Featured Artist: Joe Fifelski

by James Barrows

JB: When did you first discover your passion for artwork and concept design, and how long have you been doing it?

JF: I have been doing art for as long as I remember and I really realised I wanted to pursue concept art and design especially towards the end of high school. Concept art in film has fascinated me however since I was around 11.

JB: What would you say most inspires your work as a concept artist?

JF: Light is honestly my biggest inspiration. It sounds funny but almost every time I paint, draw, or design anything, it starts with an image in my head of the light and shadows. I feel like every day, I walk outside and can’t help but stop and notice the light and how it shows us the world around us and gives us mood, time of day, temperature, and so many other things.

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JB: Who is your favorite concept artist for films?

JF: My favorite artist would probably have to be Nick Keller, but I draw inspiration from so many different artists- digital and traditional. I am particularly inspired by graffiti artists [like] Banksy and Revok, oddly enough.

JB: What is a favorite project you have worked on?

JF: My favorite project is a hard one [to answer] because I’ve been on so many. At this point in time, probably ARCH, but also my own films, Sorrow’s Song and ROY.

JB: How did your artwork get on the academic building?

JF: I honestly have no idea. I think I sent it in a while back for promotion at a gala for the school.

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JB: What are you working towards besides your undergraduate degree?

JF: I am working toward developing my skills in music and trying to become more adept at all aspects of camera, lighting, and sound in production. I’m also continuing work as a storyboard artist for several small production houses.

JB: What is your dream job?

JF: My dream job would be to work for myself as a freelance director, but I would be perfectly content [with] being a concept artist or art director for Wetta, Dreamworks, or Warner Brothers.

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JB: What is the most interesting thing about yourself, other than your work as a concept artist?

JF: I bought and started building my first car when I was fourteen, after it was pulled out of a barn. It became a project vehicle, which has taught me a lot about mechanics and how to work with my hands. That maybe, and that I love to ride a motorcycle, which I rebuilt myself.

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JB: What is the most treasured piece of advice you would want readers to hear?

JF: Art of any kind does not just happen. I was never “gifted”. I just kept doing it because I enjoyed it, and soon, I found myself being good at it, enough for me to want to make a career out of it. Do what you love, and eventually, you will be good at it.