We recently had the chance to sit down with young digital artist Nicolas Monin-Baroille to discuss starting young in the field of digital art, working within art collectives, and his out-of-the-box artistic style. Take a moment to read this interview, and take a peek into the mind of this young dynamo.
Q Welcome to Psdtuts+, please introduce yourself. Could you tell us where you’re from and how you got started in the field?
Hey guys! My name is Nicolas Monin-Baroille and I’m a 19 year old Digital Artist and Illustrator from Offenburg, Germany. I’ve started around 4 years ago (probably 5 but I’m only counting in the parts where I was seriously interested in doing it and knew it’s going to be more than just a hobby) browsing a few graphics forums doing signature pictures for a while and eventually got on to a larger format and audience. Since that I’ve seen a lot and went through many changes, fun times for sure.
Q You’ve been creating art for online audiences since you were quite young. How has that experience shaped you as an artist?
Yes indeed I have, I think this experience has influenced and shaped me in many ways, being young and naive I wasn’t aware of dealing with critique, guidelines and rules. Being thrown into a whole different area – considering I’ve only did some small sized pictures for a handful of people before, knowing the program just enough to get results which were okay for being free – was a very different feeling than just a forum. The quality standards for those audiences have been high at their time (a bar which is put higher by every new release), especially in a year such as 2008, where a lot of trends were created and digital art thrived with ideas and inspiration. It has been a breakthrough year for most people as well. Meeting these standards was hard, for my younger me at least. But it helped me lots in the end. My work and knowledge has grown, my awareness for little things and composition got much better. Lastly, I can only say it’s been difficult but one hell of a great experience I can only recommend those who are curious to try.
Q Outside of creating art, what are your other hobbies or passions and how, if at all, do you think they have influenced your art (or vice versa)?
My hobbies and interests vary a lot. I’ve been doodling and drawing since I was quite young, I absolutely love watching good movies and TV series, listening to music, getting outside, going out and partying with friends and family and some sports. First off I can say that the last few things, like going out and sports, do not directly influence me, they motivate me. Motivation is one of the keys to success and satisfaction, so I think it’s safe to say that the motivation of doing these things does influence me. Music and good plots in movies or series, even books play a good part in this as well. If it wasn’t for those – I always wanted to do a tribute for things I liked, doing abstract work this didn’t seem too easy, you know – I wouldn’t know if I had done a portrait in my whole life. But Drawing is probably one of the greater ones, using other media and styles for completely new things, especially in this new year.
Q You’re a part of both Slashthree and Intrinsic Nature, actively submitting to both collectives. Just how much has being in these international, online art collectives helped you grow as an artist?
Like I said, joining early has definitely changed things quite a lot, meeting new people with different styles, opinions and attitudes. Being part of a collective helps a lot, you get feedback from people that usually are better than you and have got more years of experience in general. One major thing that helped me was to work with themes, ideas and briefs, they think of something cool and then everyone’s working on it, with their own interpretation. It’s a professional but fun atmosphere and I’ve been keep topping my own work by miles every single exhibition/experiment.
Q Even though you’re studying Graphic Design, a lot – if not all – of the styles you have experimented with have been highly innovative and outside-the-box. Where do your ideas come from?
Thank you! Yes that’s right, but only for roughly less than a year. Still, I’m looking forward to those 3 years of Graphic Design. My ideas, it’s hard to explain. Unlike most people would, I start straight with a blank canvas and a metaphorical brush in my hand. I create by instinct and looks, what works stays, what doesn’t goes. The ideas just keep flowing in like "I can do this and that and oh this could be nice." It’s a pleasure for me to start something and show it to fellow artists, friends and my family when it’s done. And it’s simple, really. An idea can evolve out of anything you want, whenever you want. Draw inspiration from your daily life, music or any other media. Once an idea hits you hard enough, you can create something stunning entirely from a blank space.
Q "Marley” is a fantastic portrait of the great Bob Marley, created with an outstanding, innovative style. Could you walk us through the creation of the piece, and just where you came up with the painting style?
Oh yes, Marley was a special one. The portrait of Bob was the initial start of a total of 3 portraits I’ve done for Slashthree’s Quote/Unquote. The idea was there way before but without the skillset to execute it. To get it similar I’ve taken a popular image of Bob Marley as a reference, drawing shapes on top of him to get everything right. Sadly his right eye was covered in black so I had to freestyle on that part. When I got a raw version of him I started adding various smaller shapes to the inside, all of them being patterns, colors or gradients. I was going for a funky feel in the whole piece so the more colors I added, the better it got. I also used a lot of adjustment layers to correct colors, bring them out much more and to help the background a bit being less boring. I’m not exactly sure how I came up with the stylistic approach of it but I was upset at that time that I couldn’t do portrait work like other artists do and had enough ideas but no motivation to try it out. One day I just did and the results are pretty impressive, to me at least. I was really surprised that it turned out like I wanted it to be. I must also credit the help I received from my friends at Slashthree.
Q Thank you for a fantastic interview, Nicolas. Do you have any final thoughts or reflections for our readers?
Thanks for the opportunity! Don’t give up too easily, experiment and do what you want!