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An Interview With Three Artists Inspired By ‘Zack Snyder’

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“Powerful art can heal, bring awareness and create change” – Zack Snyder

Zack Snyder has always been very upfront in making his inspirations clear. From Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey to Star Wars, Ayn Rand, Anime, comics etc. He has never shied away to incorporate what inspires him in his art. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why a humble mainstream blockbuster movie director from California inspires an almost God-like following amongst many people over the world. Some are passionate to the point of being toxic; others like Snyder himself take the often biased treatment given to him by mainstream media and subsequently by Warner Bros. as an inspiration to create something unique of their own.

With more than half the world being quarantined in their homes and suddenly discovering the artist in them in their free time, what could be a better time than to talk to a few such artists inspired by Zack Snyder and particularly his work on the DC Extended universe. We spoke to 3 artists from 3 different unique fields about what they find inspirational in Snyder’s work, their views on Release the Snyder cut movement and a lot more.


TO THE VICTOR, GO THE SPOILS

If you are familiar with the image shared by Zack Snyder above, then you are already familiar with Victor Ku a.k.a Mighty Pegasus.  A month or so ago Snyder held a competition for posters that really incorporate the spirit of his true version of the Justice League movie. A.k.a Zack Snyder’s Justice League, a.k.a the Snyder cut. Out of more than 1200 entries Victor was chosen the winner personally by Snyder himself for this fantastically detailed portrayal of the entire DCEU from Man of Steel to Aquaman. All captured in this imposing, cosmic all-encompassing image of Darkseid.

ARTIST NAME: VICTOR KU

AGE: 31

FIND MORE OF HIS ART ON:

Online Store: Might Pegasus Art

Instagram: MightyPegasus

Twitter: MightyPegasus

Q: How did you connect with Zack Snyder’s DCEU and do you like about it?

A: “I was on board for Zack Snyder’s movies from the start and I was very excited that he was chosen to do JL part 1 and part 2 at the time. I have to say I love everything about the universe he created from Man Of Steel and BvS, these movies felt very personal to me because I have been a DC comics fans for a long time.”

Q: What does the ‘Release the Snyder Cut’ movement mean to you?

A: “The movement means a lot of things to me, one reason is to see the original vision Zack Snyder had in mind and to support the creative integrity behind this idea. Another reason is that I just hate what so many people had done and said about his daughter’s death, the world is cruel and I just want to support this cause in hope that people realize how awful they were and that they learn to be better to each other.”

Q: What was the inspiration behind the winning poster?

A: “I was inspired by many artists such James Raiz, Ross Draws, Tyrone Magnus but the 2 main ones that really gave me the idea for my JL project are artist Christopher Cayco and Ah Leung, they created amazing art from one specific universe and they really go all out, so I wanted to do something epic that represents the universe Zack created.”

Q: How did it feel winning the contest?

A: “I was caught by surprised, I had already told myself that I probably didn’t win it and that I was happy to have made it to top 4 only but then my phone started going crazy with all the messages and online orders! I didn’t really fully absorb it until 2 days later and I was very excited since then.”

Some non-DC work by Victor Ku. 

Q: What Software/techniques do you use for your work?

A: “I use Clip Studio Paint for my digital art and I work on a Huion Kamvas Pro 22 display tablet to draw.

Q: Which non-Snyder DCEU movie did you like the most?

A: “I really liked Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman was fantastic and Aquaman, it had a couple bad jokes but the movie was beautiful! I was not a fan of Shazam at all… I tried to like it, it was funny in some scenes and it surprised me when they brought the Shazam family on screen but it really felt like a comedy and also felt rushed a bit with the story.”

Q: What future movies other than Zack Snyder’s Justice League are you excited for?

A: “Currently, there isn’t really any new DC movies that I’m excited about since the studio decided to kind of derived to a different direction but I want to watch the Joker which I still haven’t gotten the chance to go watch. The Black Adam movie does sound interesting also but we will have to see…”


 

A WHOLE NEW LANGUAGE

 

 

ARTIST NAME: TAKAHAN TAN

AGE: 45

FIND MORE OF HIS ART ON:

Facebook: FilmLanguageOfTaKaHaN

Patreon: Film Language of TaKaHaN

Instagram: takahan13

Twitter: takahan_artist

We tend to think of art sometimes in very conventional terms – drawing, painting, movies, sculpture, photography etc. But Takahan Tan combines two or three of those to create something totally unique. Even his Facebook and Twitter pages are named “Film Language of Takahan Tan”. He basically uses Funko pop toys and photography to recreate scenes from movies especially DCEU movies. Other than the accuracy and detailing of the scene, he somehow manages to infuse these cute little toys with complex emotions. His image of the beginning of the titular BvS fight is imbued with the same dark and operatic emotion of the scene in the movie.

Q: Since how long have you been practicing your art ?

A:” I had been practising art at the age of 5,but only picked up toy photography 2 years ago.”

Q: How has Zack Snyder particularly his work on DCEU inspired you?”

A:I remember the first time I saw Wonder Woman on the big screen, her skin was glowing faintly. The little glow may not be very obvious but it makes Wonder Woman feel like a goddess.
Zack inspired me to work on all these small details. And I think it is very important to toy photography because it will give a lot of characteristic and personality to the toys.
Toys are made of plastic and so as an artist, we have to think of ways to make them feel different. Zack Snyder’s films taught me a lot.

Q: What does the ‘Release the Snyder cut’ movement mean to you?

A: “I do not really know how to express it in words, so I will let my photography do the talking J”

Q: What materials and techniques do you use?

