Meet tech13 : Admin/Co-Owner of Razorart by Migellito
Two and a half years ago, when I first started going through the
wallpaper section at Skinz.org, there were only a handful of pieces there
that struck me so much that I looked up the artist's site and hungrily
went in search of more. One of those artists was Michael Bodine,
known to Skinz as tech13.
I downloaded all I could from his site, and continued to watch for more.
Two years later, tech13's art can still be found quite frequently on my PC
at work and on my Mac at home. At one point, I began an extensive
NextSTART skin as a compliment to one of his pieces, but realized early on
that I simply wasn't doing it justice.
As the skinning communities and digital art communities slide against each
other, sharing, collaborating, and communicating, one place where they
connect is Razorart.com. As admin and co-owner of the site, tech13
has taken a major hand at integrating skinning, art and music.
Tek:Your work seems to show an extensive background in traditional
art. Is this true? tech13: Well, growing up I used to always draw whenever
I had spare time and this was mainly before computers so thats how I had
to get by. I used to draw some of my favorite cd cover logos and such, and
I was really into it at the time.
Tek: Were you drawing your own inserts for commercial cd-s you'd
bought? tech13: At the time, I just mocked the covers and tried
to reproduce them by hand. Keep in mind this was back in 1989 or so but
around 1994 I started making my own inserts for cassete tape compliations
that I made. This was before I knew Photoshop so I did everything on CAD
because that was the program I was most familiar with - because I used it
everyday at my job. It was really exciting back in those days going
through all the effort it took to measure the pages and such. I was always
excited to make another one. Later on when cd-r's became poplar I started
doing cd covers and learned photoshop.
Tek: I think you're probably one of the only designers well known in
the skinning community who started on AutoCAD. What was the job you
were using CAD with? tech13: I graduated in 1994 after going to a vocational
school for Engineering Drafting, I got a job at a Land Surveying Company
doing CAD work. I am still in the CAD working field but I now work at a
Civil Engineering Company.
Tek: Do you think coming from CAD to Photoshop has influenced your
style? tech13: Of course...although I may not like to admit it
CAD has had a big influence on my art direction in photoshop. A lot of my
images have geometric shapes and such which you might know I use a lot.
and they all came from my cad work
Tek: There's also a great general sense of technical precision,
although your work has grown more organic over the past months. tech13: Yeah that's true.. I have been devolping a
gritty style over the last 6 months or so.
Tek: Is there a conscious influence involved in the
move toward 'grit?' tech13: Well my main influence toward the
"grittyness" look comes from an artist I look up to a lot, Dave
Mckean. I also have lots of problems accepting my work and being satisfied
with it. I feel that in my mind that I could do so much better and
sometimes it gets frustrating, I think I will always be into the gritty
Tek: Are there other artists, either traditional or digital, who you
see as influences or favorites? tech13: Not really. I don't really get into many
peoples stuff in the "community" except for maybe pixelphreak.
Dave Mckean pretty much does it for me. If some of you arent familar with
him I highly suggest you check him out. http://www.dreamline.nu/
Tek: I actually wrote for the article board on one of Pixelphreak's
sites for awhile. That one has kind of dissipated now. Is
Pixelphreak still active? tech13: I still talk to him every once in awhile. He is
having some problems lately with his sites but I hope he gets back in it
real soon because he is someone to look up to. His Typography skills I
would kill for.
Tek: They are excellent. I just took a quick look at Dave
Mckean's site - very impressive. You've been involved with other
artists before in various groups such as Siere. How did that
relationship begin? tech13: Actually, my first group was CIA, and I
joined that way back in November of 1994. I was introduced to the art
scene by an artist that went by Chainsaw Design. I was amazed to see that
there were other people into the same things I was into. I was in that
group for about 4 or 5 months and it really helped me to get started - and
I met a lot of new artists that I could associate with. I joined Seire
after that 'cause me and Spot got along really well, and it seemed to be
going in a better direction than CIA was going. I met lots of great people
along the way and finally decided to quit the artgroup thing for awhile.
Tek: Other than meeting some great people, do you think the art
groups have been a positive experience for you? Is it something
you'd recommend? tech13: Well, I have lots of my own opinions on
artgroups. I am trying to get back into one right now thats a little top
secret at the moment. I've had ups and downs with artgroups. A lot of
people know that I had many problems with Seire and its just
something I'd like to forget cause it looks as though it will never get
resolved. If someone asked me if they should join an artgroup or not I
would probably say yeah go ahead and join but watch how much you get
involved with it because the more I got involved, the more I had problems.
