Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dream Inspiration: An Interview with Damian Willis

For those of you who have read my book Fire Baptized, there is a scene where the main character sets a Were-dog on fire. Talented artist and good friend Damian Willis recreated that scene for me.

Dangerous Alley

I absolutly love his work and had to have him on the Fantasy Floozie blog! So everybody, let's meet Mr. Damian Willis! As you can see from the picture he provided me, he has a great personality!

Damian Willis

Are you a self-taught artist or did you go to art school?


The answer to this question is a little yes, and a little no. When I was going to school for art digital art was not as mainstream as it is today. The courses offered trained in classic fine arts. I did a lot of work with ebony pencil, chalk, and oil paints. The curriculum was a bit old fashioned and boring for my tastes.

I started delving into photoshop and corel painter. I read books and performed tutorials until it eventually developed into a hobby. I started to develop a portfolio of my work to keep log of my improvement. That portfolio landed me a job in the photography industry as a photo manipulator, then later in the sign industry as a designer.

For the art piece Scarlet Aquarius, the caption on your site says you had a dream about this image. Please tell me about this amazing dream.

Scarlet Aqaurius

The project Scarlet Aquarius was a gift for a friend. As the title suggests she is and Aquarius, and a red head. The dream for this image started off as a southern scene on the Mississippi river on a river boat type gambling ship. As I indulged myself more and more into the delusions of my imagination I felt that I wanted the scene to be more intimate.

I imagined a woman paddling down a river in the heat of the day. Spotting a reprieve from the sun she pulled her boat into a shaded landing and decides to read a book on the bank. Soon the temptation of the cool water on her skin was too much to resist.  After shedding her clothes the woman enjoys the crisp water. After taking a screenshot of this moment in time in my head I started to add essence of fantasy.

Being an Aquarius I wanted to see a kinship with the water and the creature therein. The koi fish nipping at her hair felt like a playful gesture, and gave the picture a more innocent look. Sadly my dream did not progress beyond that captured image. That one moment in time captivated me so much that I kept replaying it over and over in my mind until I was able to remember every detail.

Besides dreams, what other places do you get your inspiration from?
Jail Break

While dreams are my primary source of inspiration, music helps the creative process along. I love really ambient and moody music. I rarely gain inspiration from music with lyrics, unless it is in a language I don't understand. A musician's emotion and passion flow into my head, and I begin to weave a story to the beat.

When I find myself daydreaming a particularly cool scene I dwell on it and jot down the ideas and a rough sketch. I also believe that the less stress you have in your life, the more inclined you are to be inspired. Life can be inspiration, you just have to be ready to perceive it.

The fantasy floozie in me really loves the art piece Pain and Pleasure. What was your inspiration for that work?

Pain and Pleasure

Pain and pleasure was a gift for another friend. Her fascination with vampires is what inspired the image. I wanted to portray something sexy, yet dangerous. I highlighted the image around the eyes of the female to give her an entrancing look. The tattoos and eye color were little addons to make the image more personal. This images started as a vague idea and began to take shape the more I played with it.

What are you working on now?

Hah...I am working on too many things. I have many projects stuck in limbo. I think I suffer from creative adhd. In addition to my digital art, I also indulge in metal/leather working, bead work, and writing. To me there is no greater feeling of accomplishment than creating something with your mind and making it with your hands.

With that being said, my next big project will be finally machining a series of interchangeable melee weapons. It is an idea I have had for a while, I have all of my engineering and modeling done, now it is time for the machining process to take place.

In regards to your art career, what do you see yourself doing in five years?

 I see myself continuing my life portfolio and filling it with art from all walks of life. In my professional career I hope to be working for myself in a new creative industry pioneered by myself and other like minded artists. I wish I could say more about the idea, because I am really excited about it, but it's too soon to let the cat out of the bag.

Check out more of Damian's work on: http://dojohokage.deviantart.com/


  1. I can see why you LOVE his work! It is gorgeous! I love the darkness and detail. ;)
    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Yeah! Great stuff! Thanks for the comment Tina!