Today I will introduce you, a little more, about this incredible artist.
Perhaps, you already saw his work at the Dreamiverse. In this interview, he opens his heart and shares more about him. As well as a very optimistic message.
I am very grateful about this interview! Anyway, I let you enjoy this article.
1/ Hello Danny! Can you introduce yourself?
I’m 39, live in Manchester UK but grew up in Yorkshire. My parents were pub landlords growing up so I lived in a few areas around Yorkshire based around Leeds. I have great memories of playing pool and pinball as much as I wanted. Unfortunately my parents lost the business due to recession in the 90’s otherwise I may have continued in the family business as a chef as I enjoy cooking a lot.
I dropped out of art and design in 6th form as I wanted to get a job to have money, I regret not sticking to it and maybe going to college but who has no regrets in life?
I currently work as a CNC Operator (computer numerical control) for a large Engineering company based in UK. We design and build food sealing machines, my role specifically is machining the parts from Aluminium. My girlfriend is due to give birth to our daughter Maya any day now, I could not be happier right now!
2/ How did you discover Dreams? How long have you been playing it? And what do you enjoy the most when you’re playing?
I knew about it for several years before it came out, so was eagerly awaiting its arrival. I played some of the LBP games, and very briefly tried creating. But when I saw the limits tab on the side of the screen, ( what ever the thermo was called then) it put me off because I didn`t want to have to work to any limitations. I don’t know how big those limits were compared to Dreams thermo, but I had a feeling Dreams would allow for more memory in the creations. I got Dreams on launch day, and can say it was a blessing to arrive just before lockdown. Up to that point, I was mainly playing Battlefield, I think I would have gone crazy stuck in the house with no creative outlet. It`s hard to say exactly what I enjoy most. I love creating but also enjoy browsing surfing. Probably the best part for me is finishing a project, having no more anxiety or stress about it being finished or not good enough, and then seeing the comments people leave on the creations. The majority of my stuff is low number of players, but a few good comments makes all the effort worth it. Of course I enjoy creating regardless if I get no plays or comments, but they definitely help.
3/ Your creations are getting more and more breathtaking and look very inspired by the culture and art of Mesoamerica (Aztec, Olmec, etc.) It is quite enthralling, we’re literally living what seems to be one of your passions. Can you tell us more about it?
I am very glad you think that! I am trying to improve the details on every scene and hopefully that is coming through to the players. I have been interested in ancient cultures since my teens, but in particular Aztecs, Maya, Inca etc. I am half Spanish and I think that is where my obsession for Mesoamerica comes from , trying to learn about these amazing people that some of my ancestors helped to destroy in the conquests. I find the art of the Aztec and Maya utterly compelling, almost like it came from another planet. I did some travelling years ago to South America, starting in Santiago Chile, and went all the way north through the desert to Peru. I saw many amazing artifacts on that journey in museums, and that made me even more interested to learn more. I did the Inca trail in Peru, and the architecture of the giant walls made of perfectly cut rock is incredible. shortly after I got Dreams, it became clear that I would not enjoy logic, I find the process too confusing and not something I would enjoy, but that I could focus on visuals and maybe recreate some of the amazing things I am interested in. I am very grateful to MM for the tools they have given us to create anything we can think of.
4/ Many of your creations are very beautifully detailed jewelry. You seem to attach a lot of importance to staging but to artistic, visual and musical direction as well. Can you enlighten us a little more about your creation process ? And where do you get your inspiration from?
Probably my biggest inspiration other than my travels are things around my house. A lot of my sculpts are gifts or things I have bought while traveling, such as the Aztec calendar, a Mexican maize god statue I have in my kitchen.
Also just from looking at photos I took.
My Church Mountain scene started with the photo I have on my wall of the mountain, and it just progressed from there.
From videos I have watched by talented creators like Sakku, I know the usual process is to “block out” a scene. For some reason it`s just not how I approach it. For example my Cambodia scene was not planned at all. The first area was just placing some rocks, then I set up a camera with the first few keyframes, to find a path that I thought had some interesting angles. Then I would add more sculpts, go a bit further with the camera etc. But I had no plan for the first shot, then a vista, then a temple, etc. I just decided on it whilst I work. Maybe that is the wrong approach in theory but it seems to work for me.
Then once I have reached the end of the scene, I will start adding more details, as much as I think is necessary, or if the scene is big enough, as much as the thermo will allow. Finally I will tweak the grade and effects gadget ( for the fiftyth time) before I publish. Quite often I will also go back and tweak it a little bit again after I publish. I find it hard to be confident but I have it as good as it can be.
One of my favourite things to buy are masks, I have some great ones from Sri Lanka, Africa and Indonesia, I’m looking forward to sculpting some of those.
5/ As I mentioned earlier, music seems very important in most of your creations and it is pretty well done! Is it related to some experience outside Dreams or have you learned to compose in Dreams?
Music has been a big part of my life. I got into metal music in my teens thanks to my brother thankfully, as I was listening to some truly awful music before that. I taught myself electric guitar starting at 15, and eventually I was in a metal band for a while in my early 20s. I cant read music or understand scales, but I learnt to play Metallica, Nirvana, Sepultura etc before starting to make my own riffs. But I also appreciate a lot of other stuff like electronic, classical and of course tribal music. After I learnt the sculpt tools in Dreams I spent a while learning the very basic side of audio creation. I have only scratched the surface but I can just about stamp an instrument and make up some tunes. I was helped out a lot by NihTar’s stuff, he has some great samples and beats, and did the audio on one of my Halloween scenes which I think sounds really good, Its called Hells Gate if you want to check it out. I really enjoy finishing up the visuals on scenes because I know once I add ambience/music then it really elevates and brings the scene to life. I know its obvious to most people, but the difference the audio makes to a scene is massive, and I enjoy it as much as making the level.
