Our next project from the Artists Series is still available for Pre Order for a limited time. “Dragon’s Lullaby” is a work resulted from Kinetiquettes’ creative team and Maria Panfilova
sculpting magic. This piece also features exclusive sound and light effects designed in partnership with Imba Interactive
to create a very unique atmosphere.
To celebrate this occasion we have the pleasure of sharing a very special Q&A session with the legendary artist herself. Please enjoy!
K – Maria, you seem to really take a lot of inspiration from fantasy creatures like dragons and mythological figures. Is there any particular reason for that or is it just a matter of taste?
M – Since childhood I loved animals and anime and fantasy. In my work there is a mix of all I love
Its definitely very fun to sculpt. Making creature you I have a wide range of tools for showing character’s personality.
K – In this new project with Kinetiquettes we can clearly identify elements from the Chinese culture. Could you tell us a bit of the creative process behind it? How much freedom did you have sculpting it?
M – We wanted to create diorama showing the beauty and aesthetics of Chinese culture. The initial concept was made by Ean Keat Ong. When I saw it I loved the potential and and decided to participate. Starting from a concept we had a lot of discussions and elaborations of the shapes of the dragon and the environment. We tried out a large number of shapes of the dragon, it was very challenging but interesting to make the dragon and the environment work together. I like to create flow between different elements.
K – It’s really impressive how much recognition your work has nowadays. The level of anatomic details on those fantastic creatures has truly become part of your signature. How did your sculpting journey start out?
M- I started learning 3d sculpting around year 2010, and since 2012 I always worked for some studios – animation and game projects.
Right now, I’m working on animation project too, but collectibles is also my passion. As a freelancer I try to do both.
But aside from that I always sculpted something else in my free time. It could be just anatomy studies, or something more creative if I have the right mood and let it go.
I think doing it consistently for a long time – working plus doing personal works helped me a lot to grow. On top of that I always have doubts about my path and thinking what should I do next. I think not only working but searching for new inspirations, getting a new life knowledge and experience is also a part of artistic path.
K – Do you draw inspiration from other media like videogames and animated movies? Sekiro, kung fu panda, spirited away, they all drink from similar fountains too.
M – Of course – videogames and anime is what attracted me to this industry initially. Especially fantasy genre. Although when I play nowadays I doing it more for fun than for soaking art. The last game I enjoyed to play is Disco Elysium. I’m also into VR games – my favourite is ‘Until you fall’
K – There is always a very interesting level of contrast in your projects: in the “encounter” we have the meeting of a dragon and a mouse, in “soft toe” and “abduction” there is the conjunction of delicate beauty and strong fantastic creatures. Now we have the dragon watching over the flute playing panda. Is this a pattern you like to explore? They are all very cool!
M – Yeah I pretty often have a pair of characters in my work
I guess some interaction between characters always more interesting and tells more story. In the interaction characters are not just being but they also living a life.
K – When we interviewed Artgerm he told us that he always wanted to become an artist. Did you grew up with any kind of artistic inspiration? Was sculpting/drawing something you always wanted to do since an early age?
M – At first I drew for fun. I did fan arts of my favourite games and did some animations in Flash. But I couldn’t find a way to make it a profession. I thought it unrealistic and were looking for more ‘serious’ professions. Only in 20 years old I realised that its more than realistic to learn some 3d software and start making money as 3D artist. And it was very fun to do from the beginning!
K – Whats your default sculpting method? Are all of your works done digitally or clay sculpting is also something you resort to?
M – No, for sculpting I only use zbrush. I like to do some lousy sketch in 2d and using it as a start idea make it in 3d. Lately I try to avoid sculpting in symmetry and try not to go too deep into details using sculptris-pro in zbrush, this approach I feels a bit closer to traditional clay sculpting.
K – Side question since we may not have this opportunity any time soon (laughs). Since its a franchise we work with and also features monster and creatures, does Maria Panfilova play Monster Hunter? What’s your favourite weapon and creature?
M – Haha I actually tried to play Monster Hunter but I realised its very time consuming and dropped it. Being a 3d sculptor is a very time-consuming profession, I have to admit I had to play much less games nowadays.
K – Let’s talk about the special features of this piece. Were any of them part of your ideas? How do you feel sound and light effects add up to a statue that is already original? Do you see those kinds of features appearing more in the future?
M – I think this statue is about feel of cosiness and peace. We tried to achieve that in many ways setting up the environment, adding elements. The sound and light will definitely help with that. Collectible industry goes more and more creative about making statues more special, I love that!
K – Is there any artist in the games/anime industry that inspire you? How did you come up with your own artistic identity?
M – Yes I spend a lot of time every day looking at artist’s work. I collect lots of references on a subject that I going to make, and take a little bit from each one. There are so many masters to learn from. I love to read manga it gives me even more artistic information to digest. I’m reading now Berserk for the second time by Kentaro Miura and gets tons of inspirations from it.
I think manga has a lot of common with statues. Unlike animation manga tells a story in a static image same way as statue.
When I work, I listen to audiobooks and sometime they give inspiration too.
I also love to discover older masters that are passed. Its like going on a deeper level cause their ideas are less common nowadays which gives a big freshness to it.
I wasn’t looking for own artistic identity intentionally, I think when you digest a lot of sources you will eventually do some mix of them that passed through your own personality and it always will be unique. Artistic style is like an inheritance with mutation in evolution
We really appreciate Maria taking her time to answer the questions. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did preparing them!