Interview with Haimeng Cao
Haimeng Cao is a freelance artist in Los Angeles, and works for game and film industry. His skills focus on concept design and visual development. The media he uses including digital painting, rendering and modeling. He was influenced by several dystopian novels, especially 1984 and Brave New World, and the artists such as Mobius and Katsuhiro Otomo. The theme of his work is mainly about future city landscape design, the atmosphere and mood of the works otherwise indicate the totalitarian and formalized future societies. Every piece of work has unique camera angle and displays spectacular panorama of the city. Each city has different architecture styles and atmospheres. The story is established within those techniques.
Could you please introduce yourself and tell us how you started in the arts? and your first experience in art making?
Hi! I am Haimeng, I am a freelance concept artist in Los Angeles. My family influenced me a lot on art when I was a child. My father is an architecture designer, and I grew up with those structure and design books. Those memories and influences are still affecting the theme of my works and the way on my thinkings.
How would you describe yourself and your artwork?
I am the artist who would love to use the visual language to tell a story and visualize the fantastic world in our mind. My job title today is concept artist. My task is to visualize the whole universe including vehicle, environment, character, and props. The theme of my work is mainly about future city landscape design, the atmosphere and mood of the works otherwise indicate the totalitarian and formalized future societies. Every piece of work has unique camera angle and displays spectacular panorama of the city. Each city has different architecture styles and atmospheres. The story is established within those techniques.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I was influenced by several dystopian novels, especially 1984 and Brave New World, and the artists such as Mobius and Katsuhiro Otomo. I was also inspired by travel. Personally, I would like to visit different locations and take photos with or without a particular purpose. I observe how people interact with the space when I walk into an environment, how architectures work with each other, and how natural light affects the mood and time. Those are the abstract parts artists need to convey with audiences when they have their journeys in the game or film worlds.
What emotions do you hope the viewers experience when looking at your art?
Those works have different styles of city structures, architectures, ecological environments and social systems and are visualized by a science fictional way. I really hope my viewers bring themselves into the world when they see those images, and imagine they are part of the world.
When do you know that an artwork is finished?
Since I am a concept artist, I focus on the idea of the artwork. I may consider an artwork is finished, once the idea of the work works for the communication with the audiences. Some images are rendered highly realistically, but the idea is ambiguous, which cannot be considered as a finished work.
What has been the most exciting moment in your art career so far?
The commercial of Walmart directed by award-winning director Marc Forster is one of my favorite and exciting projects I have worked. The story sets in the future science fictional world, which is filled with downfallen cities and low technology robots. Several children find a Walmart receipt, which triggers their fantastic journey. We spent several weeks developing the visual direction of the world. Since this is a several minutes short commercial, every element in the shot must have its own impressive territory and indicates the background of the world. We love this story which gives us passion to polish all the details. It was successfully premiering during 2017 Oscar.
How long does it take to produce one work?
From initial idea development and research to the end of the render, it usually takes several weeks to produce one work.
What exciting projects are you working on right now? Can you share some of the future plans for your artworks?
Currently, I am working on the series of city landscape personal project. 3D modeling and rendering and 2D adjustment is the overall work flow. I will keep pushing my visual development and concept design. I also would love to join the companies of outside of United States, such as Japan or China. Their projects confront different markets and the experience would be helpful to learn the trend of the industry in the world. In the future, I would love to take the project with interesting narrative storytelling, developing a new world means a beginning of a new enjoyable journey. I also wish myself to involve with more stylized tasks and be trained as a more versatile artist.
Do you have any upcoming events or exhibitions we should know about?
I am going to have a show in July 2019 with Contemporary Art Station at Passeig de Gracia Station, Barcelona.
Where do you see your art going in five years?
I would love to do different art tasks with more various styles, and work as a freelance artist in different companies to participate more popular projects.