6/ Still about music, we notice that you use voices of other Dreamers quite frequently in your songs, can you elaborate about the creation process? The voices are awesome! How do you arrange it? Do you do it all in Dreams?
So the voice in Church Mountain actually came from another dreamer’s song, by one of his friends. He said it was okay for me to use the vocals in my song, so I stamped them in the scene and made the music based around that. You can probably tell the metal influence in the heavy drums that kick in halfway through. I love death metal music so I try put heavy drums in any where I can. Metal music has a lot of similarity to classically composed music, so that`s probably why I think the female voice works really well in creating atmosphere in a dramatic scene. Lyrics are not even needed, just the harmonies bring a massive amount of feeling to the scene. After Church Mountain I knew Cambodia would benefit a lot from vocals. So I had a look for a Cambodian singer but was struggling to find one. Then my girlfriend showed me a video on Youtube one night: It was the Shamanic music act Olox on Americas Got Talent. It blew me away, I have also been interested in Shamanism from a young age and it sounded amazing, such a unique vocal style. So I said right, I will send her an email, I have nothing to lose. I didn’t hear anything for 2/3 weeks, then I was amazed to get a reply from Zarina saying she was interested in my creations. So I sent a link to Church Mountain and my progress so far on Cambodia, and to my amazement she said she would do some vocals for me! I had not started the music yet, so she created the vocal samples based on the visuals of the scene, and she sent me the vocals files. And just like Church Mountain I put them in the scene and made the music based around these vocals. We are both very happy how it turned out and we have another scene in the works based on her homeland of Arctic Siberia. I’m absolutely over the moon to have her as a collaborator.
7/ We see that you love sharing your own assets, but also use community assets like you recently did with the dragonfly of another notable artist (Julio_grr). Are further collaborations or other projects planned in the future?
BIG thanks to Julio for the dragonfly. I was about 2/3 weeks away from finishing Cambodia when he released Camille the Chameleon. Prior to this I had actually been looking for a dragonfly on Dreams but could not find one I liked. So I sent him a message and he very kindly said he would let me use it. I can`t imagine the scene without it, the timing was perfect! Also big thanks to Adam Clarke for the dancing goddess statue in the scene. I noticed his VR sculpts of the human form on Twitter, so I knew he could very easily do a sculpt of this typical Cambodian statue, something I would struggle with. I have done a few head sculpts but I`m not confident with the body.
As for future projects, I think I told you I would like to make a museum in dreams based on ancient artifacts, for all the ones I have done but also your recent Aztec weapon sculpt. I think this project will be great in VR but I will make it suitable for normal viewing too. Another thing I can mention is stemming from my work with Zarina from Olox, a film producer in LA may be interested in my work in Dreams. I have no idea what this could lead to but I can say I am very excited in the prospect. Making these kind of connections give me hope that one day, if I can get permission through the Dreams Beta Evaulation, then I could one day make a living from my creativity, something I have never had the pleasure of being able to do.
8/ We’re getting to know your art a bit and what you seem to like doing. But like many artists who are on Dreams, you may have other ambitions. How is Dreams working out for you? What place does it take in your life today and what do you expect from Dreams in the future?
Well as mentioned above, I intend to apply to the Dreams Beta Evaluation very soon. I have no interest in other platforms like blender, as I hate PC’s and I know just from hearing Martin Nebelong talk about it on twitter, that Dreams is by far the most accessible creation platform available. So I am 100% committed to improving my work on Dreams, even it does only remain a hobby. I have always had a creative side, I used to draw and paint quite a bit, also the interest in music and other things, so my life has literally changed for the better since Dreams was launched. Being able to have a thought or an idea, and turn on my PS4 and start bringing it to life has being incredible, and it`s just the start! I am looking forward to being a Dad, and me and my girlfriend love nature and we will be having a lot of outdoor adventures together with our daughter Maya. When she is old enough I hope we will also be creating some Dreams stuff together.
9/ Do you use any other creation workshop software besides Dreams? Which are they and what does Dreams have more compared to these softwares?
As above, no I do not. I’m actually not much of a fan of technology, which is why I have not had PC for over 10 years. Dreams has given me everything I could ever need on my creative journey.
10/ If you could change one thing about Dreams, what would it be? Something you don’t like at all
Difficult question. The only negative thing to happen to me was I was unable to publish a dream a while after launch due to private creation error, but this could have been my fault due to the way I worked back then, making sculpts while in a scene or something. Also the obvious one, which I know is way more complicated than I will ever know, but give all Dreamers permission to monetize their work, as long as they are not creating copyrighted works of any kind
11/ Which artists inspire you the most in and outside Dreams? Do you have any recommendations for the CoMmunity and people who might read this?
My biggest influences and help so far have been Martin Nebelong, InkThinLine, (Shandyboy1975) Sakkusmind, Nihtar, Adam Clarke (thecommonpeople), also JPlusb for his enthusiasm for my work. And of course to TAPGiles, the man with an answer for every dreams question! Also thanks to anyone reading this that enjoys what I do, I will never be able to make games, but hopefully I can keep making nice nature and cultural scenes for you to enjoy.
Any final word ?
Keep Dreaming !