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Exclusive interview with Brad Rigney

Dear readers and users RENDERRU.COM to present you an interview with a talented artist - Brad Rigney (Cryptcrawler). This article is a translation of the material was kindly provided to us by Kirill Chepizhko (wxd) from the site 2dgeek.com. In this interview with Brad will tell us about his work and tells a lot of interesting things.


Edition: Who/What influences your artistic style the most? 

Brad: Movies and video games. I want my work to look more cinematic and to have more of a “movie-still” quality to it, I want to create that feeling you get when you buy a new video game and hunker-down in your favorite chair so you can crack-out on it til 4am; that feeling of immersion; of being alone with a special feeling that’s all yours to have. That’s always been the goal but recently I’ve had a renewed drive to attain that goal, which meant trying new techniques that I was very adverse to in the beginning; like incorporating compositing /matte techniques for backgrounds or using a photo-texture to riff off of for a more real result. I wish I had tried these things sooner because I’ve learned so much and it’s so far removed from the “cheating” that I initially thought it to be. It hasn’t made things easier, its actually made it harder, but it’s a good thing; I’ve got to be more accurate, think more, plan more.

Edition: For those unfamiliar, how would you describe the job of a character artist? 

Brad:  I would describe it as conjuring. You want to pull this being out of nothingness and into reality. Who are they? What do they do when no one is looking? What makes them who they are?  What drives them?These are the things I ask myself when I’m illustrating these characters. I feel like they are already there, I just have to reveal them.

Edition: What would you say is the key to your success?

Brad: A willingness to suffer for my craft and the unquenchable thirst to reach my full potential. I don’t feel like I’m anywhere near that.

Edition:  What led you to work in this industry? 

Brad: I was compelled. I’ve been doing this before I even knew what it was called. Later on in life when I had fucked up everything else, this literally became the only thing left for me to pursue and have a chance at being even moderately successful in. I’m grateful for all that other stuff, though; I needed to clear the deck and get my ass kicked so drawing would be #1 in my life.

Edition: When you began your journey as an artist you probably had a few role models, would you name some of your favorite artists?

Brad: Richard Corben. Frank Frazetta. Drew Struzan. Ridley Scott. John Carpenter. Stan Winston.

Edition: What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

Brad: I never got any, which was the best advice I could ever have hoped for. It meant I had to figure it out for myself, which meant suffering and failing and failing again until I made those little discoveries that gave me those little scraps of hope to keep suffering. It was in those dark times – stumbling around, feeling so painfully frustrated and alone, being so demoralized and hungry for progress, feeling so inferior and mediocre compared to everyone else; that I’d never make it, never be competitive – that I found me. No mentors, no tutorials…nothing. So in essence: silence was the best advice I was given. Silence when I wanted nothing more than to be shown some answers.


Edition: What was the main inspiration behind “Citystate”? 

Brad:  Citystate is an amalgamated homage to all of those tense, cool, gritty scenes in movies, when you know some shit is about to get fucking real; that some people are about to get fucking killed. I love those scenes. The drama, the thrill, the anxiety; I tried to tap into that; I wanted people to look at it and hear the soundtrack. I also love Bladerunner -like so many of us – and wanted to tap into that gritty dark-future vibe that we all resonate with and adore from that film.

Edition: What is the source for your inspiration? 

Brad: God. Have you ever looked at any photos or diagrams of the inner workings of the human hand? All those veins, tendons, nerves, muscles all working in perfect concert with our minds. With those hands we can engineer and construct the instruments that allow us to perform surgeries that save lives, or sculpt or write books or play music or draw. Take a look at a map of the circulatory system, respiratory system, nervous system. How the eye works, how the digestive system works. How muscles are constructed and anchored throughout the human body. What happens to the human body when placed in life or death situations or extreme stress; the concert of chemical reactions and synaptic responses that allow us to do impossible, incredible things.

If that shit doesn’t scream design then I don’t know what does. That doesn’t happen out of nothingness, that doesn’t happen out of randomness. It’s designed. How can you not get inspired by that sense of design? By just being alive and having the opportunity to see all this, wonder at all this? Look at anything in nature; a nautilus shell, a tiger, fungi, plankton, a tree, a star, a slug, a cloud – it is perfectly suited for its purpose; perfectly itself; it is an incorruptible expression manifested in reality. We observe it, observe its properties or behaviors at a moment in time and call it science, as if that somehow explains it without even recognizing the magic and power and beauty of its obvious design, of why it “is”. Just being alive is an inspiration to me, its a gift and it’s not guaranteed to be there in the morning. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

Edition: What would you say to someone else starting in the industry?

Brad: Be yourself. Work hard. Stay hungry.

Edition: When on a tight deadline : best techniques to keep focused and finish the job?

Brad Drink shitloads of water, don’t go nuts on the coffee and steer clear of the energy drinks. Use eye-drops, I use Systane Ultra, fucking amazing drops, don’t use Visine. Lose sleep if you have to, get quality sleep if you can. Take a walk when you get pissed off.

Edition: What is the best superpower to have? What is the worst superpower to have?

Brad: Time control. Shitting nuclear fire.

Edition: If you could hack into your brain, what settings would you change? 

