Featured Artist: Stephan Martinière

White Room

"White Room" by Stephan Martinière. © Copyright by Cyan, Ubisoft. Reprinted with permission.

Among the web sites I discovered in the course of the last few days is the site of French artist Stephan Martinière , only to learn—much to my surprise—that he is responsible for two of my absolute favorite digital paintings: “Hostile Takeover” and “Red”. I encountered those images now and again on the Internet and was absolutely amazed both by the masterful technical execution and the powerful artistic vision, but I didn’t know who had actually done them.

Now that I finally found Stephan Martinière’s web site and looked at his body of work, I realized how good he actually is, and when comparing his own work with the work of other artists in the genre, it becomes quite apparent to me that he is clearly among the best digital artists we currently have.

In the course of his career, Stephan Martinière has worked as a character and environment artist on “Inspector Gadget”, for theme parks, and as a concept artist for movies such as “I, Robot” or “Star Wars, Episode II” and “Star Wars, Episode III”. In addition, he has done award-winning book covers (“Hostile Takeover” being one of them) and worked for several game companies, among those a three year stay at Cyan, working on “Uru: Ages Beyong Myst, “Uru: The Path of the Shell”, and “Myst 5”. He also issued several volumes consisting of his own art work, such as “Quantum Dreams” and “Quantumscapes”.

What particularly amazes me about his work are the astonishing amount of detail and the power of his artistic vision, and when taking a closer look, it becomes quite obvious that among the artists who influenced him are people like Syd Mead, Chris Foss, and Moebius.

Having done graphics myself now for more than thirteen years, besides Stephan Martinière’s artistic vision, one thing I absolutely admire is his masterful use of Adobe Photoshop. But, I think, his art goes far beyond the merely technical; imho, this is what sets a truly great artist apart from the mass. Having been tired of the tons of CGI cars, monstes, and the like, it is a great relief to know that there are people out there who handle the comparably new digital tools with such mastery, hopefully encouraging aspiring artists to do likewise.

Further reading: A number of articles on Stephan Martinière’s web site.


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