and it was always hard for me to push past the pain to work, but I’d always force it. Now, I have learned to adapt and grow with it, so the pieces I am doing currently are maybe 30 hours on average to finish a singular piece. That includes everything from concept to implementation, shading, coloring, texturing, and the clean up at the end.
MN: Did your teach yourself how to draw? And did you take any art classes during your academic years?
KF: Yes, I have never taken any classes for artwork, but have watched tutorials on Youtube and read a few how-to books.
MN: So what were some challenges of being a self taught artist?
KF: There are tons of trials of being self-taught. You have to find the right people to give you the right critical feedback, to help you know what your strengths and weaknesses are, and what areas to improve. For example, I used to not be so good at perspectives, struggled a lot to make an object look three-dimensional, but I trained myself through lots of trial and error. You have to learn to distinguish the criticism that is useful and constructive, from that which is not. It is beneficial to have another artist to give you feedback, because you can trust their opinions, as they know the struggle you face everyday when you work.
MN: You mentioned before that you majored in abnormal psychology with a minor in admin of justice. How does that correlate with art?
KF: For me, in a literary sense. I was encouraged to go down that path due to someone very dear to me at the time who struggled to make the world a more colorful place, so to speak. I wanted to inspire people and help them in a way that person helped me. In a way which I felt at the time, I might never be able to do with my artwork. Mainly after having severe arthritis set in from my horseback-riding accident in which I obtained the injury to my wrists. To me, I use that material currently for writing. It’s helped me to build on some of the personal attributes of society & characters in my book and what “makes them tick” so to speak.
MN: That’s deep. Were there other sources of inspirations to creating the series and the characters in it? Your driving force that finally made you to decide it was time to bring Anamnesis to life?
KF: Oh, definitely yes. I have been bounded by a lot of darkness in my life. A lot of dysfunction, death, loneliness & sorrow. The inspiration to understand it and move past it really inspired me. I found a lot of my inspiration in people who altered my life for the better, and those people are being channeled in the characters that exist in Anamnesis today. There is a lot of that darkness, there nevertheless. It’s so easy to get caught up in one’s own thoughts & feelings, which we as people often neglect to understand how difficult things are for other people. Essentially that is one of the driving forces behind the series, it’s understanding who you are and why you are. One of the people who helped me more than anyone was my co-writer, Nicholas Welch. He brought so much to the story and helped flesh out the characters, together we clicked and were able to breathe life into this world that we have created, together. In addition to that of course, I think it is important to mention that some of my biggest inspirations have been manga, anime, and games. Story driven ones, of course. I realized it was time to push forward and make this book a reality, and when I realized the mainstream market has slowly been changing. Science fiction & fantasy are becoming one of the leading genres today of entertainment, and I thought I had something unique & original which in my opinion is hard to do in this day and age. Everyone says that about their own work, of course, but I don’t want to bring just one thing to the table, with this story. I want to channel a multitude of thing, to have a multi-faceted original approach, hence why all the artwork and music therein is so important.
MN: What about characters? What were some influences that you used to create them?
KF: Characters, were highly influenced by personal experience. I spent a lot of time gathering my own individual proficiencies and that of individuals who have left marks on my soul. There’s a lot of people whom I revered and, of course those whom I have loathed; I’ve tried to draw out and channel their essences. I want all of it to translate it into a palatable persona. I want to invoke emotion through the project, its characters- even in people who may otherwise not be interested in the genre, or in books. Maybe they’ll see something they like, or hear a sound that resonates inside of them. Read some words that click. That’s the most important thing. I want to reach and appeal to as many as possible, no matter how small. But I dream big. I promised myself that no matter how much time or energy it takes to keep pushing forward with this, no matter how tired I get or how drained I get, to just pour every ounce of my being into this book, it’s pages, the art and everything associated with it.
MN: When is the due date?
KF: Winter for the book release, Summer 2015 for the site. I will say, the site is a massive project all in itself. The content is huge. It’s going to have a ton of artwork, personal biographies, historical timelines, and lots of lore. Character biographies, and all of this, anything you can imagine from technology to religion, all of it world building. No spoilers of course, everything leading up to the opening pages of the book. Of course, it is not required to read or even see, but if you want the information it is there. The website and Kickstarter are really there to just build up interest and promote. Rather the book sells 5 copies or 500,000, it’s all a success to me. My goal is just to get out this story, to touch as many souls as I can. Sounds cliché, I know! My characters would be livid if I didn’t get their story out there. They’re very much flesh and blood in my mind now, as crazy as it sounds.
MN: Haha, I’ll definitely buy a book.
KF: One soul! Hurrah!
MN: The problem is that I don’t really read. People find it odd that I’m an artist, but I rather do calculus. English wasn’t my first language either. Actually, English is a hard language in general.
