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George Grie interview to Zazzle.com | digital printing and retail apparel items

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Zazzle is a popular American online marketplace that allows artists to create their own printing products such as framed prints, posters, and apparel with independent manufacturers. This Zazzle related interview was given to "Rise of the Angry Squirrel". March 24, 2010

Q; What brought you and your fantastic art to Zazzle in the first place?
A; I believe I opened a “Zazzle account” about 7 years ago. There were not many online print services at that time. It was and it still is a very convenient way to give visitors a chance having a piece of modern digital art for an exceptionally fair price. In addition, your print content may be distributed globally with your minimal involvement.

Q; Do you have a professional background in the arts, or is just a hobby that you happen to excel in?
A; I have a BA in fine-arts education and various other certifications such as digital graphic design, multimedia development, digital media specialist, etc.

Q; Your 3D renders are absolutely stunning. What programs do you use and how long does a print like "Lost Expedition" take you to complete from inspiration to final render?
A; I use two main applications for the most of my images, 3ds max and Adobe Photoshop. Max is the main tool for setting up any of the image scenes. I import live forms, and humans from Poser or Daz studio, background skies oand landscapes from Terragen or MojoWorld. There certainly are preferences of spending no more than one week for one image. I try to keep it fresh while the inspiration is still in full swing, but it all depends.

Q; Entropy, abandonment and loss can broadly describe many of your images, these are ghosts of history. Where does your love of centuries past come from?
A; The short answer is - books. I used to read a lot when I was a child. Reading actually, inspired me to apply my imagination to into something realistic. Drawing was the obvious choice.

Q; Do you work online exclusively? Do you sell out in the real world as well?
A; The first part of my life I was a painter. My last painting was completed in 1996. The second part of my life is dedicated to the digital creativity. However, I might return to brushes and canvas one day. I do not work online only, that would be kind of sad, wouldn’t it? I’m engaged in the real world as well.

Q; What inspires you as an artist? Do you have any artists that you look to for inspiration?
A; I won’t be the only one who is incapable of determining exact ways of inspiration. My muse comes and goes as she pleases. In fact, everything around us can be inspiring: music, movies, life and sightseeing, etc., as long as it carries a strong visual, philosophical, or emotional message. All ideas are in the air, you just have to keep your mind open to them. However, there exists one unbeatable source of an inspirational chain reaction, so to speak, - that is another artist’s artwork. There are tons of classic and contemporary artists from whom you may be inspired. I would not bore you with listing all of them.

Q; You descriptions are nearly as engrossing as you images. Do you have a background in writing as well?
A; My short notes are meant only as a hint, alongside with the image titles themselves. Sometimes I incorporate encyclopedic or historic quotes into my descriptions, but you are absolutely free to interpret my artworks in your own unique way and to neglect any guidelines coming from me whatsoever. In fact, my sole existence should be of no concern to you, when you’re trying to fulfill the most challenging job of all – to build a perception bridge to a picture based entirely on your sensitivity, personal knowledge and world view. I do not have any background in writing. In fact, English is my second language. In fact, I did not speak a word of English 10 years ago.

Q; What keeps you going as a shop keeper? Is it only sales, or do you enjoy other aspects of the online selling experience?
A; To tell the truth, I do not consider Zazzle sales as income. Long time ago I was trying to manage limited edition printing by myself. Somehow, I felt guilty when I could not fulfill someone’s desire to have a simple poster print. Unfortunately, that was taking too much time to handle and manage. Too many people asked me for prints so Zazzle came along as a perfect solution to resolve this problem.

Q; Did you have the same "new to Zazzle" questions and confusion that so many others experience when first starting out, or did it all come pretty naturally?
A; 7 years ago Zazzle was a total disaster. It is a smooth sailing for me today. However, you might need some time to get the website logic. There are many features there that require a professional “Zazzle” approach. We were discussing many of them over a dinner last year when a Zazzle team was visiting Toronto.

Q; Could you give a ballpark figure of how much time you spend a week taking care of your Zazzle shop and promoting it?
A; I am not a very active zazzler. I go there to add new images only which happens about once a month.

Q; Are there any other places online or in the real world where we can find more of your images and prints?
A; You may see most of my digital works on my official website Neosurrealismart.com Let me know when you are in Toronto and I will update you with the latest exhibition events.

Cheers!
George Grie, March 24, 2010
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