Okin is a multi-disciplinary artist with a wealth of experience as a professional in the VFX, Television and Games industries and an active member of the cryptoart community on Twitter who is incredibly supportive of his fellow artists. His work is often crafted with a clear love of the textural quality of brush work, whether it is part of a 3D video animation or a digital painting. There’s a dynamic quality to the work and in his own words, the work does not rely upon excessive detailing, preferring instead to retain a looser quality of line and form.
‘Masked – by Okin’ (please see above), exemplifies his approach to texture and mark-making in general. The artwork is an intimate and unsettling video that reveals a mastery of 3D software, texture and lighting. The masked faces dominate the composition as they abruptly transition from one face to another, changing from a cavalier-esque mask, to a decaying one and finally to an almost abstract symbol that resembles a preying mantis. The symbolism throughout is carefully constructed and the scene is further enhanced with a melancholic soundtrack that adds to the sense of unease. The ‘hand of the artist’ is often missing from 3D artwork, however Okin’s work brings it back to the fore with his masterful employment of painted textures that cover the surface of his 3D models.
Okin’s painted works such as ‘Everything is Fine’ and ‘The Breath’, retain a love of mark-making and expressive brush work that have a dynamic and rich quality. The symbolism and meaning behind these works speak of contemporary issues and personal experience during 2020 and the onset of Covid. The skull mask of ‘Everything is Fine’ wears a pair of sunglasses against a fiery and explosive backdrop, seemingly oblivious to the deterioration of society around it, perhaps signifying the ‘new normal’ is to embrace the spectre of death rather than hide in fear from it. In contrast, ‘The Breath’ evokes the very real fear of losing a loved one before their time, as vapours drift in a terrifying dance between a youthful face and a deathly human skull.
Every Okin release reveals a little more of the innate talent that this artist possesses and we believe there is much more to come as he continues to push his artistic talents to new heights. He has the ability to convey real emotion in his work and we can’t wait to see what the future brings.
Okin and Okinmakesart
What is your background as an artist in general?
Ever since I can remember I had always wanted to be an artist. I had always been painting, drawing, sculpting and focused on creative hobbies. As a young child I was amazed by the concepts of creating something out of nothing. I had early access to computers as well, with my older brother handing down a c64 and an Amiga where I began to dabble with pixel art (deluxe paint) and even early 3d software. So I focused on traditional painting and sculpting as well as digital art. Focusing on illustrative and fantasy artworks throughout high school and into higher education, where I switched from illustrative art to working towards 3d modelling and animation as a profession Toystory 1 and 2 being a big driving force. From there I spent the last 20 years working professionally in the vfx, tv and games industry.
I started out my art career as a 3d modeller and character artist for an animation and tv studio, which transitioned into look development and pitch work. My skill set expanded over the years to include more technical aspects of digital art creation. Such as visual effects work and complex character rigging (Making digital puppets from 3d models) and creature effects (Cloth, hair and muscle simulation). This allowed me to move into higher end cinematic works for games, commercials, trailers and episodic content. My work on the creative and technical side continued where I focused heavily on cutting edge character art and effects work. This led me to computer graphics supervision and procedural technical art (Using programming and visual code to create art content) After many years of working in the pre-rendered realm of computer graphics, I switched to the world of realtime in game development.
Alongside my professional work I never stopped creating my own creative art. This is where I continued to develop my styles, techniques and my never ending quest to learn as much as I can about art.
What is your overall process in generating art?
Like yourself I am a multi disciplined artist at heart. You can see that from the wide breadth of art in my portfolio which as of yet don’t include any of my traditional artworks. I guess one thing I’ve noticed for my own art be it traditional, digital, 2d, 3d or immersive I almost always work like a sculptor. There’s something I love about blocking in large chunks of the art in bold brash ways then pushing and pulling, carving and refining especially when working digitally. I like to feel the process, sure I can do finely crafted sketch and line work to start with, but I don’t enjoy that as much as the rendering stage of my works. So I made this part of my process by choice.
When it comes to my 3d art and animated pieces, I like to jump right into the 3d work. I rarely sketch or plan my 3d art in 2d, as I generally think in 3d space and with the rise of 3d sculpting applications one can quickly block out designs and ideas.
