This week, I had the pleasure to interview - vigshane. If you take a look at her gallery, you can see a really varied art in different styles, ranging from traditional to digital, every picture unique and beautiful. But not only that - Vigshane/Wenjin/Norloth is also one of the 75 winners of the Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest, who got to travel to New Zealand, and meet Peter Jackson in person! In this interview, we didn't only talk about art, but also about this wonderful experience.
1. Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?
Don’t really know what to tell, you’ll know more about me if you keep reading... 2. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?
When I was 16. I had never read something like that and was totally amazed by the universe Tolkien created.3. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien expert?
I’ve read The Hobbit, LOTR, Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales...and very limited segments from The Histories of Middle-earth. But I don’t dare to call myself an expert, because sometimes I forget things, like those happened in the first age... I know there're some experts amongst my friends who can remember every tiny detail happened in Middle-earth.
4. When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie. Did it happen to you as well? Did you try to prevent it?
No. Because I saw the first film before reading the books. Fantasy genre wasn’t popular in China back in 2002 and very few people knew about Tolkien at that time. So thanks to Peter Jackson for introducing Middle-earth to me! 5.Speaking about the movies, you are one of the winners of the Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest, and got to travel to New Zealand, meet Peter Jackson and see the third movie in the Hobbit trilogy before anyone else. I don't even know where to begin asking about that, and where to end Could you tell us your impressions from this trip? What was the strongest experience?
This was the most amazing thing ever happened to me! Though I have traveled to New Zealand once (last year), having a trip with other biggest Tolkien fans was really something different. We were treated like the most important guest by the wonderful people from Air New Zealand and Tourism New Zealand, and became friends with some of them. The schedule was so busy and full of exciting activities as well as surprises. The strongest experience happened in Hobbiton Movie Set when we entered the Green Dragon Inn and discovered that John Callen(Oin), Mark Hadlow(Dori), Jed Brophy(Nori) and Steven Hunter(Bombur) were inside waiting for us. Mr. Callen put his prothetic forehead on my head... I felt so overwhelmed by the whole situation. They were like very old friends to us and they carried a bit of their character on them. I think the actors were as happy to be appreciated by us as we were to meet them. They even sang birthday song to three fans that night which must be the greatest birthday in their life... The most important meaning of this experience is not about meeting some actors, but is about how people come together and appreciate each other as being a part of Middle-earth, whether they are fans or cast members of the films, especially in the place where both film trilogies happened, the place where this adventure began. Sorry, I should talk about meeting Sir Peter Jackson as the strongest experience, but the day in Hobbiton was such a highlight that it totally beats meeting Peter! But of course, I was so thrilled to meet Peter at last. My biggest wish was to say thank you to him in person and now my dream is fulfilled. This trip is journey of a lifetime to me, to my guest and to most of the people who traveled with me.
6.Once more, congratulations for winning the contest! But the reason you were in my list of people to interview is your great Tolkien themed art. (Although I admit, the contest might have shifted the order that I planned a bit ) So, could you tell us something about you and art? Are you a professional artist, or is art just your hobby? When did you start doing it, and who or what influenced your style?
I started to do art as my hobby but later I wanted to take it as my profession. So now I’m an art student.
I started drawing when I was little for my own pleasure. When I was in university studying computer science, I began drawing portraits. That was the time I realized I enjoyed drawing more than anything else. John Howe’s illustrations influenced me a lot. And there’re many great artists on DA that have inspired me.7. How do you choose which scenes and characters to illustrate?
Normally I choose the ones I really like. As you can tell, I’m recently obsessed with Thorin Oakenshield...8.What art technique is your favourite? Do you rather keep to the art techniques and styles you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?
So far, coloured pencil and water colour are my favourite. But I’d love to explore more techniques.
9. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of
a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?a picture that fits your current mood?a picture that was hardest to paint?- any other picture you would like to share with us and why?
(I always love the songs written in Tolkien’s books and this set of illustrations was something differently from what I used to do.)10. What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist? You can also tell us why, if you want.
My father took me to drawing class when I was little. Though his profession has nothing to do with art, he tole me about the stories from his childhood of how he crafted things. I think the reason I always enjoy creating stuff definitely can be linked to him. And both my parents supported me when I decided to change my career. I am very grateful for that.11. Is there some artist(s) at dA you know, who doesn't have as much attention as they would deserve? If yes, could you give us some thumbnails from their gallery?
This is by a good friend of mine, I saw the original art and was so impressed. Though she’s not a Tolkien fan, she really does great job in portraying people! I love her style.
I met her on Instagram and found some of her pictures familiar. Then I remembered seeing them on DA. She totally deserves some attention with her wonderful drawings of so much details.12. Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your art?
I wouldn’t be who I am without Tolkien’s world. Middle-earth is the greatest gift that one can have. And thank you to everyone who’s followed my work these years.
Wenjin/NorlothThank you very much for your time and answers!
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