Digital artist Ken Coleman – Ken is a Limerick-based artist whose art has been published worldwide. Pictured above is one of Ken’s pieces
Ten questions with Ken Coleman
Digital artist Ken Coleman is an Irish mixed-media artist combining fine art training with photography, Traditional Sculpture, 3D Modelling, digital painting and emerging technologies. Ken’s work has been published worldwide. clients have included The Cranberries, Morbid Angel, and The Blizzards.
Ken is also a lecturer at Limerick School of Art & Design in Game Art & Design, Animation & Visual FX. We chatted with Ken about his life and career.
What was your childhood like growing up in Limerick?
It was fantastic, I spent a lot of my childhood around Lisnagry where I went to school. I also spent a lot of time walking in Castleconnell in the woods with my grandfather, these areas still have a very nostalgic influence on my work.
When did you begin creating art?
I was drawing a lot and really got stuck into it around the age of seven or eight and when I was at school people in my class were always asking me to draw them something.
When did you realize that you could make a career out of art?
Again, at the age of seven or eight, I started out wanting to work for Walt Disney, then I discovered comic books and wanted to do that. I always wanted to be involved in the entertainment side of art from a young age.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
I guess so. I’ve worked a lot of different jobs, bar work, stocking shelves in retail, storerooms etc. and honestly, I sucked. I do not have an attention span. It takes me an hour to fill a dishwasher! My mind is always wandering. I really enjoyed my time working with the display team in Brown Thomas which taught me a lot. But the freelance road can be hard on your self belief. It is a long road when you want to do something out of the ordinary, but I’ve just always subconsciously wanted to do my own thing, my own way and discover things at my own pace. It took me years to be comfortable at doing it and I still second guess myself constantly.
What is your favourite creation and why?
Usually, it’s the last piece I created where something new has formed. Some new technique or some new combination has achieved a successful and original outcome.
Long-term though I am still surprised and delighted with the positive reaction to pieces like my Axel Foley piece. My personal favourites though are my Portraits of Margarita and Luke. I’m always the most content when I am working on images of my family.
What makes your art stand out from other pieces?
I guess these days I’m confident in my physical skills and mental expertise to just follow my gut and know whether it’s personal work or a commissioned pop culture piece, that my workflow will appeal to.
I’m at my best when I’m asked to do exactly what I do and not to emulate others although that’s part of the game.
I think my work stands out because of the vast layering of mixed media. Each piece is created using approx. 3- 6 pieces of software and includes digital painting, 3D models and photography.
Who would you like to collaborate with and why?
I’d love to work with Mattel and there are also a couple of Metal bands I’d love to work with because I just love their style of music and passion. I’m currently Collaborating with Mark & Rebecca Taylor. Mark is responsible for creating my favourite characters He-man and Skeletor. Their influence has been present in my work my whole life and now they have invited me to lend my skills to one of their projects as a partner.
In your own opinion, what has been your greatest accomplishment so far?
Becoming a parent. My view on life and wearing my heart outside myself daily has made me a better person and in turn a better artist.
I can’t say artistically what my greatest achievement is. I think past masterpieces from amazing artists such as the classical masters or the impressionists have been judged to be masterpieces by their contemporaries. I just want to keep getting better.
Can the people of Limerick expect any new projects from you in the near future?
I’m working on some new Historical Fantasy imagery based around limericks heroes, but it’s in the early stages. I do hope to introduce new levels of interactivity. I’m also currently collaborating with Shining3d who makes 3d scanning equipment which I now incorporate in my work very often.
And lastly, what do you love about Limerick?
I love the mix of characters that I have become friends with since I came to art college in the city centre twenty-three years ago. The kind of characters that you always find in the milk market on a Saturday morning or have a coffee or pint with in Nancy’s, the Commercial or Mickeys. I certainly don’t take for granted the beautiful inner-city walks that lead out to the amazing castle or the scenery leading to the university. Our brilliant Art College that I’m so lucky to work for.
Lastly, I’m lucky to have developed as a creative person surrounded by other driven people such as Jenny Ronan, Tall John Real, Rocky O shea, Shane Serrano and Derek Cosgrave, all such creative and outgoing people who are brilliant at what they do.
For more information on Digital artist Ken Coleman go HERE