My name is Al Serov. I am a fantasy artist. Glamour fantasy artist, to be precise. Practically, all my pictures include images of young beautiful girls.
Q2: How did you get into the field of your work?
I started with studying photography. I went to college for that. Photography is great. It allows us to see many things that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. I consider it to be an ultimate tool for observation of the reality. Yet it wasn’t enough for me. In my childhood I was a book worm, a very persistent dedicated reader. The more different a book was from my mundane life, the more eagerly I would read it. No wonder that later when I started to do photography and wanted to spice it up, to bring something exotic and unreal. I wanted not just to depict beauty but add mystery and adventure to it. And I did not want to loose the photorealism on the way.
One day, when I was in a bookstore my gaze fell upon a book about a digital sci-fi art. It was some kind of a step-by-step guide to create stunning futuristic images. Page after page it was filled with revelations. The feeling was like I finally found an answer to a huge inner question. And I have been there in the realm of digital marvels ever since.
Q3: Do you have any current favorite artists, photographers who may of influenced you to become the artist that you are?
Of course! Speaking about photographers, I love Robert Doisneau. His photographs really tell stories. He had a very unique gift. The others? Helmut Newton for certain. I have collected many books of his art through the years. This man created his own style. This style is edgy, distinguished and unique. Isn’t it an achievement? Also I like the photographers from Playboy magazine Arny Freytag and Stephen Wayda. They have shaped the image of the magazine that became a legend.
During my student years I had a friend who was a proud owner of Boris Vallejo poster. I spent quite a time looking at this picture. It was the demon with big greenish wings embracing a beautiful naked girl. What an art! It was unreal and extremely real at the same time. Something that I always strive to achieve. Boris is very influential to me. So is Luis Royo. Also I love the works of Michael Komark and Karl Kopinski.
Q4: What are the main tools of your trade?
Adobe Photoshop is absolutely indispensable. Corel Painter is very important since it allows me digitally imitate strokes of an oil brush; therefore it helps to make digital images look less digital. Quite often I use Cinema4D. Also I have my own photo studio with Profoto lighting equipment and Nikon digital cameras.
Q5: How was it for you to learn the process of that? Did you teach yourself, take classes or learn from other existing artist’s tutorial?
It was difficult; this is what I can say. I took classes from digital artists. For many years I diligently studied all tutorials I could find in magazines and on the Internet. However, eventually I have taught myself. And I am keep teaching myself. All the tutorials and classes in the world can only get you so far. In the end it is the matter of trial and error, of research and experiment, of discovery and failure. Boris Vallejo wrote in his book “Mirage” that having a good artist as a close friend might be more useful than going to an art school. That he personally gained far more from this friendship that he did from the classes. In that respect he was lucky. For me it took years to puzzle out many things.
Q6: Do you think its possible for you to describe the process of your art style, what are the dos and don’ts, the important aspects you set yourself to achieve your style of design?
Ideally I start with developing a concept of the new picture. Then I begin to look for a model who is good for the task. Quite often it works in a reversed order: I decide to work with a certain model first and then I start creating a concept which should allow this particular personality shine. After that I do a research in the Internet, books and movies. I think about lighting, colors, pose, details of background, etc. At this stage I might doodle a bit. Those doodlings look quite unattractive because the only purpose for them is to establish basic forms and shapes.
When I feel that I know enough about my future picture I do a photo shoot. This is a very important stage. Many discoveries and failures can happen there. Artists tend to underestimate the importance of photography in their work. In some artistic circles it is considered to be a lesser art. Yet for some reason Frank Frazetta whose reputation is undisputable had a big collection of photo cameras in his house. Boris Vallejo who is one of the most prominent figures in the field published a book of his photographic art. I believe that realism comes from the reality. Photography allows us to depict this reality with an astonishing amount of details.
After the photo shoot is done I work on my computer. I model and render 3D environment, I paint, I do photo manipulation. There are no strict rules or boundaries of what is allowed and what is not. The goal is to create striking and beautiful image. I know a lot about the computer software I have chosen for my work and I experiment all the time.
Q7: What are the biggest struggles you encounter as an artist?
I am always looking for harmony and balance in my work. The color balance, the balance in the composition, the balance in the amounts of details in the different parts of the picture, etc. It is so elusive. Hunt for this balance is very exciting (and sometimes very frustrating).
Q8: Do you have any other future plans that don’t involve digital art? Would consider working outside that field and into something new?
Not really. I believe that I am still at the beginning of a very long and exciting journey. When your trade is road building or beer making, probably with time you start feeling that you have learned everything there is to learn out there. In art it is different. With every finished picture I learn new things and at the same time I find new big questions. The learning is endless. So is the quest for beauty.
Q9: Do you have any personal mottos, quotes or existing quotes that motivates you to do what you love doing? Can you share it with us?
Well, I don’t actually have any mottos to recite during the day. But while I am working and when the things are going well I might recall the words from one of my favorite movies. The movie is “The Matrix”. Do you remember this dialog between Neo and that little Buddhist boy?
Boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Boy: There is no spoon.
Neo: There is no spoon?
Boy: Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.
I like it a lot.
Q10: What do you think the future will hold for all artists from all backgrounds from now?
Not long ago I was rereading some novels of Harry Harrison. He is a great writer. His books are so vivid. I love him. Yet when it comes to specific details his fantasies start to sound funny today. For instance, he describes sentient robots who gather information by reading newspapers. Well, today it would seem logical for sentient robots to use the Internet. Harry Harrison could not predict the invention of the global network despite all his wild imagination. I cannot predict the future either. Nobody knows what waits us tomorrow. However, I know that art wasn’t invented yesterday. It has been with the humankind through all its history and it’s going to stay. However, it takes different forms, it develops. In order to remain relevant artists have to change their styles constantly. They have to bring something new to the audience.
Q11: To round off the last question, where can your fans and new fans find updated art work, events and progress from you?
My personal web-site is www.alserov.com.
Also my works can be found at:
The video representation of my art is at: