PROJECT ANOMALY

Amir Zand’s unique creative vision has attracted many names in the sci-fi culture industry, but today we present you with his personal playground. Enter Anomaly, Amir’s passion project where he is unconstrained by the requirements of clients like Disney, Netflix or Microsoft, and where he can fully delve into expressing his most intimate experiences and visions in visual form. You will find he has even found time to discuss some of the key aspects of his imagination in today’s exclusive interview – that is, if you manage to look away from his breathtaking artworks.

/ ABOUT THE PROJECT /

It was 2015 when I first started to create this personal series with monoliths, although it did not start with the monolith, but a series of paintings with unusual forms. Each time I would simplify it until I was finally satisfied with the monolithic shape. After some years, I also started bouncing ideas with my friend Nathan M Hurst to create a short story based in the same universe, which was more of a sci-fi story…

Throughout the years, Anomaly became my personal canvas. It is divided into multi-universes where I create what I love without being bound by time or theme. The Dreamer’s Journey is one of these mini-series which hits the most personal spot. I usually create emotions, memories and dreams that I had within this series. The “Dreamer” is basically me wandering through my inner self, looking at emotional events in a creative way. It’s less engineering and more a pure heart. It is a kind of a visual diary of my moments, archives of emotions and experiences that I’ve been through, but in a way that people also can have their own narrative when looking at it.

/ INTERVIEW /

You mention the transformation of your own dreams and memories into the canvas of your illustrations. How often do you do this, and can this process be applied to other projects such as visuals for video games, Netflix, or similar commissions?

Let me put it this way. For me, when it comes to personal work, art is a language, an escape pod; emotions that I can’t put into words are being coded into colors, forms, shapes, and the whole composition on the canvas. So, in a way, the image can be similar to a poem, only using a different means of expression.

It is an escape pod because it detaches me from reality and helps me to go to these dream worlds – it’s like a meditation to me, it calms me down and helps me dream, and to me, dreams push the boundaries of my fears and let me overcome them.

When it comes to industry or client works, art is still a language, but also a vessel. So as someone who knows this language and how to speak it, I help the director, writer, and basically the whole project reach their destination. That is, to find the visual language and artistic aspect. Hence there, I’m more like a vessel; of course, there is still a lot of me and my experiences in the art I create for the client, but in the end, my emotions are not always a hundred percent personal in such projects. I have to carry someone else’s ideas and emotions and translate them into concepts and designs.

Tell us about the division into different universes in which you create. What are the differences, and can the viewer recognize them by the cues in the fauna, flora and folklore?

When it comes to personal work, especially the Anomaly Series and the works you are seeing right now, I’m not bound with any time or form – I’m completely free to explore and will go by the feelings I have. Sometimes it can lead to very spiritual and fantastical forms.

For example, the “Deserted Heart” piece carries so many deep emotions about a heartbreak I had. The desert, the chest bones, the cracked red monolith… while on /-TH3 M|nE-/ it expands into more sci-fi environments and elements that it’s really rather a representation of a chaotic mind, one busy with so many thoughts to process.

/ONWARD/, then, is like a bridge between sci-fi and fantasy, and it follows a sense of discovery. So again, it will depend on the mood. I have different approaches and don’t really have a primary goal to follow.

Our current theme is “Towards Terra”, focusing on utopian and dystopian futures. So – what would the future look like if you had the power to control it? Would it be similar to any of your artworks, or would you imagine it completely different?

I can’t ever see myself in a position of power and control, but since I’m a dreamer, I can surely still dream; I don’t know if my dream is beautiful or as pleasant when seen by others, but I love both technology and nature, and as much as they can be against one another, I would love to see a more harmonious way of living to have both these worlds together. I’m not sure it will happen, but I hope we find a way to push it in that direction. So, for me, the /GARDEN/ piece could be a tiny representation of what I have in mind. A balance between both worlds.

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Bio

Amir Zand is an illustrator & concept artist specializing in Visual Development and Design, currently working on the AAA video game Star Wars Eclipse, while working on his personal project “ANOMALY” on the side.

He has illustrated over 50 book covers in the past decade and has worked for publications such as Games Workshop’s BlackLibrary, TOR Books, Macmillan, ScholasticUK, Dark Horse or Modiphius, and has illustrated for universes such as Warhammer 40K, Mortal Engines, Dune, Halo or Star Wars. He has also designed for clients such as Psyop, Netflix, Amazon, Microsoft, Games Workshop or Axis. 

He has been honorably included in books such as Spectrum Fantastic Contemporary Art (volume 25-26-27) or 100 Most Attractive Illustrators in the World from the Japan Illustrator’s Association and Vision 2022.

Credits

Artwork / Amir Zand @amirzandartist

https://amirzandartist.com/

Interview / Markéta Kosinová

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