KF: See! And there are so many people that feel that way. So I think the audiobook is going to be amazing. Or perhaps the graphic novel, if I am able to go that far. Yes, that is going to be a pain. Oh, the audio book, I want to do it in a PLAY style, an audio play, rather than just someone reading. The fun thing about the story is it is told from 3 Point of Views, at least the first book. So you get 3 completely different people to read from. It is an adult novel, there are a lot of adult topics such as sex, violence, war, language, lots of that.
MN: It becomes so successful that an MMORPG will happen.
KF: Oh, believe me I have thought about an MMO, mainly because the world is so interesting, I would like to think anyway, that it could survive and thrive without the focal characters. Not to say that I don’t have a pile of papers with all of this information about an MMO version because I do. MMOs are a passion of mine.
MN: That’s how we met!
MN: What would you say is the overall theme of the series or rather your work/style?
KF: I’d say… The theme is truth. It’s the inevitability that we will all die. It’s about the fragility and pain involved with being a sentient being. It’s about love, fear and death, and the passion that drives us as people, despite or in spite of all of these things. That applies to both me as an artist and a person, and the series, really.
MN: That’s really personal and deep. So onto a personal question, what do you do during your free time?
KF: Oh wow. Free time… what is that?!
MN: Play video games?
KF: It mostly goes into the book, all free time. And if there’s any extra, extra free time… I beat up hookers on GTA V and eat at crappy restaurants.
MN: I don’t know if I could put that part in my interview for my class blog.
KF: It’s okay, just say plays PC games I guess.
MN: Last Questions, and most important, I heard there was an incredibly attractive character, he’s pale skin and platinum blonde, he’s a lot different from your characters or something you have every drawn. Can you tell me more about that?
KF: Oh yeah his name is Athins and he’s a multidimensional being so blindingly beautiful that he steals the breath from your lungs just by gazing upon his form. He’s got this look in his eyes that can make you explode like a fire hydrant after being hit by an SUV. If it’s good or bad I’m unaware, perhaps both.
MN: That Simile… Well thank you for your time, I shall write an interesting article about you.
KF: And thank you as well!
SA: My name is Sofie and I am an aspiring artist slash photographer, umm… I want to graduate from SF state with a B.A. In studio arts with an emphasis in photography.
MN: So what made you pick photography as your medium of choice?
SA: Ummm, did you mean originally or for school?
SA: Umm, okay. So, I think for me I was pretty influenced by my best friend in high school. Or Rachel became best friends already in Junior High school, but we went to high school together. She has always done paintings and installations. And, umm, I don’t know, living in a kind of isolation town, growing up umm, the conversations you carry out with your close friends kind of like, sets up your world and your ideas about the outside world. And She, you know would always talk to me about her art and her umm, politics and philosophy and uh that kind of made me want to create something as well to kind of voice my opinion and emotions and such. Uh, however, I was never good at drawing or painting, the way she was. So, uh, I just kinda picked the medium that I was the most attractive to, by like as a push for… as for a appreciating art, I was always more drawn to photography rather than painting. And also with photography, it’s easier because I don’t actually have to like paint the picture of myself or I can just take a picture and then you just kinda have to like train your eye composition and then you kinda have to gain the technical skills, so that kinda worked out better for me.
MN: What are some of your technique or methods of obtaining that perfect capture?
SA: Umm, so it kinda started with me, just like, before even having like a camera to take the picture myself, I would kinda like train my eyes by taking like mental pictures. Umm, my surroundings and obviously like I said, it was kinda an isolated town, it’s like a town by a lake, it’s an old industrial town with a lot of old factories and such. And in particular, there was this one close down factory, it closed down in the 80’s, but it was really prominent in the 30’s and 40’s in my hometown uhh, that we used to sneak into and like kinda walk around like scavenge and like sit and hang out and talk and smoke cigarettes and drink beer you know? But there were so many artifacts in that place. Kinda meant a lot to me, it was a place to kinda like hide from the outside world and also like stepping into that factory, it had like this amazing feeling of like, once it was like closed down, it was like you know, put down their work tools for the day and whenever you return you know, it was so intact inside, with like machinery and tools and telephones uhmmm, you know, like paperwork, everything. So I started, umm, I got a point and shoot digital camera first, and I would take pictures inside of that place and then I would just take it with me, and I would hang out with my friends and we would just go for walks, and kinda like explore different places so it would be a lot of nature, and then I would do very little talks with my friends that I would record. So it was like you know I wasn’t really like making umm, a final product out of any of this, but in a way, it was a very good training, just to train my eyes, but I didn’t even think at the time that I would ever try to persuade in a career within it or anything. It was just for like play, and I think, by it just being pure play, it was really pure and then it wasn’t until I started, school here and I had to pick of major, well I just want to do photography because I’m really sick of school, I’m like theoretical stuff like I’m not really into writing essays and stuff, so like I’m going to give this a try.
