3DTotal: Hello Kai, can you tell us about yourself and how you ending up drawing for a living? Kai: I was born and grew up in Berlin, during the time of the East German dictatorship. I followed drawing during my childhood, but wasn’t serious enough about it. Due to the combination of the socialistic, communistic and totalitarian society of the former GDR and my politically rebellious nature, I constantly ran into trouble with the law. So studying at a state university was not an option for me. I got into digital art out of sheer personal interest and worked my way through in a self-taught manner.
3DTotal: So could you give a little insight into your progression as a self-taught artist? Where did you get the most help and do you have any advice for anyone just starting out? Kai: Well, regarding my progression, there’s not much to say – it was just learning by doing. But, if anyone asked me, I’d definitely recommend getting a professional apprenticeship, if possible. Speaking for myself, the best help I always got was the critique from others, especially from fellow artists. Every artist should long for critique, because it’s very likely that you’ll get blinded by routine, which makes it impossible to judge your own artworks objectively. So my recommendation to every young gun out there is: get rid of your artistic boast, because this will keep the critique from reaching your ear. Praise is good for the ego, but it’s constrictive critique that helps you to improve your abilities.
3DTotal: Looking over your portfolio, I can’t help but notice that you’ve turned what is a seemingly loveable creature into some sort of freakish lab experiment. Could you tell us about “Roughneck Rabbit’s” and how you came up with the initial idea? Kai: I had the idea to open up a thread on a German board, in which users could create their own character (based on freakish laboratory creatures), and have their creation “fight” another user’s creation within a picture. To make it look like a real “Beat ‘em Up”, I created a handful of layers with life/energy bars etc. and offered them for download. I created “Roughneck Rabbit” as a starting base and my friend Mario Leuschner threw his “Fat Squirrel” into the mix. Those two also had their first “battle” against each other. The whole thread got closed a while ago because the forum hosts deemed it as too violent for children.
3DTotal: What are your plans for the Roughneck Rabbit’s? Kai: There are no real plans. The “Roughneck Rabbit’s Fight Club” (RRFC) is a personal project, that develops sporadically and gets new images and concepts added whenever Mario and I have a bit of time off. Should we ever get the chance to put a nice portfolio together that features our project in the right light, then we can move on and see what we can actually do with it. Neither of us wants to try to sell an unfinished idea!
3DTotal: Whilst still rummaging through your portfolio, I came across three pieces that particularly caught my eye; if I give you the names of the artwork, could you tell us what inspired you to create them? 1. SpiFish_7,
3. Bill ‘n’ Bob Muroidea Kai: Well, all three images have a common source: they were made for the RRFC
3DTotal: 1. SpiFish_7 Kai: Simple idea. How can a fish fight against land-living animals? Easy, if he’s in some sort of robotic suit that holds his water tank!
3DTotal: 2. Snail-o-Morph Kai: A snail might not be physically morphing but she can give the impression of doing so if you just look, i.e. how her eyes change if they’re exposed to a touch. On top of that, the idea of a small, slow and unimposing snail that morphs into a fearless monster sounded absurdly cool.
3DTotal: 3. Bill ’n’ Bob Muroidea Kai: Rats are a classic and can’t be missing in a host of laboratory creatures. Bill and Bob are brothers, in which the head of the smart brother Bill got transplanted away from his weak body and onto the body of his brother Bob. Bob, on the other hand, is strong but rather simple in nature. It gives you the opportunity to make funny twists where cunning Bill tries to get simple Bob into a fight, or even when they’re having a differing opinion about something.
So do you have any new characters in the pipeline?
Damn sure! [Laughs].