Hi Jason, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed by us today. So many artists and CG fans will be familiar with your work and with industry giants Massive Black. In fact, I think working for a company like that is probably a dream job for many artists. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up working there?
I am a senior concept artist at Massive Black, where I've had the opportunity to work on a lot of great titles. I am also a freelance illustrator and I do a lot of book cover illustration as well as work for Magic: The Gathering. I love my job!
Growing up, a large amount of my time was spent playing video games, playing Magic: The Gathering with my friends, or reading fantasy/sci-fi novels. When I was in high school, my family finally got internet service and I was blown away with the fact that I could find art on the internet. I would spend hours searching artists' sites and soon fell into some artist communities online. I think this really pushed me to work on my digital painting and had a large impact on my career path.
I went to college at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco as a 3D modeling major with the intent of getting into the games industry. I immediately changed my major to illustration (there was no concept art major at the time) and tried to tailor my education toward working in the game industry. Meanwhile I was still very active online and was posting artwork in online art contests. I was noticed by Massive Black, which was also a local company, started interning there my final year of school and was hired after graduating in 2006. I've been working there ever since.
Anyone who follows your work would have seen the amazing images you have been posting recently, and will be aware of your exciting new project Zombie Playground. Can you tell us where the idea for this came from?
The idea for the Zombie Playground game came from a painting I did back in 2008. I really liked the idea of kids fighting zombies depicted in a way where you weren't sure if the kids were actually fighting zombies or just playing and you were just seeing into their imagination. It turned out a lot of other people were also into this idea. At MB, we've wanted to make something of our own for a while and we've tossed around a lot of ideas. I was actually working on another game pitch when some of the guys suggested that we do Zombie Playground. So I drew up a game pitch.
I notice that you're using Kickstarter to fund this project. Can you tell our readers a little about Kickstarter and how it works? Can you also let them know how people can benefit from supporting your exciting game?