It helped me out greatly as a digital artist, but it didnt help me on
Tek: Can you go into any of the problems you experienced? tech13: I just got too invloved at times and trusted
some people maybe I shouldn't have, and it caused quite a bit of problems
with my viewings on the community in general. A lot of the community is
helpful but once you get a little well known, people like to stab you in
the back and it just starts to not be fun.
Tek: Probably your most public association is now with Razorart.
Would you say it's basically your site? tech13: No. It is officially owned by 3 people.
Me, Theremon and Thredz. They all contribute a great deal and I wouldn't
choose anyone else to work with. We have a good staff too. Everything is
going great and razorart and it is basically my main focus. I always
wanted to start and art and music based site because most of my inpiration
comes from music as well.
Tek: Definitely great company :) In some ways
Razorart is almost like a Rolling Stone or a Spin combined with digital
art and skinning. Could you take us on a quick tour of Razorart's
features? tech13: Yeah. Basically Razorart.com is a site based
art and music and features many things. Each month we have a featured
section for 3 areas. We interview at least 3 bands that are usually
underground bands that no one else or not many people have heard of. I
have discovered lots of great music out there that people will never hear
on the Top 40 charts, so I like to think razorart has a good influence for
people to find out about new bands. We also feature a new artist each
month that we think has some great design skills and is someone people
should look up to or recognize.
The third featured section is the skinner. We do a new skinner each month
that we feel has some great talent and like to give as much exposure as we
can to them. We also have a wallpaper section where each month we feature
a new theme and wallpapers are done according to the theme. Each issue the
new theme is released for the next issue so people can work on walls for a
month in advance.
We also have reviews for games, cds, dvds, and new movies. Most of these
reviews are done from supporting people in the community. I would like to
think of razorart as a good source for the underground art and music
scene. We just released some new features where people can sign up to be a
member and it allows them to comment on anything on the site and also
automatically puts them on the street team where they can send in
their own reviews of basically anything they want to review in the games,
cds, dvds, and new movie areas. We have more features coming up to make
things even easier so stay tuned.
Tek: It's a really amazing site, and accepting 'help' from people
across the internet is a great way to use this resource. When I
visit your old personal site, tech13graphics, I see the single word
'perfect.' Can you tell us what that signifies, and do you have some
plans for that site in the future? tech13: My personal site...i knew this one was coming
:) A few weeks ago I had a different "quote" on the site and it
said "wonderfully beautiful in a depressing way."
"Perfect" means just about the same thing. I have decided to
shut tech13graphics down permanently. I don't know exactly why, but I feel
it's time to move on. "Perfect" implies that the rat race is
over and it feels good. I have other projects lined up in the future but
like I said earlier, razorart is my main focus. I really want
razorart to exceed any levels I could even imagine.
Tek: Are all your works available at razorart? tech13: No. I guess they will get buried where I left
them. I will still be doing artwork and hopefully it will be better.
Tek: Your older and current work is excellent, so I'll be quite
anxious to see where the future leads you :)
Do you have a personal interest in skinning, or will you continue to
concentrate on wallpaper and fine art? tech13: Well, I will still do wallpapers and cd covers
of course but I have dabbed a bit into skinning with my good friend
malform. We are just doing some skins for a theme of some of our favorite
bands. Its pure fun right now but who knows, we might make it into
something later on down the line.
Tek: Do you have a relationship with any bands now? Dave
Mckean, who you mentioned earlier, has done album covers for Tori
Amos and FLA, among others. tech13:Yeah. I have some connections with some of my
favorite bands such as 16 Volt and Hate Dept. Also through many interviews
for razorart I got to talk to some of my other musical idols. I also talk
to the guys from chimaira all the time. Its really exciting talking
to some people I really look up to.