BradThe self-loathing run-time errors that keep popping up when I’m working would get permanently deleted.

Edition: Are we alone in the universe? What is the most fucked up alien that you can come up with right now?

Brad:  Absolutely not alone. The human being is the most fucked up alien that I can come up with right now.

Edition:  Would you rather look like Jar Jar Binks or talk like Jar Jar Binks? You are not allowed to kill yourself. 

Brad:  I would much rather look like Jar-Jar Binks , I mean at least I could swim really fast and breathe underwater and shit. There’s also the possibility of kind of hanging back in a crowd, being low-key , friendly, generous and interesting to talk to. Then you could at least have people say ” That Jar-Jar Binks is a really good guy. Don’t get me wrong, he looks like a fucking moron, but he’s a solid dude!” I would also pay someone to assassinate me with loan money from Lucas.

Edition:  Would you rather be ignorant of everything and blissful, or have all the knowledge you want, but be horrible cynical of everything?  

Brad:I already am blissfully ignorant, but that only happened after I stopped being an cynical asshole who knew everything.

Edition: What would be your message to the world before you die?

Brad: Pull your head out of your ass.

Edition: What movie/game has left a lasting impression on you?  

Brad: Bladerunner. I saw it in the theatre when it was released. The ending burned a hole in my head and woke me up to how fleeting, fickle and precious life really is. It still has that effect on me today and I hope it always will.

Edition: What’s your latest interest? How did you get into it?


 America’s founding, particularly The Constitution. What an incredible document and what an incredible story. Think about it, you and like 50 of your friends are sent to this island to colonize it and the guy backing it all the sudden decides his company owns you and all your buddies and has armed guards all over the island keeping you cowed and subjugated. They take more and more of your stuff when they feel like it, kick you out of your huts if they feel like it, kill you if they feel like it. Years go by and you’ve had enough of this shit and decide “Ok, fuck this; I’m tired of being a fucking slave, tired of having my prosperity, life and future controlled by this asshole. No more bullshit! We’re either going to live free or die trying to live free. Come at me motherfucker, lets do this!”

And the people you and your friends are telling this to are much more powerful than you are and have agents in your midst attempting to control and subvert your efforts. The whole world is mocking you, telling you you’ll never do it; telling you you’ll never succeed. You and your friends give up everything, you watch some of them die fighting for it. Then, against all the odds…you win. Its incredible, impossible.

You draft a manifesto that declares that all men are free, that your right to live, to pursue your dreams and defend your loved ones, yourself and your property are unassailable, granted to you by nature, not by man. It’s a masterpiece, a work of genius. Now imagine that your incredible story and manifesto has been distorted. You weren’t freedom fighters, you were just a bunch of old white racists and slave drivers who killed Indians and hated black people. The document you wrote declaring your freedom and the freedom of all men is just an outdated piece of shit that needs to be changed.

It sounds like a fucking cartoon doesn’t it? But that’s exactly what’s going on right now and has been for years. It defies logic, why oppose and demonize such a thing? It’s simple. People in power don’t like being told that they aren’t allowed to control you. But it goes much deeper than even that. I started getting into America’s history when we became pregnant with our first child, I have two now – a 5 year old girl and a 2 year old boy. I’ve since become more and more interested and quite frankly terrified of the country they are inheriting, because it’s not the same one I grew up in. America is currently in a state of what is called “soft tyranny” or “soft despotism”, where a scheming political class keeps giving itself more and more power to take more and more of our wealth to enrich themselves, more and more of our rights and freedoms in the name of “fairness”, “progress” and “security”, while giving themselves a different set of rules they can arbitrarily break should they become inconvenient and exempting themselves from our laws.

It’s maddening to watch unfold because people have become so accustomed to the corruption and to being bullied, talked down to, ruled and coerced by an elite political class. I mean people actually think that their rights come from the government, when they don’t; they come from nature; their right to exist, defend themselves and pursue prosperity are inalienable; they are self-evident! I mean does a fucking shark have to get permission to hunt, live, defend itself or have territory in the ocean? Of course not, so why do we need a bunch of a-holes strutting around, dividing us up into races and classes, calling us “ordinary” and “average”, telling us what kind of health care we are allowed to have, what kind of car we get to drive or how much of our own fucking money we should be allowed to keep? Answer: We don’t need them.

That’s all laid out in The Constitution, it’s a big, beautiful, punk-fucking-rock middle finger stuck up at those who wish to have power and control over you. It’s glorious…and no one wants to hear about it. I dunno, I could go on and on about this. Its so fascinating, but no one seems to give a rip about it or question what they’ve been taught in regards to it and it concerns their own fucking ass; their own welfare, the welfare of their kids! It drives me nuts, but I continue to be a student of it. It’s changed my life.

Edition: What is your favorite scenario for the future of mankind?

BradOne where we stop being lectured on what to think, what’s fair, what’s meaningful and what’s social justice by Washington DC progressives. That’s shit we can figure out for ourselves. Also a future with more shit from the 80′s in it, it was such a magical time. Heavy Metal, Bladerunner, Alien, Creepy Magazine…I get chills thinking about it all.

Edition: Your advice on motivation? 

Brad: You’ve got one life, there’s no save-point and you’re going to die. Go out like a fucking man.


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