Interview with Senior Matte Painter at Mr. X, Christopher Gonzalez

Christopher Gonzalez talks to us about his Cover art, how he got into Matte Painting and what inspires him.

Interview with Senior Matte Painter at Mr. X, Christopher Gonzalez
Saby Menyhei

Christopher is Senior Matte painter at Mr X and his work can be recognised from Epic Superhero flicks like Deadpool 2 and Black Panther!

What is the story being told in your cover art?

I tried to make an image based on the mood of the pack I got. I tried to show a simple day, a simple afternoon in Cambodia, nothing special, just daily life.

The main thing, I think, was that I wanted to show this woman in the front, and how she makes a living on the boats. So in this it's like this is the last boat coming in from the day, with all of the people working.

Check out the full Image Pack here

How did you come up with it? What inspired you?

I don't know, to be honest it was just that I saw the photos and just thought 'that's what's going on in this place', so I wanted to show that.

You've got a very painted style overall, it almost looks like an oil painting.

Yeah, actually was some of the inspiration I had, I tried to make like a more old painting, like traditional style, to bring that together in one image. I like the realistic style of this piece but also you can see in some parts that wouldn't exist in the real world like the clouds, you know, so there's some fantasy there.

What was your approach to creating this image?

I think this type of life is common in a few scenarios in Thailand and that part of Asia, and I wanted to show the really cool places and things that you can view in these places and I wanted to show the dramatic nature and colors.

I like the realistic style of this piece but also you can see in some parts and shapes; like these don't exist in the real world you know, so there's some fantasy there.

What Software did you use?

Most of the stuff I did in Photoshop, but I made a simple layout in Maya and used that as a base for Photoshop.  You can see it in the PSD file included in the pack.

What did you think about working with this pack?

Oh yeah man, those photos are amazing man.  Such a cool vibe and so much potential for cool scenes from these photos man. These are really good ones, the detail and the exposure, all of the detail they have in the image is enough to work with as a really good reference.

Some of the Images in the Pack!

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Why do you make art and how did you get into the industry?

Good question! You know I think I've always liked drawing like most people here, but when I started to get really interested in this industry was when I saw this art coming from Jamie Jasso. I remember I had a friend in that time when I was in a course learning Maya, and my friend told me about this thing "Matte Painting" and at that time I didn't know what that was you know. My friend, he told me that he had a friend who was actually Jamie Jasso and he showed me his work from him, and that was my first contact with this digital work in the industry and I saw his stuff and I thought "WTF?! this is really good! I want to make something like this!" So then I just tried to follow these artists like Dylan Cole and Jaime Jasso.

Some of Christopher's work for "For Honor"
Conrad: It's always really interesting to hear how people get into the Industry, because its so dynamic, there's so many different ways that people get into the role that they are in, whatever it is in VFX.  It's not common to hear like; "I went to University, and studied Art and then worked in a studio." There's usually some personal influence of somebody who you know, or has told you about it or shown you or presented a certain opportunity, and everyone has a different story.

Yeah of course!  To me in that time all these people were making 3D images, and it was really impossible because of all those guys were original and really smart and I was seeing all these things and was like, this is a really magical thing that I think I can never do, but here I am.

Christopher is a Senior Matte Painter at Mr X, Montreal.
You can follow him here:

Artstation | IMDB | LinkedIn

This interview is part of our Cambodia Image reference pack. Christopher created the amazing cover art for the pack. There is a guide on how to recreate his work coming soon!

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