ARTOPSY: Aaron Lovett
By Krysti Joméi
Published Issue 086, February 2021
REPORT OF INVESTIGATION BY BIRDY EXAMINER
INVESTIGATING AGENT: Krysti Joméi
SUBJECT: Aaron Lovett
OCCUPATION: Freelance Artist
RESIDENCE: Denver, CO
BIRTHPLACE: Denver, CO
TYPE OF ART: Colorful, dark, expressive
MANNER OF ART: Digital Art
PROBABLE CAUSE OF ART: Wacom Cintiq, Photoshop, iPad, Procreate
CASE FILE REFERENCE: www.artstation.com/adlovett
When did you know you were an artist?
Art is a Lovett tradition. My father is a talented graphic designer for United Airlines and my mother has a reputation for making some of the most beautiful custom greeting cards you’ll ever see. They’ve encouraged and celebrated my artistic endeavors since I was a toddler.
What path did you take to get where you are today as a professional artist and designer?
I went to college for a degree in 3D animation. But after I graduated, I realized I enjoyed painting a lot more, so I ended up pursuing illustration. While I’ve always had a passion for art, it took a few years of studying and practice before I was ready for a professional gig.
How did you come to your particular style?
It’s really important to incorporate all the different styles that inspire you as an artist. I’m influenced by a lot of other illustrators such as Dave Rapoza, Lois van Baarle and Max Grecke. As far as my own process, I love telling a story with light, and letting a color palette dictate a composition. It’s always fun to explore dark and brooding themes. But most of all, I revel in bringing characters to life through movement and expression.
What projects are you currently working on?
I just finished a variant cover for AfterShock Comics and Cover Alpha Comics’ Miskatonic. I’m currently working on cover and interior illustrations for the 2021 StokerCon Souvenir Anthology for the Bram Stoker Awards ceremony, published by Hex Publishers and the Horror Writers Association. I am also an illustrator for the video game Monster Train, which is now available on Xbox Game Pass.
Is there any message or idea you try to exemplify through your art?
My main goal is to showcase a strong sense of atmosphere. Whether I’m painting fan art to illustrate my favorite characters in my own style, or designing a cover that convinces someone to crack open that book, I always try to capture the emotion of the moment.
What creation are you most proud of?
One of my most popular paintings was the cover illustration for Hex Publishers’ Nightmares Unhinged. It was one of my first book covers and really seemed to resonate with a lot of people. Out of all of my paintings, that one still seems to make viral rounds that help boost my exposure. It was even licensed by AMC for season two of Fear the Walking Dead.
How do you motivate yourself? Or get through a block?
Just browsing other artists, watching a movie or playing a video game can spark inspiration. If I find myself struggling to get started, I just force myself to draw for a few minutes before the gears start turning.
What’s it like being an artist in 2021?
Technology has made it easier to work from home and make connections across the world. There are opportunities everywhere. But in the wake of social media, competition is just a click away. Your work can easily get lost in the mix. The challenge today is balancing skill and exposure.
Favorite and least favorite thing of Colorado’s art scene and community?
I used to feel like California was the place to be for a video game artist. For a long time, I felt a little isolated here in Colorado, while huge communities of artists worked together on large-scale projects in other places. But over the last few years, more and more game companies are popping up, and other freelance artists are developing a name for themselves in our ever-changing state. As terrible as the pandemic has been, it’s actually resulted in more opportunities for people like me to work from home on cool projects.
Biggest challenge you’ve faced on your journey to become a full-time artist?
My biggest struggle has been marketing. I tend to keep quiet on social media (and in real life), so it feels a bit unnatural for an introvert like me to compete for attention. I’ve always hoped that my art would do the advertising for me, but getting work requires developing an online presence. There’s a lot of competition out there, so being more proactive in my marketing attempts is something I’m working to improve.
What do you think is the most important thing happening in art on a global scale?
Social media has opened a lot of doors for artists across the world. Especially Instagram. Anyone can share their work and land a job a thousand miles away. There are also tons of free online resources and tutorials, so college is becoming less relevant for those who are self-disciplined and skilled.
Greatest influence(s) on your style and voice?
Movies and videogames inspire me the most. Aside from the visual inspiration, I love getting invested in characters, and enjoy exploring the balance between good and evil in virtual worlds.
Three things most people don’t know about you?
I have a second degree black belt, collect succulents and play piano.
What do you do to unwind?
Movies and videogames are a good way to decompress while leaving my mind open to inspiration.
If you could go back in time — or forward — what would you do? Where would you go?
I’d go forward to see what we’re technologically capable of as a species. But if current events have anything to say about it, there might not be much of a future in store for us. Let’s hope I’m wrong.
You can have any supernatural power. What do you choose?
Time control. I’d live a million different lives to the fullest.
Describe your ultimate universe.
A plane of existence where everyone is kind to each other.
Any advice for striving creatives?
Only you can make yourself better. Most of the artists I follow are self-taught. Skill eventually plateaus, so stay hungry for knowledge and challenge yourself. Let life enrich your art.
Where are you headed next?
I hope to continue branching out in the gaming industry. I really enjoy the collaborative process.
Anything I miss?
You can check out my art at www.artstation.com/adlovett