Artwork Feature #3: Rob Shields - Until There's Nothing Left

This is part of our new weekly series of posts. Here we feature a selected piece of art and have a little chat with the designer who made it. They give us a bit of background information and details about how the work was conceptualized and created.

This week's pick is Rob Shields "Until There's Nothing Left". Rob Shields became a good of mine after we worked together a couple of times. I wrote an article about him and we collaborated for a personal piece. Two months ago he made a simple but great design with a nice shining typeface. Because it shows the universe it fits perfectly to the abduzeedo homepage. Rob Shields sat down and wrote a useful description about the background of the image. Enjoy.

Artwork Feature #3: Rob Shields - Until There's Nothing Left

Rob Shields about "Until There's Noting Left":

Ok so if you're familiar with the whole "indie" music scene you might recognize the title of this piece as it is borrowed from a 2006 album by the artist Kill Hannah. Then again you might not, to tell you the truth I do not own nor have I listened to the full album. I just know of the band and decided to borrow their album title to offer a jumping off point for a piece of art. That being said this image was not intended to represent any outside emotional state or statement, basically I took this phrase and internalized it. I didn't do this with the intention of making a piece of art per se, it just happened naturally. This to me was an indication that, if I wanted to, I could make a piece of art based on the title that would seem somewhat genuine (at least I hoped). Of course this all happens within one or two seconds and is definitely much simpler than I am making it sound. You know you see something that you identify with, a statement, a sentiment and you want to express it in your own personal way.

This was a personal project but it started out differently than most of my personal projects. Since this piece was based on a phrase, I decided to make the phrase the main backdrop of the piece. The difference for me is that usually I create the image first and title it once it is finished. With this I had the title first, and this had a big impact on the composition. Given a choice between having an idea in mind and not having an idea, I'd choose not having an idea any day. For me if I set out to say something specific nine times out of ten what I end up saying is false. If I set out with nothing and try to discover what I want to say nine times out of ten what I end up saying is true. I think I got that idea from an old book on how to write fiction. That particular book was all about telling you to never write the ending of your story first but hey whatever works for you is what I say.

Now actually working on the project was really straight forward. The title suggests emptiness so I decided I wanted my canvas to be outer space because, well, "space is a lonely town". Next I picked out my text and started to mess with lighting effects until I was happy. I had no preconceived drafts or sketches, I just like to jump right in and see what happens. I believe that the image of the girl I ended up using was not the original image that I chose for the piece so for a while it was not working and eventually I decided I needed to scrap my original stock photo and use another. That was the only real problem and once I had the all important center piece of the image I just added a few more textures and effects until I was happy with the overall depth and complexity of the image.

As far as knowing when the image is finished I'm going to echo some of the other designers and say you just have to wait. Actually the longer you wait the more obvious it will be whether or not a piece is finished. Sometime I think it would be nice to put my designs away for an entire year before looking at them again. Obviously this is a bit unrealistic but you get the point.

Rob Shields just released his new homepage. His portfolio can also be seen on his DeviantArt-account

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