Sunday, June 2, 2013

Justin Lassen’s “Creative Symbiosis and Sound Design” talk at the Workshop in London, UK!

It was cool being the only musician/sound designer in the world invited to The International Art & Design Symposium in London, UK and it gave me a great opportunity to meet some of the coolest concept artists, painters and designers from the film and video game industries. Some of which I’ll be collaborating with on future projects!

As a short background, I’ve been working with some of the biggest concept artists in the world for over 10 years on many projects. My Synaesthesia project made a huge splash around the world from 2004-present thanks to some of the most brilliant minds in the world, and became one of the first of it’s kind, winning awards for breaking new ground in artistic collaboration and digital storytelling. It has impressed a list of some of the biggest celebrities, artists, directors, writers, designers, public figures and corporations in the world and has stood as a timeless effort, thankfully. I never dreamed or imagined in a million years that it would have been this much of a success. Without the cg community around the world, I would not be where I am today. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for believing in me and continuing to support the kind of work that I do.

On stage I spoke about creativity and all of us having different realities and worlds in our heads that we want to bring to life. To further this discussion, I talked about bringing visual art to life through sound design. I demonstrated live preset design with our beloved iZotope Iris, and showed that you truly can find “music in everything”. A room full of amazing visual artists, watching an audio geek do some sound design, now that’s pretty cool! They all loved that the Iris synth had photoshop like tools for selecting regions of audio, and I loved creating some atmospheres and compositions for the audience on stage and then performing live with it! To show them just how fluidic and fun sound design can be with Iris!

I’ve designed a lot of presets, loops and content for a wide range of audio plugins, DAW software, libraries and synths over the years, so It’s pretty magic to get to hear my work in a lot of artists work from around the world. Everything from movie trailers to top EDM artists, I’ve had the privilege to hear my audio design work in all kinds of cool stuff! It’s been fun to be a behind-the-scenes audio designer, but I also love speaking about sound design and sharing my knowledge, and showing tips, tricks and secrets of the industry, hoping to inspire others to want to also create their own worlds and sounds too!

I also showcased Studio One Pro DAW software and AIR Ignite software as well as ProjectSam OE library. I just used an M-Audio KeyStation Mini 32 as the performance device. What made this talk particularly fun was the audience. I didn’t need to get too “geeky” about the technology as I normally do with other tradeshows (CES, NAMM, etc.) I got to truly just show artists how I create, without going into absurd depth, and kept it all very artistic, and fun!

Yep, all running from that little computer, as usual. :) I think we were going for a Left 4 Dead 2 meets Silence of the Lambs feel in this preset, and to see peoples eyes light up with how easy it is for anyone to get started in designing their own sounds, now that’s magic! I loved how receptive the audience was to this philosophy of sound design! Interestingly enough, Jason Manley had a clip from Silence of the Lambs in his talk, so that was some cool coincidence!

Lots of funny moments, I wanted to keep it all light-hearted and fun. The thing about giving a software demonstration about audio software to an audience primarily of painters and artists, was cool, got them all out of their worlds and into mine a little bit. :) Also just shows how we’re all naturally sound designers and we don’t even know it, I think with the right tools, the more intuitive they are, the more fun and natural sound design can be. It doesn’t have to be rocket science and knob twisting, it can be a visual thing too. :)

The sound in the theatre was awesome, so the samples and designs really shined well. In this scene, I’m actually showing off a sped-up painting that Alex Ruiz created, set to one of my tracks! Everyone loved it, and it sounded awesome and big and hollywoodish in that room! :) It was awesome!

There were a few musicians in the audience, and it was cool that they were brave enough to come up after the talk and ask about the software and my process. I gave little one-on-one demos for people that were into that. One of them even showed me a composition she created with her own sound design!

At the end of my primary talk, I left the audience with some inspiring words to keep going no matter what. We all dream to work on big things, but it’s the worlds inside our own heads that we shouldn’t let go of. Each of us has a world we want to create and it’s important to nurture those concepts and let them grow. Whether we all want to work in video games, films or music, it’s so important to keep our own creativity ignited.

note: Thank you Phil Williams for the photos.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Justin Lassen invited to speak at The International Art & Design Symposium in London!