MN: Do you own your own camera?
SA: Well, I had to get my own camera when I start school here to do photography.
MN: How much was it?
SA: I just borrowed a friend’s camera for the first like three years until I got like my own. Uhh, and when I started, like I instantly started like attacking all the major courses as I entered the university and umm I umm that kinda when I learned, thats when I first time I ever like you know, learnt art within an institution, before that I just kinda just play around on my own. Uhh so you know I learn the basic rules of composition, the rules of third… and umm the S curve, shit like that. And the learning how to print in the dark room, I never learn that before. You know, I would just look at the stuff I would shoot, point and shoot digital one, I would just look at it on the computer, and I didn’t use like any software program to manipulate it, I didn’t like put it on a blog or anything because it wasn’t a thing at the time. So that was kinda like a first time that I actually.. and also have to contextualized your piece, I felt like learning how to do at school, I kinda have to like actually gain the real skills of the technical aspects and the compositional aspects and then I kinda have to like umm you know intellectualized my work and umm that wasn’t really a challenge, the technical aspect is still a challenge to me. I still don’t, I’m not good at technology, whatsoever, so like the technological skills that I have to take the photos, I take whatever is something I just have to gain as I go. Umm But it’s been very good for me to kinda like you know my work kinda grow to a higher level then you know, how I would started off.
MN: Well I noticed that a lot of your photography pictures are portraits, I was wondering if there was any personal narratives or stories behind the work.
AS: there is a sense, something I wrote in my artist statement was a picture would show someone elses’ reality looks like. Then the other day I read this article by this really great photographer, whose now umm passed away, who I really look up to. And he said that you know when you take a portrait it’s, a pretty false image, because it’s just like one second of reality that you catch and however, you choose to manipulate that person are gonna think that’s some kind of eternal image, so that kinda like made me question what I said in my artist statement. But I guess, I picked.. I am drawn to take pictures of people, or uhh, it kind be an inanimate object but an inanimate object got an implied persona, or a past life. Umm but I’m drawn to people, kinda like stand out to me that are kinda like.. umm in Swedish we have like this word (Swedish word)…
MN: I’m not gonna be able to translate that..
AS: And, but yeah you kinda like… weirdo. I’m drawn to people like that, both you know when it’s like they ecstatically stand out, but like whoever will interact like them on everyday basis, they will be, they will strike people like who is this person, like why is he acting this way? Or like they’ll be intrigued or find it ridiculous you know? That’s kinda like the people I’m drawn to in general. You don’t have to be like necessary loud or anything, it can a person who’s pretty introvert, but there’s still something about them, because I’ve always like one thing that makes photography uh, a good medium for me, is because, instead of having like, being this actual subject matter myself or whatever, I’ve always been kinda like, I can kinda be like a loud person, but i’m always like, I always observe a lot. I always been an observer. And umm, yeah I kinda like, I tend to like, the way with photos is like I can’t always vocalized what I want to say, but I can visualize it, so when I work with like an image, I kinda just like do my thing, and then when I look at it… I can see the visualization of what I’m trying to say, but when I look at my artwork, its easier for me to vocalize what I’m trying to say. So it’s kinda a process for myself of understanding my uhh, my, to understand, what you call, my conception, perception of the world, the people around me.
MN: So that’s kind of your source of inspiration to take photography or take photos. Are there any other sources, like things that have inspired you but aren’t just people?
AS: Uh yeah, I look at historical events and uh,, historical events and stories, and ummm, I’m interested in the past a lot. I feel like by looking at the past, that kinda like explains the present. And that gives you some guidance as to what path to choice towards the future. So.. It’s mostly things that kinda emotionally or visually, like gets me, or likes peaks of interests for me, like medieval art like there’s like art pieces from a certain area, era that I like. And then I look up like what does things mean in their language or like what does this symbolizes, then look at the historical aspect like within uhmm which historical time or context, was this produce or like what was the meaning behind it, kinda like stuff like that. So for me, history a lot, because going to school, my favorite subjects have always been art, languages, and history. So I think in my pictures, kinda combine the 3 of those.
MN: Speaks a language.
MN: Have you taken any of those historical pictures or it is something you’re aspiring to do?
AS: I think its something more I’m aspiring to do. As of right now, I feel that my portfolio is really limited. As to what I feel like I want to do and I have no doubt that I am capable of doing it. I just haven’t even like gotten around to it because of everyday something bullshit. I had an accident a year ago and that made me unable to use my right arm and I’m right handed. So I wasn’t able to take photographs for a very long time and that kinda push me out of the game. And now I’m kinda starting but I’m conceptualizing getting back, but then I have to actually like in reality…
MN: Do it.
