3DTotal: You mention in your website biography that the landscape in Sweden has been your biggest source of inspiration. Can you tell us a bit about the bearing this has had on your work? Seung: Everyone has a special place where they can escape to and feel fully at ease. One of those
places for me is where I grew up. A small town close to nature; a place where nature is something
familiar and a resource for inspiration. My work itself has not been influenced so much by this rich environment, but rather developed from many other things. Like any kid, I used to read books, watch
films and play games, so most of my visual inspiration came from that. I remember that I used to copy
an endless amount of game characters from the old Nintendo era and come up with stories and new accessories, etc. The environment we lived in consisted
of forests, lakes and more forests. Not everyone has experienced walking for hours in a dense forest on a warm summer’s day, which is something everybody ought to try sometime. There’s something special about being able to open your door and step right into it. The richness is endless and doesn’t finish there - you’ll find new and interesting things every time you go out; the way the tree tops sway high above as the tree trunks embrace you is inspiring; birds and insects chirping; squirrels running up the nearest tree watching you in curiosity; flowers, mushrooms, berries... Everything can be found as you walk on that path. So in short, no my work doesn’t have much resemblance with my childhood forests, but rather the emotions that were evoked in such a place is something that is inspirational to me. I hope to achieve just a fraction of that emotion in my artwork. I want to create pieces that people can watch and feel refreshed by - something that will last after the leaves of the trees have fallen.
3DTotal: During your career so far you have worked at a number of companies worldwide. What have been the most enjoyable projects to date? Seung: It would be very difficult to pick only one project, as there have been so many of a wide variety.The first projects, at the start of my career, were charming, whilst some projects later on have been demanding, an there has been lots of enjoyment in between. I felt distressed by some of the earliest projects (mainly due to my lack of experience), but later felt humbled by the fun and friendliness that greeted me at PDI/DreamWorks, and amazed by the scale and technology at ILM, with London being a little bit of everything, always with a healthy and relaxed attitude to life and work. The first project I worked on in London was “Building the
Great Pyramid” for The Mill. I came from Sweden and had only done a few matte painting gigs before,
lots of conceptual work for games, as well as illustrations. The scale of the project, where quality and artistry mattered, and working with other professional artists, was a bit worrying at first. But none of my fears were actually valid, as everybody was very cool and understanding, making my first job in London
a smooth ride. I owe them tons. The other project I’d like to mention is “Shrek 2” and PDI/DreamWorks. Working on such a fun film, surrounded by great people, is one of the most enjoyable projects to have experienced. Being used to small scale production and going in to one of the biggest feature
animations ever was a big challenge for everyone.
3DTotal:Did you learn a lot from other artists’ when working on “Building the Great Pyramid” that
helped in consequent jobs? Seung: Coming to a new environment, especially a new country with different ways of working, took
some time to get used to everything. Luckily, the team working with me was great and made everything simple and understandable. This was sort of a new medium for me, as I’d mainly done game design, illustration and conceptual work prior to The Mill. I felt that I had the trust from all parts of the company, from team members to management, including the producers, which was probably the most inspiring thing. People pushed me into becoming a more complete working professional, and being appreciated for the work me and the team did made things easier. It’s debatable whether or not this job alone made me a better painter or not, but I definitely learned a lot about how the industry works. Working in this industry does not always mean that you get to do what you are best at, it’s about producing the best work. Getting there is what makes people grow as artists and individuals. People I worked with were far more experienced than me, so naturally you become humbled by the situation and try to soak up as much knowledge as your brain can possibly handle. A lot of the time you meet with clients who are strongly opinionated about your work. Never before had my work been so carefully examined, so that was a new experience for me. It taught me to criticise my own work in a new way. Not only did the matte painting
have to look good, it had to serve a purpose and suit the story. The best shot is not always what looks
the nicest, but one that makes the viewer understand what he/she is watching. This was a new dimension and taught me not to get too attached to your own work, but to be professional and
understand that you’re working for a client. My previous experience with clients had been limited
to freelance clients and smaller in-house CG teams. This job prepared me for new challenges,
as I got into working more and more directly with producers and directors on future jobs.