Friday, March 1, 2013

ARTIST of the MONTH of MARCH: Bridget Konopka (neé McKahan)

Q: What is your name, major and year at RISD?
A: Bridget Konopka (maiden name McKahan)

Illustration 1999

Q: What was your favorite class or teacher at RISD?

A: Judy Sue’s children’s book illustration’s class. I wrote and illustrated a book that I still would like to finish one day. It was really fun and informative about how to make a children’s book.

Q: Who or what inspires your work now? 

A: I enjoy going to the museums and gallery openings here in LA. The City is full of art, new and old that is very inspiring. I also travel a lot and like to take pictures of textures I find in nature, and in cities. These are always helpful when doing texture painting. 
Q: What are you currently "doing" these days?

A: For the past 10 years I have been working as a 3-D artist and then an Art Director for kids video games.With my background first being in illustration and sculpting I then went back to school to learn you do use those skill in the digital realm. I have worked on Toontown Online, Pirates of the Caribbean Online, and a few others. I really enjoy working in 3-D and creating great looking assets for games, and the problem solving that comes with it. There is always a balance of art and technical limitations in games. You can make a game look amazing but if it is too heavy to heavy to run, you don’t have much of a game. I enjoy working with the tech team to see how far we can push the art, and come up with new ideas and techniques to get the best of both worlds when possible. Another area I specialize in is avatar design and customization. It is really important to create a good avatar system for a game. The more the player identifies with their avatar, the more they will enjoy playing.

Q: And what are you currently working on? 

A: Currently I’m working on my portfolio and trying to brush up on programs like Z-Brush. (A digital sculpting program that is pretty amazing) 

I’m also may do a video tutorial for Gnomon School of Visual Effects in the near future.

Q: What has changed the most for you, as an artist, in the last 10 years?
A: I think the thing that has changed the most for me as an artist is that my career has taken me from being very hands-on artist to more of a director and manager. I don’t do as much art as I used to, but I’m now making an effort to do more of that on my own.

Also the technology is always changing and evolving especially in the digital field. There is so much out there it sometimes feels like it’s hard to keep up. I think it’s good to focus on what you enjoy and what will help you in your career. You can’t be a master at every program out there.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? In 10 years? 

A: Who knows, I will probably be doing more consulting and freelance work, or maybe just making art on my own for my own enjoyment. Only time will tell.

Q: What do you love/hate about the "Art Scene" in LA?

A: I love the abundance of the LA art scene. There is every type of art here to see and experience. I’m a member of the LACMA  Avant-Garde group, and they have great art events that I attend regularly throughout the city.
Q: What do you want to see out of the RISD LA Alumni organization in the future?
A: I think the activities you have planned so far have been great. I can’t think of anything else I would want at the moment.

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