AS: Do it. So yeah. I feel like there’s a lot missing still. But uhh..
MN: Would you say that accident was an obstacle or something you can hopefully overcome.
AS: Well umm, it was an obstacle at the time, but uhh for instance, I was taking a painting class at the time, and I was like well you know I’m just gonna have to learn how to paint with my left arm and in that, I able to create a new style within painting. Uhh, not like I have an painting career on my back or anything. But it, you know you think is an obstacle just attack it and approach uhh, it in a more welcoming manner, it can be an opportunity and that’s kinda like how I look at everything you know, like… I don’t know. Just like a mental hardship or like you go through in life. It’s like, it may suck at the time but you get a cer- a limit of time where you can like yeah this shit sucks but like-
MN: Is that why you took printmaking?
AS: But you turn around. Fuck Printmaking dude. But then you gotta turn around and make like into something ehh like, or utilize it in a positive way in your life. Like it’s all about your attitude.
MN: I see, shit’s always gonna happen.
AS: Shit’s always gonna happen. It’s all about how you’re gonna approach it.
MN: Final question, this is the hardest question.
MN: What do you do during your free time?
AS: That’s so easy (Laughter). Okay. I watch documentaries, uhh I watch documentaries because the thing is so, on my free time, you know, I want to, like, I kinda wanna explore things ongoing… themes and questions in my mind that I can later apply to a piece. So I watch a lot of documentaries about.. uhh religions and different cultures and… political stuff. Uhh just some things to bring awareness to my mind and then that kinda like grow, and then sit on my laptop and I do research on this stuff. And I uhh, I don’t have that much free time, but I like to sleep and I’m really into music…
MN: DJ Sofie..
AS: So I listen to a lot of music and also music is something… some music ehh that I listen to… or actually a lot of music that I listen to, I feel like I can kinda apply uhh to my art as well. If it’s uhh, more stylish music may you say, I.. I definitely apply that within my subject matter. I’ve done series of portraits where its based on the musicians. Uhh kinda like how musicans uhh, I’m more into late 70’s and 80’s stuff. So how style and ways of expressing yourself within music and carrying out your message besides the music itself. So I’ll do stuff like that. I like to shoot people and have like a subculture underground style is really unique but I also listen to more like () music uhh music that is said by the musician themselves, you know kinda an emotional journey of different continents and language and the instruments, like ancient instruments or recreate instruments from like Persia. And make like an epic beautiful like hymns and shit. Uhh so that’s something I spend a lot of my free time doing, listening to music and I don’t just listen to it you know, I like research shit and get really nerdy about it and that’s something that music is really important to me. It’s always been kinda like my best friend you know? Kinda like always been you know? And it’s always gonna be there. It’s like some kind of music to like, to sorta like () like be there for your feelings when you’re in the moment and express them for you, it’s kinda like the voice of your emotions, so like uhh yeah I seek to music a lot to find inspirations, and to apply to my work as well. But yeah that’s it sleep and smoke weed. And eat good food.
MN: Well Alright. Thank you for time and I hope you become a famous photographer one day and I hope you remember me, as your first interviewer.
AS: NO Thank you!
MN: (laughter) No problem.
The person I interviewed was an aspiring Photographer named Sofie Axelson. I asked her questions that involved her inspiration and motives to join the creative field. I have already finished the interview with her and I am currently making the transcription.
-What made you pick Photography as your medium of choice?
-What are some of your techniques or methods to obtaining the perfect capture?
-What are some sources of inspirations?
-Does your photographs tell narratives or personal story?
-What do you do during your free time?
Everything begins with a basic foundation and over time, details and features are slowly molded into the works. I use shapes and simple sketches and gestures as the blueprints as well as the designs for complexity and intricacy for my art. The technique of adding and subtracting layers of shapes and values creates varieties of possible outcomes to choose from. Whether it is an intentionally mark or the removal of a line, these factors can manipulate the directions of my opinion. I have come to this realization as a child when I carved a face out of a rectangular Ritz cracker.
My obsession with lines and shapes had led me to my appreciation to draw characters and people. Like a child who looks at what is on the surface, I only see a drawing of a person as another person without the indication of race, ethnicity, sexuality, or gender. I do not have prejudice of a person based on their physical appearance, but only to adore the beauty they hold. Everyone is equal, but it is these physical attributes that are used to give life, personality, and uniqueness into the subject. Although many people tried to find a deeper meaning or reasoning behind the artwork, I merely admired art for its aesthetic values.
Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” As people become busy with their reality, they begin to lose the creativity and understandings for art. In order to retain that part of our mind, I believe people should not overlook the subject, but to see things from a simple perspective. Even though I am gradually getting older and wiser, my mind is still drifting around Neverland with my imagination.