Last year I was invited by Jason Manley (, Massive Black, TAD, etc.) to give a couple talks at various online and offline events in the visual artist and concept art industries. For those who don’t know, my Synaesthesia art series has taken the entire world by storm in the last 6 years and is still one of the most celebrated and respected series of its kind in CG, being featured in most of the top magazines, websites, shows, radio and events about visual digital art and collaboration.


They flew me out to London to give a talk about my sound design process, to room full of some of the best art directors, concept artists and designers in the world! It was an honor to be the only musician and audio guy at the event!

The International Art and Design Symposium The Official ConceptArt.Org Workshop has returned. We are headed to London with over 50 stars from the entertainment industry and the arts. We will have the most speakers, companies, and instructors that we have ever had. These workshops have made entire careers and improved the lives of all who attend. We are going to do it again in London, and we are excited to see you there!

The industry leading talents are coming to share over 100 live demonstrations, presentations, in depth talks focused on improving creative success, bettering your work, and inspiring all for the year ahead. There will be creative entrepreneur and industry career days, as well as portfolio reviews too. And in case you have not attended in the past, we like to throw one hell of a party too! You will want to bring your portable art supplies, sketchbooks, and digital gear.

You will want to bring the tools you need to create on the fly, even your laptop and wacom, or traditional materials. Attendees will be drawing, painting, writing, sketching, sculpting, modeling, texturing, animating, planning, or coming up with ideas, as well as making life long friends and getting the information needed to take the next steps with their work. At the minimum bring your tablet, notepad, or sketchbook. You will be inspired to create, and will certainly want to jot down your ideas, or those of all the great speakers and demonstrators.”
The Coronet Theatre (UK) – Facebook Event Page (2013)


Some of the speakers:
Jeff Braun - Creatorand former CEO of Maxis (and big boss at EA) - Co-creator of "the Sims"
Michael Hussar Visionary Fine Artist - Los Angeles
Raphael Lacoste - Art Director and Brand Art Director - Ubisoft - (the Assassins Creed series)
Kekai Kotaki - Senior Concept Artist - (the Guild Wars series)
Graydon Parrish - Museum collected Fine Artist - Foremost expert on color theory worldwide.
James Kei[/URL]- Fine Artist and Senior Concept Artist - Formerly at Valve Software and Massive Black
Marc Taro Holmes - former Microsoft Art Director and now Freelance Senior Concept Artist - EA: Bioware - Mass Effect Series
Velocity Kendall - Senior Industrial Designer and Concept Artist (Independent) and Faculty at TAD
Vanessa Lemen[/URL] - esteemed Fine Artist - Faculty at TAD
Ron Lemen- Art Director and esteemed Fine Artist - Faculty at TAD
Brett Briley - Senior Character Artist - id software- Rage, Doom 4
Randis Albion - Art Director, Senior Concept Artist, 3D artist - Square Enix, Brilliant Colors, Riot Games
Bengal - Art Director, Senior Concept Artist, Graphic Novelist - (Independent)
Justin Lassen - Entertainment Industry Composer - Underworld, Madonna, Lenny Kravitz- (Independent)
Herb Ellwood - Senior Interface Designer - THQ and Faculty at TAD (Age of Empires series, Darksiders series)
Jason Felix - Senior Concept Artist, Digital Fine Artist - EA (Dead Space series, Girl with a Dragon Tattoo Film)
Dorian Iten- Fine Artist - Faculty at TAD
Jeffrey Rose esq. - The leading entertainment industry IP attorney and art/entertainment business legal adviser.
Phil Holland- Cinematographer, Photographer and Film Maker -Independent- (Narnia and many others)
Jason Manley- Founder ConceptArt.Org, Founder of TAD, CEO - Brilliant Colors - (God of War Ascension, Starcraft 2, Diablo 3, Rage, LOL).
Jama Jurabaev - Concept Artist - The Moving Picture Company and recipient of the TAD Full Ride Scholarship.
Irene Gallo - Art Director - Tor Books, Educator.
Greg Manches Illustrator - National Geographic, Richard Solomon - esteemed Fine Artist.
Whit Brachna - Senior Concept Artist - Fine Artist - Freelance - formerly of Massive Black and Microsoft (Fallout New Vegas, Halo 4)
Alessandro Baldasseroni- Lead Character Artist – Blur

Jason giving his opening remarks.

life drawing, hosted by the one and only Marc Holmes (Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, etc.)

