Alastair is one of the founding members of The Luminarium and the only artist to have submitted and have accepted a piece to every one of our releases! We find out more about what makes him tick and why he keeps coming back for more.
LumHi there, Alastair ‘Smiling Demon’ Temple! Congratulations on being the featured artist for our 26th artpack, Depth! What do you have to say about being chosen as the featured artist this time around?
Alastair:Thank you! I would say there is definitely an element of pleasant surprise, and generally just honored to be featured.
Lum: Tell us a bit more about yourself, Alastair. What do you do in ‘real’ life, next to making art?
Alastair: From 9 to 5 I work as a Fire Engineer, specializing in structural fire engineering, for a company called Arup. In my free time other than art I play a lot of football, a bit of golf and read quite a lot.
Lum: You play some sports? What’s your favorite sports team? And, what do you like to read?
Alastair: Yeah, I play a lot of football, often 4 days a week during the season (2 games of five a side, training 1 night, and a full game on a Saturday). I am an Aberdeen (my home team) fan. We had a pretty good season this year, finishing within touching distance of Celtic in the league. Anyone who knows anything about Scottish football will understand the difference in budgets between Celtic and everyone else in the league! Reading wise it is pretty much all fiction, and dominated by science fiction (although not exclusively). My favorite authors are probably Terry Pratchett, Ian M. Banks and Alastair Reynolds. It still makes me sad that Pratchett and Banks are no longer with us. Recently I have also got into "The Expanse" series by James Corey, worth a read if anyone is looking for something!
Lum: You talked about a 9 to 5 job. Does this sometimes keep you from making art, like, being productive creatively?
Alastair: Yeah, it does a bit. I didn't realize how much it would when I was at uni until I started working. It is less the time the job takes, but more that often having spent most of the day at work in front of a computer. When I then get home I don't want to spend more time in front of a computer again.
Lum: You have been part of The Luminarium since its conception, if I’m not mistaking. How long has it been, and what makes you still come back and being such a great help for the group?
Alastair: Yes I have. Tobi (taenaron) and me are the only two artists left who submitted to Dawn, our first release. Dawn was released just over 7 years ago now, so probably about 7 and a half years since we first got together and looked to make something happen. Lum has always had a good group of people in it and that is one of the main reasons that I keep going. I also feel a definite responsibility to all the artists to make sure that Lum is around to help people progress. It has definitely made a big difference to me, and there are a number of artists who have come through Lum and moved on to great things and that is something I want to share with people. Plus, I have had a piece in every release Lum has had, it would be a shame to end that run!
Lum: Let’s talk about this art exhibition called Depth. Were you bursting with ideas when we decided to go for this concept, or was it a struggle to find something related conceptually?
Alastair: I had a few ideas when it started, but really struggled to put them into practice. It was only when the deadline was approaching and I guess (for better or worse) I left the more conceptual ideas behind and went with a more practical or physical meaning of depth that things started to click.
LumYou have three pieces in, and none are alike. You got two solo pieces and a collaboration. Can you tell us a bit more about the collaboration with Kire, named ‘Portal to the Depths of Space’? Can you describe the progress behind it?
Alastair: So both it and "What goes on in the Depths of Space?" are based around the same basic idea, that 1. space is huge, (as Douglas Adam's put it "Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space."), and 2. because of the limited speed of light what we do see out there is from so far in the past that really, in terms of time we are only seeing things from ages in the past. Really, we have no idea what is going on out there ‘now’. Anyway, I had the idea for the first one based around this, that there could be all sorts of weird and wonderful things going on ‘now’ that we will never know about. Anyway, I was speaking to Erik (Kire) about if he was going to manage to get anything done for the release and he was saying unfortunately he wasn't going to have time (something to do with having to prepare a presentation for a physics conference. Clever guy that Erik). I suggested that maybe if he just has a couple of hours we could collab and showed him the base Mandelbulb render I had been playing with suggesting he make a "jump gate/portal" style thing for the focal point. He duly obliged, creating the awesome portal you see at the centre. And then with the help of the team with CnC (big shout out to Lars, Maxime and Grigori on this one) I pulled it all together.
LumYou seem to have gradually stepped away from photography to 3D. Is this deliberately, or have you always done the two together, whereby the one is more prominent at times than the other? Do you plan on mixing them together?
Alastair: This isn't deliberate, as I have always really done the two side by side. It is more that my photography tends to come in bursts when I get to go away and see somewhere with a new and exciting landscape. It is also partly due to not being in Scotland any more with easy access to the mountains and friends who always wanted to go up there! I would like to mix the two more into pieces. I do occasionally, such as "The Power of Air" that I made for Elements, but it is dependent upon having the correct idea and concept first.
Lum: I see. Do you have a favorite from this pack? Can you tell us a bit about the development of that piece, and what goes on behind closed doors?
Alastair: Unconscious Underwater by ptitvinc is definitely one of my favourites, but he didn't really need much help from us with this one. It was still interesting to see it develop and the methods he uses to build up the final details. One piece that I think does show the sort of extra push that being part of a group like Lum can give is Mantra by Sowig. Lars came to us with a really cool model of this mech-like underwater creature but it was entirely out of context and the team pushed him with suggestions about how to give it a little more punch as a piece. And via a few iterations of updates and suggestions from the team it developed into the final piece you see now.
Lum: What would you have to say to anyone seeing this pack and who is inspired by it, but don’t know how to proceed creatively? How did you manage to end up where you are now?
Alastair: Firstly enjoy yourself, don't get too frustrated over anything it isn't worth it. Then find a group of artistic friends who you can bounce ideas and techniques off, and collab at every chance. I have learnt a hell of a lot from collaborations. And finally, I guess, time and practice are everything.
Lum: Wise words. Alright! Thank you Alastair for your time, and of course for your continuous support and dedication to the Luminarium!