How would you describe your art in your own words?
My art tends to hit multiple genres, I love to create artwork that conveys a type of fantasy or surrealist vibe but can also tell a story and have some meaning to them. My works inspired by the current covid pandemic ‘Everything Is Fine’ (https://knownorigin.io/gallery/214050-everything-is-fine)
Both were born out of my own emotional responses to the situation we are all sharing. ‘The Breath’ has a dark tone as this encapsulated a time where friends and relatives had been hit badly by covid itself coinciding with two close family members being affected by lung cancer. So this artwork really is a mix of the psychological and emotional impact of all of that and using this to forming a physical presence for the unseen dangers all around. While ‘Everything is Fine’ is more in tune with how we as humans deal with complex situations by attempting to normalise everything we can. This painting really is a caricature of this and the year of 2020.
For my portraiture work over the last few years I’ve focused on creating works that have a sense of realism , but as you come in closer as a viewer you can feel the art, the brush marks, textures and most importantly the portrait’s should have soul. So my goal isn’t to create hyper realistic portraits as I hold back on that type of excessive detailing, but more to create connections. It’s cliché but it’s almost always that connection through the eyes. With each artwork you will feel something, it may be subtle, intense or literally screaming at you.
My immersive works are part of my experimental series, ‘Masked’ (see the CAN review above) and ‘Spiritual Reality’ are in line with my exploration into AR and VR used as tools to create the experience rather than being the experience. Both are story driven pieces, abstracted heavily. ‘Masked’ is one of those artworks that really can mean many things. It is a performance piece by me, with my own digitally painted masks but what it stands for I’d like people to paint their own picture, their own Masks in a way. Emotionally it’s created to push the feeling of unease and intrigue.
Favourite artists / influences?
I love just about anything from the renaissance and dutch painters, I have huge respect for the artists and their amazing paintings. From a more modern standpoint I grew up admiring many of the great fantasy artists, Greg and Tim Hildebrandt , Boris Vallejo, Frank Frazetta, comic artists such as Simon Bisley and Bernie Wrightson. I definitely have had influences from the fantasy and comic art spaces early on, similarly growing up with video games, warhammer and anime. These days i’m loving the sculpting work from the Shiflett Brothers and Simon Lee (spider zero), as well as the amazing artworks from Karl Kopinski and Kim Jung Gi!
How did you discover Crypto Art NFTs?
If i recall it had been a video from the awesome EllioTrades youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/c/FUDTV/about and some content from the excellent Lark Davis https://www.youtube.com/c/TheCryptoLark/about NFT art felt like a natural fit for myself, especially after being in the crypto blogging space for a few years.
Has the digital nature of cryptoart NFTs changed how you approach your art practice?
It hasn’t for my self. Being a digital artist by trade means nothing really changed from an art perspective.
What if anything, has surprised you about this new area of art practice?
How awesome the community is, I have to say I’ve made some amazing friends and connected and collaborated with artists from around the world. Its also been crazy to see all the amazing art, the different movements and projects happening within the NFT art scene.
How would you like the field of cryptoart and nfts to evolve over time?
From a tech POV I’d love to see cross chain and layer 2 solutions allowing multiple blockchains to work together and/or reduced transaction fees on ETH especially. Without changes to the current systems regarding ETH gas fees, we will begin to see Artists and Collectors that are effectively priced out of the NFT space leaving just the Crypto Whales. it would be great to see onboarding of more traditional art collectors into the space. Improved 3D and VR capabilities on the platforms and much more elegant handling of NFT collections vs NFTs that have been created by a user.
How can access and information to this new field of art practice be encouraged?
It’s all about onboarding and platforms maturing so that ease of use is maximised. Crypto has a learning curve and it can be scary for new users and that directly impacts the NFT art scene.
Anything you’d like to say that this form hasn’t covered?
I’d like to thank community for being supportive and just outright awesome. As well as a big thank you to your self Craig for inviting me along for this interview.
Thank you Okin!
CAN – You can view more of Okin’s work via his social media feeds above and www.knownorigin.io/okin