Q & A with Aleksandr Kirilenko
3D Concept Art presents a Q & A with Aleksandr Kirilenko, a very talented artist specializing in characters. He has been around for about eleven (11) years working in the entertainment industry. He has worked with companies like Starbreeze Studios, Platige Image, and Ninja Theory. He has also worked on Toys and Collectibles in companies like Prime1 Studio and many more.
He is currently working at Fox3D Entertainment on several high profile projects, creating both high-end characters and creatures for cinematic game trailers. He has worked on titles like Batman: Arkham Origins, Payday 2 and recently Overkill’s The Walking Dead and several projects still in development.
With pleasure, 3dconceptart presents Aleksandr Kirilenko.
| 3D Concept Art: Tell us about you and how did you become interested in 3D modeling, digital sculpting and to work in the entertainment industry??
| Aleksandr Kirilenko: → I don’t believe it was a chance, but the way I became interested in 3D certainly looked that way. In 1998 I got three video games for my birthday: Caesar 3, Worms 2 and Diablo. I loved all of these games – I’ve installed Ceasar 3 recently, what a reminiscent bliss! – but I was more interested in their bonus content than the games themselves: I loved the cinematics.
None of the games made me want to rush into my parents’ bedroom and ask for a powerhouse of a PC and all the 3D software, but they planted a seed in my head.
Funny side-note. Worms 2 disk was corrupted, a pirated disk, like most of them in the 90s in post-USSR countries, and the cinematics was the only content that was accessible on it. I think I still remember every single one of them by heart. I highly recommend people to go check them out on Youtube.
Another side-note but less funny. Even after playing video games and watching films with VFX, I never wanted to work in the video-games or film industry. I never wanted to be an artist, digital or otherwise, before or after I started using 3D software. I began wanting some things and dreaming about others much later in life. I’m still learning to be careful and patient with this power: you never know what form your dreams will take and where they will come from. The key is to develop yourself in such a way that you could handle those dreams once they appear in your life.
| 3CA: In your experience working as a senior/lead character/creature artist, what has been the most difficult to learn, to get better at in your career?
| A.K: → Interacting with people. In my teenage years, compared to my childhood, I wasn’t exactly actively throwing myself into life. This made me defenseless and often clueless to my own and other people’s emotional needs. I had great friends but I was rarely going out spending most of my time doing 3D instead. The love for it wasn’t the main drive, too. Side note – it’s a good reality check to examine your passions. Starting doing freelance didn’t improve the situation one bit because it was small conversations behind the computer screen that didn’t show or teach me much about real human interactions. All of this is not to say I was an alien who didn’t understand humans, but having been put into the lead position with a team of a dozen artists to manage, I quickly realized that I spent most of my life living in a bubble. It’s good to be on the outside now.
| 3CA: Where do you get inspiration from and who are your role models?
| A.K: → Museums and literature. I rarely get inspired by digital artists. I almost completely stopped checking Artstation, for example. The only inspiration I get is when I see a beautifully designed piece in 2D and I think to my self that it would look cool if it was done as a sculpture.
I don’t see any role models today either. We live in an age of narcissism when one of the main qualities I look for in a role model is mostly missing. I’m talking about humility. It seems people are even coming up with some holidays just to show off. “Artstation Day” is a prime example. Understanding that there is some value behind this exposure of one’s achievements, only a few people ever give gratitude to the platform that allowed them to show their work, connect with others, collaborate and now make money.
Instead, it’s mostly “Look at me, me, me”. With that point of view, I’m looking back in time to find role models. There is one person I particularly admire and love that lived roughly two thousand years ago. Slightly less far away, I have a couple of good friends who I can rely on when I get stuck. Another side-note: having brutally down to earth people as friends are invaluable for an artist. But to bring it back to something more relevant to the interview, I think Rafael Grassetti is a good role model for beginner character or creature artists. I like and respect the guy.
| 3CA: As a digital sculptor, what has been the most difficult when providing modells to such a well-known studio, Prime1 Studios?
| A.K: → I have a tick that I don’t want to remove any time soon. This tick makes me create things of the highest quality I can achieve regardless of the project or the client. So in that sense, the pressure to deliver something of high quality is always on and Prime 1 didn’t make me any more nervous than I usually am when I start working on something. The biggest challenge here was delivering the models on time. I’m no stranger to working full time and having demanding freelance work on top of that, but the amount of work here was simply overwhelming. I don’t know what happened to those sculptures, the first one of which I made almost two years ago, but I hope they haven’t been put on a shelf for projects that will never see the light of day.
| 3CA: Any good advice for artists and students who want to get into the business as a 3D Artist in fields like cinematics, commercials, and Toys and Collectibles?
| A.K: → This is a broad list, but I believe every single one of these items will help:
Dream big, but have no expectations. Work hard, but work on yourself harder. Turn yourself into a role model for others. Be kind, clearheaded and modest. Give credit to those who deserve it. Develop thick skin by not shying away from life and people. Don’t use your problems as a right to demand something. Work on your weaknesses. Work on the way you take criticism. Work on your anger. Belief in yourself – you are greater than what you think you are. Don’t compare yourself to others – you are unique and this is your superpower. Don’t get attached to your creations – creativity is capricious and unpredictable, some days yield better results than others. Do something challenging. If you fail – do it again and do it right. Take responsibility and don’t lie. Develop an eye for beauty. Work with other artists. Learn to plan and organize.
You as a person are more valuable than your skills. Don’t overestimate the latter over the former. Your attitude will ultimately dictate where you are going to end up in life.
3D Concept Art Community thanks Aleks Kirilenko for sharing his know how. Don’t forget to belief in yourself, learn to collaborate with other artists and have a nice attitude.