A: “Mainly Funko. I always try my best to use a real background, but some time due to scale/size problems, I have to do composition. The challenging thing is that not all characters are made into toys, so I have to find ways to make them either digitally or physically.”

Q: Which non-Snyder DCEU movie did you like the most?

A: “I generally love DCEU as a whole. I love the way how every DCEU film is set up. For example, Shazam movie is from the perspective of a young boy, while Birds of Prey is from the perspective of a crazy girl whom everyone treats as a villain. DCEU is rich because it shows us different people can have different thoughts and opinions. And how different people will view thing differently. I believe this is what Zack Snyder wanted for the DCEU. So even though some films are not by Zack, they actually fulfil his ideas (with the exception of Justice League). One may not like how Superman views his world or how Batman or Harley views their world, but if you put them together, they are beautiful. Btw I love Aquaman a lot because I am a marine life lover.”

Q: What future DC movies are you excited for and why? Other than Zack Snyder’s Justice League of course

A:” The Flash. I am a visual artist, so I am really excited to see how a big-budget film is going to do the VFX. I think it will be a big breakthrough in visuals just like Man of Steel and Aquaman.”


 

THE SECOND COMING

 

ARTIST NAME: Chris Dawson

YouTube: Black Suit Edition

Twitter: CdawsonAuthor

To say that Warner Bros. dropped the ball on November 17th 2017 with the mess that was the theatrically released Justice League would be an understatement. Many fans walked out disappointed, shocked or confused. Others went online to rightfully rant their frustration. Some started petitions for the release of Zack Snyder’s original vision. Some talented editors even went to the extent of making fan edits to the movie to make it more in line with what was intended – Replacing the music with Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL score, cutting out the horrible jokes, putting the scenes in the right order etc.

To say Chris Dawson took it a step further would also be an understatement. Armed with a laptop and his own skills, he straight up decided to create something new. Wrote a new story, incorporated fresh VFX, new music by Geraldo Cortes…you know what just watch this and tell me it doesn’t get you hyped up –

Q: What is it about Snyder’s DCEU that clicked with you?

A: “The grounded nature of it. I’m a huge fan of Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and Man of Steel felt like the perfect extension of that. Obviously it’s in a different universe, but the approach was the same. I think Snyder, Nolan, Goyer and Zimmer was an exceptional collaboration. I wasn’t sure where Snyder would go next, but he took full control and delivered something spectacular in Batman v Superman. That was a really unique cinematic experience.”

Q: What does the “Release the Snyder Cut” movement mean to you?”

A: “Creative freedom, first and foremost. I’m sure Zack expected a bit of resistance from the studio and maybe a theatrical cut similar to Batman v Superman, but the extent to which his story and vision was undermined was an insult to him, the entire cast and crew of the movie, and the fans. Releasing his cut would be the right thing to do, and it would be a statement of intent from WB that they’re prepared to stick by their creative talent. The fact that the movement is imbued with altruism makes it all the more worthy of everyone’s support. The amount of money and awareness raised for suicide prevention is really staggering.”

Q: What stage is the Black Suit Edition at?

A: “It’s at a stage where the basic stuff is done. Putting together the new sequences is a huge amount of work. Each shot of about three seconds is like its own project. You might have seen some of those in the form of Gifs. I’m really grateful for all the patience and support.”

Q: What software and techniques do you use?

A: “I use Adobe After Effects for all the visuals. There are amazing plugins out there like the Trapcode Suite and a couple of freebies from Video Copilot. In terms of techniques, it depends on the shot. I usually have a little sketch of exactly what I want, then I look for the elements I need. Sometimes that means pulling backgrounds out of other movies, using still images or stock video.

If it’s video, I then use 3D motion tracking to find out exactly what the camera is doing, then apply that camera to the elements I’m compositing. Usually, those are 2D. Characters rotoscoped out of different shots with different camera movements. That means more tracking to stabilise the shot before applying the new camera to it. 3D assets bring different challenges, and they take an age to render, even in previews.

Obviously there’s a lot of colour correction too, then things like particle effects. Once it’s all composited together, I colour grade it, apply grain etc then decide it’s rubbish and go back to the drawing board.”

Q: From what we understand, the Black Suit edition is almost an entirely new story-line than the theatrical cut and even Snyder’s original cut. Is that true?

A:” Yes, it’s a different story. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is canon. This is just something else for people to hopefully enjoy, with plenty of surprises.”

Q: Where did the writing inspiration for the new story come from? Any comic books in particular?

A: “Well, the biggest inspiration behind it is what Snyder was doing with these characters. I tried to come up with something that feels true to that. As for other inspirations, that would give a lot away. I think people will spot influences here and there, for sure. There are also one or two new versions of very significant moments from DC Comics lore in there.”

Q: Which non Snyder DCEU movies did you like?

A:” I really like some things in all of them. It’s pretty rare that I straight-up dislike a movie.”

Q: What future DC movies other than the Snyder cut and of course your JL: Black Suit Edition are you excited for?

A:” I’m open to all of them. I can’t say every trailer or reveal does it for me though, just like every single title on the shelf of a comic book store doesn’t take my fancy. Not everything is made for everyone and things that tend to be mediocre. I’m a huge Batman fan though, and I also read a lot of detective and noir fiction, so I’m interested to see what Matt Reeves does with that movie.”

The Black Suit Edition is a very bold, ambitious project requiring big-budget studio-level VFX and because Chris is doing this as and when time permits, he is unable to comment on a specific release date. However, great things come to those who wait and this edition is totally worth waiting for.

Writer, blogger comic book and movie geek offering a unique take on story-telling and narrative aspects

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