Meinert Hansen is a concept artist and illustrator who’s worked in video games, animation and feature film for 28 years. His recent credits include Batman Arkham Origins (Warner Bros. Games Montreal), Splinter Cell Conviction, Myst IV Revelation (Ubisoft Montreal) and 300 (Warner Bros. Pictures). He is also teaching Environment Design at Syn Studio! Meinert sat down with us for a brief interview about his initiation to and inspiration in art.
So Meinert, how did you first get interested in art?
It was through comic books… I’ve been drawing since I was very young. I started to imitate Superman comics when I was kid, and I learned from copying the comic books, and eventually illustrated books. For me, it’s a quick way of expressing myself. I was a little bit dyslexic when I was younger, so rather than explaining something in writing, I would draw it. I found that it was sometimes faster for me to illustrate an idea than to explain it in words.
So how did you become a professional artist?
I was looking for work as a graphic designer when I got out of college, and subsequently, I went to university for a year of fine arts. I was doing business cards and logos for friends and such. It was very hard to find work at that time. I got a job working in animation, because I had done animation when I was a teenager. I continued in animation until I was doing TV series and such… That’s how I got my start.
So you were a superhero fan when you were a kid?
Yeah, I was. I was a superhero fan, but I was also a big science fiction nerd. I was very much into science fiction movies and TV shows like Star Trek. So I always wanted to draw spaceships and ray guns and that kind of thing. I still do.
If you could have one superpower or future technology, what would it be?
That’s a good question… hmm… I would love to time travel.
And where would you go to, if you could go to any time?
I would like to go back to the early 20th century. I know this sounds odd, with all the incredible things you can do as a time traveller… I’d want to go to the early 20th century and take classes with the great illustrators.
Such as Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, the Brandywine school of illustrators… I would love to learn from them.
What do you think over, say the last hundred years, has been the major change in illustration?
Well, commercial illustration was not considered an art form in the early part of the 20th century. You were either an artist or a commercial illustrator; the two of them never blended. Nowadays I find that the line is really blurred between art and illustration. I think it’s because of digital painting, and digital techniques, that there’s been a crossover.
Aside from taking your classes here at Syn Studio, if people want to find out more about you, I guess they could go to your blog or your website?
Yep, my blog or website!
Scroll down to see more of Meinert Hansen’s artwork!