He is fun and exuberant, quick to brighten the room with an effortless smile and vivid embrace for life, an easy going free spirit. You become so pleasantly beguiled by this genuinely humble guy that you forget…. for that moment just before your eyes fall upon the page of his latest creation that he will assassinate you with his artistic skill. He will kill you. Dead.
Izzy currently holds firm ground at Sony Entertainment in the coveted position of Lead Character Concept Artist for titles like God of War III.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Simi Valley, but I spent the greater part of my youth in the forests and rivers of Oregon. Swimming, boozing/ carousing, reading a ton of books and smoking a pipe… I was pretty much a hobbit, now that I think of it.
Have you always been interested in art? Were you encouraged by friends or family to be creative?
I spent a lot of time bouncing around, my family was fairly nomadic. Some time was spent “out of house”, as a result of that I came to art a little late. Drawing was the perfect choice for creativity because it was awesomely cheap. It started largely as a solo adventure, but as I got better I came to understand the great value in surrounding yourself with amazingly skilled people. Around this time I managed to befriend a couple of great art mentors, and stopped couch surfing. They pushed me to try to get more out of my existence. Around that time one of my oldest friends (one Peter Han *cough* name drop *cough*) helped push me to try for college in my early twenties, and we both ended up matriculating over at Art Center in Pasadena.
What path led you to studio work?
I went to Art Center for the sole purpose of becoming a penciller for comic books. I realized how insanely hard that is to do, and how it requires a razor sharp OCD type mind to actually complete something so intense. I found out about all sorts of other art, and found a deep abiding love for painting. I’ve always been into films, animation, and video games. I’m basically a media/ knowledge junkie. So the jump to concept art was an obvious choice!
Tell me about your personal work…
I hadn’t been able to do a great deal of personal work over the last couple of years. When I can I’m always interested in exploring colors. I would describe my colors as generally a weird mix of candy and flesh. It’s part of why I use the handle ‘cannibalcandy’. I like painting things that combine emotional subtleties in discordant ways. I like seeing people react to things that are sexy and vile, sweet and disgusting, or beautiful and disconcerting. I’ve always loved the wrongness of these kinds of juxtapositions.
What is your preferred medium?
I work primarily on the computer, but I love oils and my pens with a passion. I love that I can work in one medium, and move to the other and have such an incredibly different experience. It always keeps things fresh and exciting.
What has been your career highlight so far?
My highpoint seems to be a daily benchmark. I’m living the dream right now. I’m part of a project that I’m fortunate enough to have a bit of influence on. I work with incredibly skilled people, and have the good luck to call some of them friends. I paint every day, listen to books, and watch varied visual medias, and that’s what I call a day job! I honestly don’t know how it can get any better; I’m such an incredibly lucky guy.
What goals or new projects would you like to accomplish next?
I’m currently balls deep in doing nothing. I haven’t had a real break since 2001! Ha! I do have a plan though. I have challenged myself to finish writing a novel. I’m about a sixth of the way through my rough draft, which means I’m some twenty years from finishing! I really want to expand my story telling skills beyond painting a vignette of a scene. I want to have total control over a persons emotions in rhythms and beats. I’m fascinated by that ability great writers have. Anyway, I’ve mentioned my goal here to all of your visitors, so I MUST get it done, now!!! Shit, I think I better go write right now! <3
To learn more about Izzy and his work check out:
Check out Izzy on Sketch Theatre here
Click through a sample gallery of Izzy’s concept work, various pieces from his sketchbook, personal work, God of War III and Wizards of the Coast