Benjamin Low aka Freekilly is a talented designer/digital artist from Singapore. This interview showcases his work that is full of awe-inspiring and vibrant images. Be mesmerized by his art as well as his personality, inspiration and design philosophy through this feature.
We’d like to know more about you. Can you please tell us something about yourself?
I am an interactive art director born and raised in Singapore. I do digital art as a form of interest. I am also currently a contributing artist in Slashthree.
How did your love affair with digital art begin?
Rather than saying a love affair with digital art, I would say it because of this girl I like that got me interested in digital art. She is my current girlfriend, and she is an animator who likes character design, comics, digital painting and art. I started off as a web designer and it was due to her influence that I now do digital arts.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Often, you find people say that their inspiration comes from their daily lives. It is true to a certain extent for me. I wouldn’t really address it as inspiration but rather they are hidden ideas. Our brain absorbs things happening around us daily and at certain point of time, these ideas get unlocked. It surprises me sometimes when I get these visions in my head, and many a times they are simply long forgotten memories.
Throughout the years, how have you evolved as an artist?
I didn’t start off as an artist but as a designer. The journey is long. I believe it is because of the many different disciplines I got into that makes me what I am today. I cannot accept stagnation, so I am always in search of what I like to do most. At one point I was doing web and flash interactive, and in the next, I became involved in doing print materials. Thereafter, I got myself into designing user interface. Right now, I am into advertising and digital imaging. However, I believe digital imaging is ultimately what I want to do.
What is your design process like?
If there is a very clear direction or topic, I would generally start by doing background research. Otherwise, I would just doodle in photoshop or zbrush, then throw in some random patterns or shapes. From there if a form gets defined or imagery starts forming in my head, then the everything else would more or less fall in place later.
Are there any medium you love to work with? Why?
Technologies and softwares such as Photoshop and my Wacom offer us all kinds of possibilities but it can never be compared to the human created art. It the human touch that makes art lots more fun and interesting. I am envious of those who can draw really well and craft art without technological aid or embellishment. For that, Dave Mckean is one of my most admired artist.
What would you say was your big break?
When I got accepted in Slashthree. That was when people started paying more attention to my work and being a contributing artist in Slashthree gave me quite a confident boost.
You made “Reach For The Sky” as a contribution to Slashthree, what was the experience in creating this piece like? Could you explain the concept behind this work?
“Reach For The Sky” was my application piece for Slashthree and later on it became the contributing artwork for the exhibition, “Le Grand Cirque Des Couleur”. Creating it was exciting and then stressful, because I had to convince a panel of judges in Slashthree of my artistic merit within a given time. The brief given to me immediately pointed me to a certain direction, hence, cutting down time for the initial conceptualization. Soon enough, a story about a boy who is color fanatic came into my head. He would do whatever he can, so that his world will leave no room for black or white. The boy was like me trying to achieve his dreams.
With the concept finalized, the rest is to find the right stock images, and getting the layout and details right. Of course during the whole process, things get switched around and are at times repainted. I would say that the detailing process is the most enjoyable throughout.
What can we look for from you in the future? What projects will you be working on?
Currently, I am rather busy at work but I will not stop doing digital art. In fact, I am exploring on how I can combine photo manipulation with abstract art in my present phase of experimentation.
You mentioned that you are currently working for a design agency. What advice would you give to the younger artists who hope to be working for design agencies one day?
To become good at what you are doing and get recognized, it does not matter whether you are working as a freelancer or with an agency. What matters is that you keep working at refining and perfecting your skill and design. However, if you are to work with a design agency, it is best that you find one that shares the same goals and values as you. Your individual beliefs, values and vision are what would distinguish you from the rest in the long run, and not necessarily the agencies you work with.