Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Favorite Artists - Zhu Bajiee

I am very excited to announce that for today's Our Favorite Artists post I had the pleasure of interviewing none other than Zhu Bajiee.  Zhu has been involved with both Barrowmaze I and II and has also done work for Red Box Games. Zhu took a few minutes out of his schedule to answer some questions for me back in 2012, and now in 2014 I present to you dear readers his interview!

  • First of all, thanks for taking some time out of your day to speak with me, please introduce yourself and give us a brief bio:
Hi! I'm Zhu, which is my artist name. I have  a real one too.

  • When did you first discover your creative talents?
All my mates in school said I was better at drawing than them. Then  I went to art college, which was full of people in the same position, and realized that being the best isn't what it's about.

  • How would you describe your style and where do you draw your inspiration from?  Do you have a favorite piece you have created?
Black and white, grimy, graphic fantasy. The things that make me most want to draw stem from history and folklore mixed together into modern sensibilities. The writings of Tolkien and Gygax are very inspiring, then so is nature, walking though the wilder, green, growing places of the countryside, and I generate have half a hundred ideas for drawings.  I couldn't choose a favorite piece, it would be unfair to the others.

  • Who is your favorite artist? What draws you towards his or her artwork?
There's a whole bunch of people whose work I admire. It's difficult to pick one. If I were to say one that has direct influence on my artwork, it's Aubrey Beardsley, his command of line and space is beyond genius. It's really his craft that gets me - the penmanship, something I've always eschewed in my own art, is exquisite. I generally prefer his more tame pieces (Morte D'Arthur) to his erotic stuff.

  • Is art a full time occupation for you?
In the sense that I'm thinking about it when I should be doing other things, yes.

  • What projects are you currently working on?
I've got a lot of stuff for Barrowmaze 2 to do for Greg, I'm loving the dungeon-crawl aspects and all the strange archeological references.   I've also got some character designs I'm working on that are at sketches at the moment.  Right now I've got a drawing of a Red Box Games Helsvakt underway, and am just taking a break before doing some more tweaks.

  • You've created art for a number of gaming products, are you yourself a gamer and if so what are your favorite games?
Yes, I play games. I really like early editions of Warhammer (more strategic and complex than of late) and AD&D, which is the daddy of them all. The board-game Talisman is fantastic, and I'm also guilty of Fighting Fantasy.

  • Who is your favorite musical artist and why?
I listen to a lot of music.  It's a bit cheesy, but music is about setting the mood, staying motivated to work. I've just finished a private commission for a collector, based on early TSR D&D, whilst doing that I almost exclusively listened to folk and electronica - bands like Pentangle, Espers, Goblin, The Advisory Circle. The stuff being put out by Ghostbox records, for me it's very D&D. Today I've been drawing a messed-up psychopathic norse warrior, so I've been listening to 90s grindcore bands like Bolt Thrower, Napalm Death, Carcass.

  • What was the last book you read?
Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy.

  • Where can the readers go to see your art?

I've recently set up a deviant art account as well,

  • Lastly, any words of advice for aspiring artists?
I'm not really qualified to offer advice. There are a lot more opportunities to get your work seen by the right people now than ever before, and you can probably find an audience for your work much easier today than 20 years ago.  I've been very fortunate to find people who like what I'm doing enough to commission it, so a big thanks to them.