Tek:16 Volt's great :) How do you make connections with
bands? Do you find their emails, or is it through some other avenue? tech13: Well, most of the interviews were done through
the mail and I talked to the people that way. I started talking to Eric
from 16 Volt because there was a possiblity I was doing the h3llb3nt
cover. Time was a big issue in that so it sorta fell through but now we
talk on a regular basis and its just like my other online buddies. Jeff
from hate dept contacted me cause he really liked some of my cd covers and
we're pretty good friends now as well. Thredz and myself are
doing the artwork for the new Chimaira cd cover so I talk to those guys
mainly about that. I got into contact with them from a razorart interview.
Tek:That's fantastic - cd covers can be a great thing to get into.
Perhaps we'll see your calendars next to Roger Dean's someday :) tech13: hehe :)
Tek: To go in a different direction for a bit, I'm curious what your
computer system's like. tech13: Its actually pretty old and I'm about due for a
new set up. I am on a Dell Pentium II 400mhz with 128 mb ram, 17 inch
monitor, ati 8mb video card, 13 gig hd. Nothing sepcial but it still
Tek: hehe :) And are you strictly Photoshop now, or do
you use other tools as well? tech13:I still integrate CAD of course but Photoshop
is my main tool.
Tek: I know that you're enjoying the early years of married life -
do you have any children yet? tech13:No. hehe..I plan to keep it "kid
free" as long as possible :)
Tek: You said you work at a civil engineering company. What
sort of work do you do there, and how do you juggle the time between work,
family, and art? tech13: My job is boring. I've done this for almost 9
years and its getting old. I draw up subdivisions for housing developments
mostly. I live an hour from my job, so a typical work day for me is about
11 hours. Then I come home and spend some time with my wife and work on
the computer when I need to. It can be tough at times especially having a
site like razorart where I try and keep it active and yet have enough time
for my wife.
Tek: I think a lot of people in the community are having a hard time
devoting the hours they'd like to the things they really love. It
reminds me of the old Rush album subdivisions, with the CAD drawing of
some Canadian subdivision on the back cover. tech13: hehe gotta love rush :)
Tek: hehe.. yep, the Tool of the eighties :)
Do you have a standard routine for your art? What's the creative
process like for you? tech13:Usually it involves me screwing around with
photos I took until something looks cool. Sometimes I spend the most time
on typography. It could take me days just to get the font right.
Tek: I'm a font-head too. I could delve through font sites for
hours, burning up the hard drive. I think people thought I was nuts
when I got very excited about my discovery that Sobe drinks was using
Morpheus as their standard typeface.. hehe tech13: hehe
Tek: What catches your eye when you're holding a camera? tech13: Mostly, things with lots of texture. The last
pics I took were of my hand. I tied my hands to an old basement ceiling
and it was close to a lightbulb with a harsh glow. Most people think I am
weird or whatever but its all about the art. I've bound my head in wire
before just to get a certain look I wanted. It may be weird for some but I
find it exciting and take pride in taking my own photography and then add
my art to it.
Tek: Many of your photos feature images of yourself. Do you
see it as an exploration of self, or is it just the characteristics of the
physical image? tech13: I take pictures of myself a lot because I feel
I am the only one that can actually get the feeling across in a picture
the way I am looking for it to. I use pics or scans of me in almost
everything I've done. Its just my nature I guess :)
Tek:To wrap things up, what would you like to hear people saying
about you and your work now? In 5 years? tech13: Well, I would like people to of course say good
things about me but people always have their opinions, even if they
don't really know me. I would like to be respected for my work, and more
than just a "that looks nice." A lot of my images have so
much more in them to see if people would take the time to look. In five
years...hmmm. Its hard to stay remembered after 5 years in this community
but I hope I am. I hope I made an impact on some people, and I hope they
can see where I am coming from.
Tek: I think that, given the depth of your work, people will
definitely continue to be aware of you in the future. For those who
don't see beyond the surface of your pieces, is there anything you can
tell them which might point them in the right direction? tech13: yeah..pay attention to the words, and realize
most of the time it isn't just jibberish and it's all connected somehow. I
don't do my art just for the "coolness factor" I try to
achieve something I want, and not to focus of what I think others
would think is cool.
Tek: Excellent. And I can say from personal experience, it
-does- pay to take a deeper look, in all aspects of life as well.
Thank you very much for taking this time to talk with me! Is there
anything else you'd like to cover? tech13: Not really...Just stay tuned because I have
lots of things in store for the future. :) and thanks for interviewing me
Tek: My pleasure!
Thanks Michael for taking time to talk to Teknidermy.