When you see a movie like Xmen – you will quickly notice that there are a whole lot of “special effects” involved. These effects will make you dream of the fantasy world they are showing you. The reality is that most movies today will have visual effects that you may not even notice! Have you ever thought about the artists behind their creation?
Irene Smirnova is a senior texture artist in Montreal that has worked on movies such Xmen, The Revenant, Hunger Games and Birdman to name a few. Her experience and talent is rare and needed, as Montreal has become internationally renowned for its production of special effects in movies. In addition to her talents being showcased in Hollywood, Irene is also a talented visual artist who mixes new and old techniques to complete her evolving work. She is a multi-talented contemporary artist that uses paint, 3D software and other digital platforms to create her masterpieces. Below is a video of the work she did for Game of Thrones.
One of the challenging aspects of working in optical effects is that the software being used is evolving and improving. It makes it difficult for the users to stay up to speed with the demanding industry. Russian-born Smirnova is a self-proclaimed “super geek” who has become accustomed to learning the new tools. It ‘s hard to imagine someone who is as creative as this 46-year-old. The longer we spoke, the more I discovered the layers of her many talents. She is never satisfied and always thinking of what is to come next and how to create it.
We first discussed her future collaboration using 3D software, with young artist Ekaterina Antonova (find her full story here). It was fascinating to understand how two artists with very different backgrounds and skill set could collaborate on such a groundbreaking project. So far, the details are still evolving but would include some Animalize aspects from Ekaterina’s first solo exhibit. The new 3D printing software are complicated to learn. However, they also bring immense possibilities to the users. It is hard to understand using such developed technology with creative thinking. However, from past experiences, Irene has told me that she is capable of using up to four different programs to create one piece of art. This is phenomenal for so many reasons!
The ability to visualize the different possibilities of each of the platforms to reproduce one piece. Is this the future of art? It will be for some. The more I learned, the more that these digital techniques really felt like new and exciting art forms. For Irene, it is not just about creating one image, it is about layering images that turn into something else altogether. Her artistic statement talks about collective memory. She explains that this means that her images reproduce things we already know, but in an entirely different way. For example, in her Imaginarium series, she could use fractals, scans of her oil painting or any other image created digitally.
She states that she likes to express herself with a combination of “old and new.” For example, using multiple high-tech software to reproduce the general shape of a beautiful butterfly is a great illustration.
Irene started her artistic path at a young age in Russia while learning the old masters’ techniques of oil painting. She is a painter first. She creates beautiful landscapes that have infinite depth for the viewer. For these pieces, she is represented in a gallery in Magog, QC called Courtemanche but would like to start selling her digital artwork in Montreal.
With all her many talents, I was not surprised anymore when I found out that the scarf she was wearing was her digital design made in a silk fabric printer. It was a poem she wrote translated in a binary language with her signature at the bottom…Now, this is a Super Geek Artist! It seems like she can do anything! With her many projects, I have no doubt that her unique talents will continue to bring new elements to the art scene.
Her work with Antonova will be followed by the Rabbit, and we look forward to bringing you more of this innovative art into your creative inspirations.
Below is a demo of the studio she currently works at, Cinesite – visit the website here.