Interview with Digital Artist Keith Garrison


Keith Garrison doesn't like to call himself a graphic artist because he doesn't do logo's and package design. He prefers the expression digital artist. And that's what he is. Very young, very talented and very interesting. In his artworks he mixes Cinema 4D objects with a lot of use of Photoshop

1. First of all we would like to thank you for taking the time to provide with this interview. Please tell us more about your art and design background and what made you become an artist and designer?

Thanks For the Opportunity. I've always had a heavy interest in Art and Design. When I was a Child I use to only hang with other children that could draw and make little comic books in my free time. My father was a Computer Technician, so I guess that's where I got my love of computers from. Being that at the time I was really into video games, I eventually found a site called . Gamerenders really was my first major exposure to Digital Art, which at the time, was something I never heard/dreamed of. After a while at Gamerenders, I stopped with the tutorials and moved to experimenting on my own. The fact that it never got boring, that there is always some new idea or concept to develop or that I'm only limited my will and imagination is what really made me keep with it to this day. Later this year I will be attending The College For Creative Studies as a freshmen to major in Advertising Design.

Crystalk Walkway Original by Keith garrison


Crystal Walkway


2. Your work is pretty unique and full of creativity. Where does your inspiration come from?

Ha! Where doesn't it come from? The thing about inspiration is that it's not limited. It can come from anywhere or anything. I have had times when simple things said to me have sparked endless ideas and concepts. For me, my main source of inspiration derives from movies. Doesn't matter, old or new, movies always seem to spark the idea for something. For me it always seems to trigger a new thought or emotion. Movies can be really expressive so it only makes sense that they go hand and hand with art. Whenever I'm starting a new project it always helps for me to watch a new movie. It's become so bad I can't really start working until I have done so.

3. Could you describe for us your typical 'start to finish' workflow when working on a design?

After a movie or two, I crank up some tunes and open up Photoshop, Firefox, and my pictures. I know some designers prefer that you sketch your ideas first then open up photoshop but this doesn't always work for me. Instead I 'Sketch' in photoshop. Finding pictures, mixing and matching until I get a general idea of what I'm going for. Then I show it to a couple of friends for opinions. I rework it a bit then go over over the things I like and dislike about it, writing everything down.Then I tend to just leave it alone for a while. After a couple of days [Sometimes, after a couple of hours] I come back to the 'Sketch' and work on it [ While going over my notes] until I produce a near final version. When I'm finaly satisfied with it, it turns int a mater of proper color adjustments and it becomes 'finished'. ready for feedback and critique by others.

Caustics by Keith Garrison

4. What are your tools of the trade, both hardware and software?

I'm a PC guy. =) I really only use Photoshop CS4 and Cinema 4D. 400GBs HD space. AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Processor with 3G DDR2 Ram 19" Widescreen Hi-Def Monitor Nothing too amazing but it gets the Job done.

5. What, for you personally are the pros and cons of being a designer?

For me the Pros of being a designer, is that you are given a major role in creating the world around you. Art influences other Artist and that Artist influence new kinds of art so the cycle never ends. And to just be apart of that whole cycle is a wonder in itself. A major con of being a designer is the lack of sleep. It's very easy to fall into the trap of sleeping only three hours a day which can have some serious negative effects on other things for you.

Homecoming 15 by Keith Garrison

6. How does your job as an artist and designer influence your life? Do you feel that you see things around you differently for example?

I most defiantly feel as if I see things differently. I tend to pay more attention to details than others and look at things from the background to the foreground rather than the opposite. I have also had plenty of times where I have stared at a billboard or poster and thought to myself how it could be replicated in Photoshop, entering a 'trance' of sorts.

The Assasing vs. the Assailant by Keith Garrison

7. What are your coming projects?

I try to always keep myself with something to do. I'm currently looking to explore new forms of design. I'm working with a musician and good Friend of mines Zebra Stripes for the packaging of his upcoming EP. Package design is fun and exciting for me because it gives me more of a chance to be hands on and involved with the freedom I'm given. I have also have been working more and more with 3D elements and I'm looking to take my passion for movies a step further by producing a short animated series by the end of the year. I have also gathered about 18-20 artists from Behance for a collaboration of sorts. We are currently still in the early stages of this 'experiment' so there isn't much more I can say about it other than I'm working with some very talented artist and we're all really excited about it.

Color Cyborg by Keith Garrison

8. What are your favourite 5 websites, and why? - One of the most powerful tools in my Arsenal . - It's always great to know what's going on in the world and to just take a break every now and then. I believe Behance is the best site out there for Creatives. - A great photographer and friend of mine. I frequently look at his work for inspiration. - Pretty cool blog with plenty of inspiration and tutorials floating around.

Broken by Keith Garrison

9. Once again , thank you very much for the interview. As a final word, do you have any tips for upcoming artists and designers?

Thanks for having me. As for advice, keep yourself busy. Don't have a project to work on ? Make one up. Give yourself challenges and goals. I've set a goal to do the minimum of 4 projects a month. Then after two months I shall double it, then double it again. Keeping yourself busy not only keeps you reaching a Creative Block but it also keeps you artistically in shape. It keeps the ideas flowing. I'm not saying you have to produce a magnum opus each time but there have been plenty times when I have came across random unfinished projects that have elements or achieve a look that I need for a current project. You will not only be surprised at how quickly you grow as an artist but also at how fast you develop works for your portfolio. Also don't limit yourself. If you're a traditional artist don't be afraid to try 3D modeling or if you're a 3D modeler give illustrator a shot. This will keep you flexible, help you discover new looks and may help you develop a certain kind of style. It will also keep your portfolio very diverse.

Where to find Keith Garrison on the web

He doesn't have a personal homepage but a nice portfolio on the Behance Network

Between the Zebra Stripes by keith Garrison

Between the Zebras Stripes by Keith Garrison

Written by

Fabio Sasso

I'm a Brazilian product designer based in Oakland, California currently working for Google as a Staff Designer. I am also the founder of Abduzeedo, an award-winning digital publication about design and a personal project that has become the source of inspiration for millions of designers and enthusiasts.