Interview with Lenore Ani
I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.- Vincent Van Gogh. The outstanding works of Lenore Ani evoke beauty, incredible harmony and poetically executed. She has taken the time from her busy work load to share some of her thoughts with Heavy Music Artwork.
HMAW: When did you start your career as a designer/artist?
Lenore Ani: I’ve made my first artwork for a music band back in 2008. I was an art student by that time, and I’ve been trying myself in different kinds of projects. Graphic arts for advertising, 3D modeling, books illustration, custom painting on musical instruments, tattoo sketches – lots of different things. I even took part in restoration of National Opera and Ballet theatre, which was a very special experience. So, doing a metal band’s CD was just another thing for me to try.
A few months later, a local metal-supporting association gave that band the “Best Album Cover” award, and I guess this is when things started happening for me. I was receiving more and more artwork requests since then, first from the local area, and then from all over the world. Creating album covers is my main occupation now, and I’m very happy about it.
HMAW: What is your education background?
Lenore Ani: I had an enormous passion for drawing since I was a child. 20 years after, I found myself with an art school diploma and a university degree in graphic design. And I’m still learning new things, every single day – it’s an endless process.
HMAW: What are 10 of your best work, where you have achieved the highest to date in creativity and skills?
Lenore Ani: That’s an interesting question! I never tried to sort my works by a single parameter, such as “creativity” or “skill”. When I’m working, I’m either going for a special vibe, atmosphere, or just following a band’s instructions about what they want to see. Most of my artworks are filled with symbols and small details which people are free to discover and to interpret for themselves. And I normally don’t think in terms of skill, to me it’s all just different elements which require different approach. Some are simpler, some could be really tough. However, every artwork has its own story, flavor and memories that it brings up. If I’m to pick a top 10 list, it would be (in no particular order) ID:Vision, Seven Daily Sins, Out of Yesteryear, Aspirin Rose, Katabolisis, Hero’s Fate, and a number of covers which are ready but not revealed yet :)
HMAW: What is workshop like, from observing your art; you also use traditional panting and watercolor, am I right?
Lenore Ani: Yes! Though most parts of my works are made entirely with a graphic tablet, I absolutely enjoy working with pencil and watercolor, which is easily noticeable as I can judge from your question :) In reality, not every project requires drawing by hand, but sometimes I do it, and I think it works out quite well. You decide!
HMAW: Heavy Metal often is described as harsh, ugly and extreme, yet in your work we find incredible beauty, harmony, ecstasy (not the drug) and elegance. Can you describe your style in this contest?
Lenore Ani: I like the way you describe it. The way I feel it is about what you say – beauty, harmony, ecstasy. While the harsh and the gory remain the face of the metal imagery, I prefer to look from a different angle, to uncover the elegant and symbolic nature of things. Even if it’s dark and heavy, it has to be aesthetically beautiful – this is what I’m trying to channel in my works. Taken the rough and aggressive nature of metal music, we have a nice visual antithesis here.
HMAW: What kind of challenges are you up against in terms of finding new clients?
Lenore Ani: I’m lucky to not to have these troubles, because it’s always the clients who find me. In fact, I haven’t had a day without someone waiting for an artwork from me, since the very beginning – and I’m very grateful for that. The whole experience of creating artworks for someone’s music is nothing but exciting. Getting to know the band, helping them realize and express their needs, listening to the music, discussing the concept, walking together through all the process from the first sketches to the final drawing – the result is always something fresh for both parts. Not really a challenge, but the joy of creation!
HMAW: What has been your greatest and most proud moment in your creative career?
Lenore Ani: Not sure if I can pick one – it’s like a constant flow of events for me, rather than a set of milestones. Every completed artwork is a proud moment, and at the same time a stepping stone, a reason to keep pushing forward.
HMAW: “Destination Cybermind” is simply amazing, how did you achieve this incredible piece of art? Can you tell us a short step-by-step process?
Lenore Ani: Thank you for this compliment! I was very comfortable with this cover, because I was given enough time to experiment and enough freedom to interpret the band’s ideas. That band, ID:Vision, they wanted the album art to have bio-mech style combined with that partly Egyptian, partly Mesopotamian symbolism. So I started experimenting with elements, layers, textures, and in a few weeks the artwork was almost complete. The band was happy with it and it seemed that we’re done. But at some point I’ve found something – I think it was a texture – which “opened” my eyes on how really this cover should look. I started making the new cover and booklet, all from scratch, and this time it was easy because I knew exactly what should be made. It kind of came out naturally, some sort of strange inspiration... Needless to say, the band picked the second work.
HMAW: … and for “Shadowgrave”?
Lenore Ani: With Shadowgrave the process was different. The band knew what exactly they wanted to see on the cover. The content, the composition – they pretty much gave it all to me from the beginning, so I only had to bring it to life. What makes this artwork stand out from the rest is the fact that it was, like, 50% drawn by hand. I started by doing the whole thing on paper, adding shades and details step by step, and then scanned the whole thing and continued with Photoshop. The result looks really different from the collage style that I normally do. Delicate and menacing at the same time, it captures the album’s vibe really well.
HMAW: Is Photoshop the undisputed program of choice or do you also use other applications?
Lenore Ani: I use Photoshop and Corel Painter.
HMAW: What would you recommend for tutorials and for creative recourses?
Lenore Ani: There are plenty on the internet, but personally I rarely go for tutorials these days due to lack of time. Most of my experience comes straight from the things I do. I like surfing websites like Behance to discover new artists, to see their works, how they do things. The learning never stops :)
HMAW: What is you next project?
Lenore Ani: Well, there are currently 9 projects in queue as I write this, and I’m not sure which one makes it first… They are very different in style and mood, of course. Some detailed, conceptual prog-death artworks, some mystic northern metal… For the first time in my career, I am doing a funeral doom album and a psybient record, which is definitely something new to me. Also, I am drawing a book cover, and a storyboard for a music video. Lots of interesting things!
HMAW: Thanks so much for your time and interest in Heavy Music Artwork?
Lenore Ani: Thank you in return for the interesting talk Alex! I am happy to say hello to all the readers of Heavy Music Artwork. Hope you enjoyed this interview! You are welcome to follow me on my Facebook where I share all the latest updates, sketches and completed artworks. See you there!
Thanks everyone for your interest and support!
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