Thank you to Aeirmid for being my interviewee!
You've been on DeviantArt for several years now and have been photomanipulating for many of those, in terms of the yearly increase in availability of stock and resources on the site do you feel that it has it helped or hindered your personal creativity?Yes! In fact, I came to dA as a photomanipulator, LOL! It has been a lot of fun to watch the stock community develop over the years. It has especially been inspiring to watch the stock providers who have been here for a long time grow and change, while maintaining the high quality of their galleries. It has also been inspiring to see newer stock providers who are coming up these days, with their exciting ideas and vision. So, really, I feel like over the 9 years since I joined, the dA stock galleries have inspired me greatly.
One thing that has hindered my personal creativity, though, is the fact that there are a few stock providers who, while incredible providers of stock, tend to be overused. So, it is not the stock itself that hinders my creativity, and it is certainly not the lack of stock, but rather the fact that some stock is so overused that it makes me want to turn to sources outside dA to find something that is fresh.
Have you ever been completely wowed by a new stock or resource submission that you've had to simply stop everything else and create art with it? If so, what was the stock or resource?Yes, but it's been a while. (That's largely due to lack of time on my part, though, rather than to the stock available on dA.) I'm pretty sure that stock was from Elandria or faestock, but I honestly don't remember which one it was. Maybe this one:
Many artists complain about frequent similarities in theme/style and "fads" and worse outright copying using the same pieces of stock. Do you think that its more to do with many artists having "wow" moments with newly posted stock or resources (jumping on the new stock bandwagon) or do you feel its more to do with a lack of variety in the stock and resource galleries that simply don't give artists the spark of creativity or variety they may be searching for? (OR even something completely different? )I think it's just an issue of some stock providers' work being extremely popular. I think that some poses, expressions, etc. inspire similar ideas in photomanipulators. I don't know whether we all just think alike or what, but I don't believe necessarily that just because Deviant1 and Deviant2 do similar deviations that one person necessarily copied the other.
A lot of times it's just an issue of a really great piece of stock provoking similar ideas in a group of people. I don't think that anyone who does something cliche with a particular pose has any right to say someone is copying them if someone else has a similar idea. That being said, clear copying arises when someone does something unique and different with a "cliche" stock image and there turns out to be 10 other deviations just like it with clear influence from the more original piece.
I've had the pleasure of seeing you create several pieces of artwork using stock that I've taken, when you look for images do you have a very specific brief in your head or do you create more organically, looking for images as you need them when your work in progress evolves?Both. It really just depends. Usually I have a concept and know where to go to get the images that would suit it. Honestly, your stock is amazing. You have great poses and costumery, and I have never had issues with quality problems or anything like that. I can rely on your stock, and I'm really grateful for that.
But yes, usually the process is much more organic than not. I do have a stock stash where I store stock that I find interesting, but the stock I actually use is usually collected at the time of use rather than months beforehand. I do like to hang on to stock that is really clear or that features a unique pose, though.
As one of the community volunteers for the Photomanipulation gallery you have had the opportunity to watch styles and themes evolve across the whole gallery. Do you have favorite styles of photomanipulation and do you have any favorite stock that encompasses that theme or style?Photomanipulation has really evolved over the years, and not always for the better. We tend to become too comfortable with a particular style rather than seeking to redefine the parameters of our art. My favorite style is anything with really great lighting, with a touch of ethereal "glow" perhaps. For this look, a great, perfectly-focused portrait image is super helpful.
A lot of people think that the image does not need to be well-lit if you're going to darken it and make it glow, but honestly lighting in the base stock image makes all the difference in the world.
Sticking with styles, themes and fads, this is a bit of a chicken and egg question. Does stock influence and to some degree dictate the styles/themes/fads of the resulting artwork, or does artwork created with stock influence and to some degree dictate what stock providers post?I've seen it go both ways. Really unique stock can drive the themes seen in art in a new direction, and I've also seen a lot of stock pop up in response to a couple of really popular pieces of art in a particular style. For example, the "princess" / "lady in long gown" stock images seemed to increase in popularity and frequency following the upsweep in photomanipulations with fantasy themes.
Now, most of the art in the photomanipulation gallery is fantasy-themed, and I think that reflects the themes of the stock images that are really popular. I think it's a vicious cycle.
You have a great favorites collection called "stock I wanna use" do you get frustrated or inspired when you look through the collection or see new stock being posted?No, I absolutely get inspired. I just wish I had more time to use it!
As an artist who creates with stock and resources, do you think there are any areas that the S&R community could improve/change/evolve to help artists, do you think we need to become more like the pro stock collections in terms of quality?I think one of the issues for both of our communities to consider is this: TELL A STORY. Stock is not about taking 10,000 photos of different expressions or poses that don't mean anything. I would challenge stock artists to think about the story they are telling through their work. Yes, photomanipulators can write their own story, but it is a lot more fun to create with stock that is meaningful and created with purpose than a picture of some random person standing there smiling. I hope that makes sense.