mardi 23 décembre 2008

MAX GABL de Bâle à Los Angeles

Voici une interview exclusive de Max Gabl, matte painter suisse parti de Bâle pour arriver à Los Angeles. Il fera un passage par Digital Domain en travaillant entre autres sur FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS de Clint Eastwood ou encore KILL BILL 2 de Quentin Tarantino. Il travaille depuis à la divison digitale de CBS sur de nombreuses séries télé dont STAR TREK et PUSHING DAISIES.

Entre deux mattes, il a répondu à quelques-unes de mes questions. J'ai laissé l'interview en anglais. Bonne lecture.

VinceFX: Can you tell us a little about you and how you come to work at LA ???
Max: I have been painting from a very early age. As A kid I was fascinated by painters such as Velazquez, Leonardo and Van Eyck, which I copied, knowing that realistic painting is what I wanted to do. After Gymnasium I went to the Kunstgewerbeschule Basel (Ecole des Arts, Bale), where I had graphics and painting. I wasn't really happy with the curriculum there so after Kunstgewerbeschule I started studying painting in-depth by myself, copying old masters in the Musee de Louvre and Museo del Prado in Madrid. In my mid twenties I worked as a commercial illustrator, layout and graphic artist for advertising agencies, and as a digital artist for a small company that made animated movies for commercials. I also did oil portraits and taught airbrushing classes.

I did a lot of things since it was impossible to make a living as an artist in Switzerland specializing in one thing only. In the early nineties, when work in Switzerland became even more scarce due to the collapsing of many advertisement agencies, my wife (then my girlfriend), who is a costume sketch artist and costume designer, and I decided we would try to move to LA to find work in the movie business. Money earned from art that I sold at an exhibition and my wife's savings, got us to LA where we lived for half a year in 1994, trying to connect and find an employer/sponsor, but it didn't work out.

Before returning home we played the greencard lottery and luckily my wife won one, so a year later we immigrated. I worked my way up starting as set painter, miniature painter, storyboard artist, scenic artist (painting large realistic backdrops for movies), concept artist, and since about five years as matte painter.

VinceFX: Which software did you use ???
Max: I use Photoshop, Painter, Cinema 4d/Bodypaint, SketchUp, After Effects, Illustrator. Sometimes I paint textures the old fashioned way on canvas and photograph/scan them.

VinceFX: What's your best experience til now ???
Max: I love my jobs almost always but my most memorable experiences and highlights are connected to the people I meet and the crews I worked in. At Digital Domain, I remember the jokes and beers that followed us from the restaurant at the beach to the desk at work right next to our screens, where they would still be after we woke up from our extended after-lunch naps ... Of course this only happened after a job well done.

I also had a great time at CBS, when I worked for two years on Star Trek (remastered). Great crew there and the reactions of the Trekkies (StarTrek fans) to anything we did was just amazing. The smallest touch created thousands of comments on blogs and web sites worldwide, every painting I made was discussed by hundreds of people.

VinceFX: What are your projects ???
Max: My matte painting film credits include Stealth, Flags Of Our Fathers, Racing Stripes, The Celestine Prophecy, Primeval, Underdog.

My TV film credits include Star Trek, Kings, SIS, Ugly Betty, new Amsterdam, Pushing Daisies, The Bronx Is Burning, Boldly Going Nowhere, The Curse Of King Tut's Tomb, Supernova, Blackbeard, Mysterious Island (all HD).

My scenic backdrops film credits include The Terminal, Kill Bill 2, Hulk, The Haunted Mansion, Mystic River, The Scorpion King, The Stepford Wives, Spanglish, Live From Baghdad, and more.
Un grand merci à Max pour son temps, n'hésitez pas à aller voir sa bande démo, elle est vraiment impressionnante avec de nombreux avant/après montrant les différentes étapes de fabrication de ses mattes.

En complément, vous trouverez sur le site TrekMovie, un long article présentant la division digitale de CBS et leur travail sur la série Star Trek.

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