Interview with Haimeng Cao

Haimeng Cao | United States

Haimeng Cao is a freelance artist in Los Angeles. He graduated in ArtCenter College of Design, illustration major. His skills focus on concept design and visual development. His art medium is digital painting, rendering and modeling. He was influenced by several dystopian novels, especially 1984 and Brave New World, and the artists such as Mobius and Katsuhiro Otomo. The theme of his work is mainly about future city landscape design, the atmosphere and mood of the works otherwise indicate the totalitarian and formalized future societies. Every piece of work has unique camera angle and displays spectacular panorama of the city. Each city has different architecture styles and atmospheres. The story is established within those techniques.

City Rig System

City Rig System

Contemporary Art Station : Tell us about how you got started. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

My family influenced me a lot on art when I was a child. My father is an architecture designer, and I grew up with those structure and design books. Those memories and influences are still affecting the theme of my works and the way on my thinkings. I made the decision to become an artist when I was in high school. Studying in ArtCenter College of Design is one of the most important experience on my creative journey. The school is very famous at its professional training of design, which gives me very solid knowledge when I start to work.

CAS : What is your process like, from initial idea to the creation of the piece? Do you usually develop the idea for a project before you find the "canvas", or vice versa?

Personally, I would like to visit different locations and take photos with or without a particular purpose. I love sketching and taking notes at the location for several hours and develop an idea. I observe how people interact with the space, how architectures work with each other, and how natural light affects the mood and time. I will push my initial ideas and sketches forward once I have a clear course in my mind.

CAS : What do you love most about your creative process?

Research brings me happiness and passion during my creative process. It’s a door for me to explore different fields, and a chance to learn something I had no idea before. My hobby is to travel to different countries when I am free; it’s an important door for me to stimulate my inspirations.

Tank and Heavy Cannon

Tank and Heavy Cannon

What role does art and the artist play in the broader social conversation today?

I am a concept artist, my work works for different industries like film and game. I believe art may need to collaborate with more new media and technologies. 

CAS : Name a few of your favourite artists and influences.

I was influenced by several dystopian novels, especially 1984 and Brave New World, and the artists such as Mobius and Katsuhiro Otomo.

CAS : What is the best advice you received as an artist?

As a concept artist, we prepare skills to face challenges. Today's advantage will be replaced by tomorrow's trend. We are all students in front of the future, to grasp the trend and keep learning should be our daily routine.

Industrial Area

Industrial Area

CAS : When did you discover your voice as an artist? 

My academic experience helped me a lot. Concept art visualizes fantastic dreams in people’s minds, I expect to see what kinds of worlds I am going to involve in. My original intention is to become a concept or visual development artist, I am glad that my college major is slightly different with my career. The traditional training of painting and drawing is important in illustration department. I am familiar with the works of J.C. Leyendecker or Norman Rockwell, these studies help me a lot on my concept arts.

CAS : What advice would you give to emerging artists trying to find their own? 

Online presence is very important for emerging artists to show their works and earn themselves uncommon opportunities. The challenge is to keep updating new works periodically, and making sure people remind you when they have an appropriate project. So balancing the time between personal works and professional works could help artists to keep improving their portfolios.

Thank You Haimeng!