Sequential's Feature is Finnian McManus! Check it out!

Lum: Congratulations Finn, our new Featured Artist! How does it feel to be featured for this exhibit?

Finnian: To be honest I really wasn't expecting it! There are so many other great contributions to this exhibit, so many great artists that put their best out in this release. As always I am delighted to take part in Lum, and it's a great honor to be selected.

Lum: We are definitely delighted to have you among us! So, tell us a little about yourself-any hobbies, quirks, interesting facts, etc?

Finnian: Interesting? Let me see… I believe I have played almost every Star Wars game in existence. I really love the atmosphere and elements that are thought up and merged perfectly with the Star Wars universe. I've found that recently I've gone on a mission to watch all the major science fiction films over and over again, movies such as Blade Runner, just to pick out details that I might try to replicate or take as inspiration later when I'm a better artist. Something that has always stuck with me is piano… from when I first learned classical sheets at age 5, I have been fascinated with the instrument. Now I play boogie and blues, and what I've found is that I'm really creative right after I play a few songs.

While I'm not amazing at it, and I hate playing in front of people, I love to use it as a warm up to creating a piece. Unlike a lot of other artists I know, I don't actually carry around a sketchbook to write down my ideas. I think I will in the future, but I've found that I have a good memory for specific images. For instance, I can think up 5 or so pieces that I want to attempt one day at this moment, with their detail and composition already planned out. This is a hard question haha, I don't think there is really much more that's interesting about me… I'm generally a positive guy in just about any situation, I try to keep my friends in a good mood, and I always stick by the phrase 'attitude is a small thing that makes a big difference'. Yes, I know thats super cheesy, but in the end it leads to many positive outcomes in all ways of life.

Lum: Haha that's really cool! It's good to have a positive attitude! Speaking of attitude, do you think attitude makes a big difference with your artwork?

Finnian: Completely man. A lot of the time my darker pieces reflect what's happening in my life, emotions that I just want to get out of my system. Art functions almost as a disposal for all of the negative aspects of my life, I will just pour them into a piece and it'll make me feel better. Lighter pieces usually represent a time when I'm more at peace and calm, and it's actually harder for me to work like that because I have more emotions to expel when I'm not feeling too good. Even if I don't realize it, I usually put my emotions behind a mask to improve my life, to get better or succeed, and then throw the bad stuff away!

Lum: That's some pretty cool insight, I think alot of us work that way whether we know it or not. So how does your art process develop? Or how do you usually work when it comes to making artwork?

Finnian: It really depends. I can get inspired from just about anything, even random objects I see day to day. Often I will remember the form and image I want to create and I'll lay out a model or sketch. From there I will either show it to some friends or keep working if I'm really dedicated to the concept. There have been times where I have literally worked on a piece for eight or nine hours straight, and times where I have taken tons of breaks. It usually depends on how inspired I am, and how close I am to the idea and composition behind the piece. I recommend anyone to take a break once you think a piece is done and come back to it a couple days, or even a week later. I have always found there are things to change, even with pieces where other artists have found no errors, there is ALWAYS a way to improve something. It's also really important to keep going with a piece even if you are bored with it. One day you will recognize the hard work you put into the piece and what you accomplished because of it. Back to starting off pieces, another path I take is to just start from scratch, with no concept or idea in mind.

Using this method, I focus just on appealing shapes until I can find a strong focal or a concept for the image. After that, I work on fine tuning the details… That is where I really shine. I cannot express how fun it is for me to work on the tiny, tiny details in my work. More than half the time the majority of what I do goes unnoticed, which is partly my fault. These days, all my work is created around 3000 or higher pixels, which leaves a ton of room for detail. While some people might hate going about and nit picking all the little shadows and highlights, adding in debris and some signs that noone can read, it is the prime time of my day, even better than chipotle burritos. I have to say though, artgroups are a HUGE part of what I do.

A ton of my techniques and skills I have learned through knowing and working with other people, or watching others develop their pieces. I would recommend anyone who isn't in an artgroup to shift their ass and find one, because I would definitely not be where I am today without the help of the members in Lum and the other groups I am a part of. I find it great that a group of artists with different minds and skillets and ideas to come together and help each other improve– I can just sit for hours on an artgroup site looking through comments on pieces, lurking around and watching people improve; it's just so nice to see artists around you develop and grow, especially if the entire group is growing at a steady pace.

Lum: Nevertheless, Chipotle burritos are awesome! So what direction do you see your art going to? Or what direction would you like to take in the future?

Finnian: Right now I NEED to improve my traditional skills. At the moment I'm busy with some college classes, but when I get back to Chicago… you better watch out because I'm going to be pumping charcoal like noone's ever seen. The field that I want to go into(Concept Art) requires me to be able to sketch ideas and to improve upon a traditional workflow. This also goes along strongly with another technique that I want to adapt into my style, digital painting. Both of these present a problem though- The reason I went into 3D in the first place was because I couldn't draw. Since I was young, I've always had a sort of hand deficiency… I hold a pencil the wrong way, I can't read my own handwriting, and It's very hard for me to draw straight lines. This is mainly because I used to be left handed, and then I switched over somehow. Now, I hold a pencil in my right hand the way a lefty would hold it in their left hand. Complicated and annoying. After you've been writing like this for so many years it's a very hard habit to get out of, and until now I have generally avoided pencils completely. This will definitely change, because I am completely determined to incorporate traditional into my work. I believe it will unlock a whole new level of art for me.

Lum: Awesome! Do you have a particular favorite piece of yours that is personal? What makes it so special?

Finnian: Out of all my work so far, I would have to say my final panel in Through the Psionic Storm is my favorite by far. I think I really made a jump with this series, technique and execution wise. Looking back on when I started this style with Exoterra, I really have improved to a point I never thought I'd be at… only to say 'it's not enough!' and keep working haha. I hope to diversify my pieces more, and collab with some of the great artists in Lum on a style similar to the pieces I have made for Sequential.

Lum: I must say your efforts have paid off! Through the Psionic Storm is impressive! Alright, well congratulations once again on being featured! Is there anything else you would like to add or say?

Finnian: NEVER let anyone walk on you. Everyone out there who has a dream of getting somewhere, or becoming someone… keep going, don't get lazy. Laziness is the killer of human beings, I've seen it happen with friends and it's sad to watch people with potential waste it all. Don't give up no matter how bad a slump you're in. And please, for your health, go outside!
Thanks so much for the interview Sean! It's great to be a part of Lum, and I love Sequential!