Saturday, 22 March 2014

Questions for Jes Goodwin

Hello Jes Goodwin. I don't really expect you to ever see this and if you do I don't expect you to answer it. It’s fucking long and a lot of the 'questions' are just me making statements and putting a question mark at the end. 

But if you do read it, and you find anything in it interesting, of course I would be very interested to hear what you have to say.

1. Are there any other interviews with you about on the internet?  I have only been able to find the old GW design studio podcast and the Youtube videos where you talk about Dark Eldar?

2. In your design studio interview you describe going back and forth between different mediums, writing, drawing and sculpting, defining the Eldar world, culture and technology from several perspectives before finishing a form.

I think that the use of interlocking constraints of different *kinds* can be a powerful impetus to creativity and that one thing good artists do is choose an imaginative and elegant series of constraints in which to work. I think that by writing and drawing and sculpting, and by defining eldar runes and eldar gods and combat tactics and helmet shapes all at the same time you were constructing these constraints.

What do you think?

3. Since we all use Mini's looking down on them from behind at about 45 degrees (I call it the 'God-Angle Profile')  is this point of view formally taken into account in the design process? Sometimes it seems like it is and sometimes like it isn’t.

The Imperial Guard, for instance, have very boring backs and shoulders.

One of the things that most interests me is the interlocking effect of the means of mass production, the impulses from a developing fictional universe, the desires of the market and the aesthetics of the designer, with that in mind;

4. Did the shift from Lead, to Pewter, to Plastics to CAD, create changes in how you thought about design in an aesthetic sense? (This is probably too big a question to ask.)

5.  Did the change in material change the kind of information a model can carry? How? Plastic can carry more detail, are there other changes?

6. Has GW ever considered creating small runs of sculpts in radically different materials purely for their tactile and aesthetic effect? (ie stone, wood etc)

7. I got the idea that dwarves 'contain mass', that is they hold and contains weight and depth and project or embody that in the world. That they are best when they hold a round and compact inner space, and that they do this more than most other races in the range. What do you think?

Sculpture is a three-dimensional art that sings when it deals with complex 3d forms. Human beings are interesting from the front but, frankly, a bit fucking boring from the back. With that in mind;

8. Is one of the useful things about sci-fi sculpture that you can give almost everyone a distinctive and powerful-looking backpack? That you can make them more three-dimensionally interesting without pushing them out of a semi-naturalistic shape?

9. What do you think of the backpack of Ferrus Manus?

10. Who had the idea of having the mech arms on it closed?

11. Will they try anything that radical for any other Primarchs?

12. Is anyone going to do an interesting backpack for the Imperial Guard? (Main line, not Forge World)

(Aliens have their own deal, odd shoulders, exposed spinal cords etc can give them powerful profiles without backpacks. Orks are just shoulders, Genestealers look like spiders from behind etc)

13. I sometimes think that a war mini has to carry its story-information forwards and its tactical information backwards. From the front it’s like a little actor in a play, from the back like a clearly profiled chess piece. What do you think of this?

14. In Fantasy, should we consider a single standard infantry figure a piece of art, or as part of a larger piece of art, the unit? (Since they are always meant to be seen massed as one.)

15. Do 40k models need a bolder individual identity, since they fight in skirmish formation and the design needs to tie together pieces that might be physically apart, as opposed to fantasy models who will generally be ranked up side-to-side.

16. Do you think this creates a kind of 'perfect storm' where 40k models face a kind of evolutionary pressure to be as bold as possible and this may be something that has given that game charisma over its fantasy counterpart?

16. Does the small scale of 15mm modelling, force the sculptor to create more powerful and distinctive forms in order to imbue a model with a visible identity?

17. Considering the re-creation of a lot of Epic-scale idea's as huge 28mm models in recent years, do you think that the Epic range was a kind of creative test-bed for the larger 40k range?

18. Space Marines were made to simulate Mass and Weight. When they run, leap or extend their bodies they don’t work as well for me. What do you think? 

19. I think Science-Fictional and Fantasy models create a unique space in sculpture. That they can marry the boldness and radicalism of abstract and non-representative art to a representative form that allows the energy of those powerful and unusual shapes to work their way down a chain of association and appear in models for the popular market in a way comprehensible to the average observer. What do you think?

20. Why is armour so interesting? Is it because armour is already a sculpture of its own and that by sculpting it again we create a kind of art-within-an-art that concentrates it somehow?

Or because it forces a form upon the inner form instead of revealing it?

Or is it because boys don't notice clothes, but if you make it armour then they do notice it?

21. When we see something in shadow do you think that activates the part of our brain that recalls caressing things so that to see a large building draped in shadows feels almost like you are running your fingers and hands across the whole building at once?

22. How can we create interesting use of shadow in mini's since they are so small and pretty much prisoners of any light around (the scale being like if we were surrounded by film set lights all the time)

(With paint obviously, but how about without paint?)

23. In cathedrals, parts close to the ground are given fine decoration while as things get further away the designs become more angular and abstract. At a distance fine detail would be merely a blur. The effect is intended to be a comprehensible even amount of detail as one when seen from the ground. In model buildings we see the whole thing as one. Is there any way to use the reverse of this effect to seduce the eye with an illusion of scale for small model buildings?

24. Is Kingdom Death beating you at art? If they don't, who do you think might?

25. Will be ever see truly radical fortress and terrain designs that take advantage of the vast possibilities of the 40k & Fantasy universes. (The wizard thing on a living tornado, the big mad fortress with the hooded statue, the new void generator,  these things are good starts but should be a starting point rather than an outlier.)

26. Will we ever see a 40k sculpture park?

27. Can we get a 40ft eldar titan in Nottingham so we can go and look at it?

28. If Games Workshop goes down the tubes, who gets the art? (There should be gallery.)

29. Is there anything in sculpture right now that you find especially interesting or exciting?

30. It looks very much like 3d printing will unleash sculpture from its production base in the same way the mp3 did for music. There will be pirated shapes. What do you think of this?

31. Are there interesting aesthetic possibilities with 3d printing that have not yet been noticed? (You can do ‘shapes in shapes’ and print chains with the links already linked.)

You know you could do an Enslaver range as 3d printable sculptures-within-sculptures-within sculptures. Like this

32. Have you heard of Herbert Reid and if you have, what did you think of him?


  1. I like the idea that there is an interview out there, just quietly waiting for Jes Goodwin to find it.

    1. Not that quietly I hope since I actively want him to find it.