A group of some of the most extraordinary artists in the world, who work on all the coolest games and films out there! Super honored to be a part of this!

Some of us instructors introducing ourselves at the workshop!

Phil Holland commanding a crowd of artists, doing sketches, telling stories and just adding to what makes these kinds of workshops legendary! I loved that all these people were genuinely inspired enjoying it. All of the instructors had similar scenes throughout the event, which we all just loved getting a chance to meet a room full of new and established artists. There were even people from RARE and CryTek at the event! How cool is that?

One of the awesome artists I met at the event (Markus Lenz). All the way from Germany, he even dug my DJing and was super fun to talk to! I’m glad we stayed in touch! Life is good when meeting new friends! Honestly it was incredible to meet people from all over the world at this event, it was truly an international event worth remembering!

That’s not a pillow! That’s a Traktor S4! :)

Tango dancing with Virginie Bourdin, one of the coolest art directors out there, her work speaks for itself. (Prometheus, Narnia, Harry Potter, Prince of Persia, Clash of the Titans, etc.)

Here is the one and only Jason Manley. He believed in me many years ago, and has helped me out along the way on my adventures in the CG industry. He’s one of the most hard working guys in the business, having run some of the most successful art companies on the planet! It’s an honor to call him a friend! Thank you for having me be a part of your events!

As we both stated about eachother, he was one of the unexpected highlights of the trip, we hit it off really well. I love this guy because he reminds me of myself in that you can’t pigeon-hole what he does, because he does a little bit of everything, like me. Brothers for life! Check out his cool website for details! He’s done so much stuff in the film industry over the last 10 years and has a million amazing stories. he also gets to access the latest technologies before anyone too! Chatting with him was awesome, super knowledgable and passionate about what he does! We’ve got collaboration bugs now. :)

When I first met David Brebner, we hit it off instantly! From the Tube ride over to the event, and all the way throughout the whole experience! He is like family to me now. Amazing technologist who has done work for some of the biggest technology companies in the world. He does groundbreaking work and has an absolutely infectious attitude about life, work and creativity. I’m excited about the possibilities we’ve dreamed up!

This is the incredible Andrei Riabovitchev. If you haven’t seen his work… well, wait, you have seen his work, and you probably don’t even know it. He does beautiful concepts for some of the biggest movies out there (Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, etc.)

Jason Felix, this is an artists’ artist. One look at his website and you’ll see why (StarCraft Ghost, Hellgate London, Magic The Gathering, Dead Space 3, Girl With The Dragon Tatoo etc.). Super animated when talking to him, fantastic stories (including a pretty epic story about Neil Gaiman), It was cool that we could relate on so many levels of working in the creative industries. The best part of this event, was the fact that all these new friendships emerged and we all got along so well. It’s true, lives are changed by these events.

Here I am with Marc Holmes (Bioware, freelance) I’m particularly honored to meet this guy, he created art for some of my most treasured and favorite video games. Including Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights, etc. He even created the Neverwinter logo and iconic “eye”, that is constantly used to this very day. He’s definitely put a mark on the world that will be remembered. He’s a brilliant artist, but more than that, he’s absolutely wonderful to talk about anything! I look forward to the next time we get to hang out and/or collaborate together on something! Thanks Marc for all the memories. You are family! :)

Nate Abell’s work can be seen here. Awesome guy, with great art, attitude, humor, and he rounded out the whole event and got along with everyone there in perfect harmony. I for one, was glad to befriend this talented concept artist. He showed me this cool interactive graphic novel he’s working on, and I think it’s going to get a lot of attention! Thanks Nate for making the trip even more awesome!

This is Caitlin Cagle, one of the cool people helping run the event. She took care of all of us speakers and instructors throughout the process. We wouldn’t be there, without her! :)

Here is Randis Albion - Art Director, Senior Concept Artist, 3D artist - Square Enix, Brilliant Colors, Riot Games. Knowledge, funny as hell, talented as ****! He did a bunch of live painting demos that were pretty mind blowing throughout the event! During one of the dinners he showed us this sweet game he’s working on, and then, randomly, his massive Final Fantasy collection, which technically I guess you could say he’s a museum! :) I’m excited to work with him on some stuff in the future! Another friend for life!

A trip like this isn’t done without encountering a cool swede! This is Bjorn Hurri (link to his live stream channel!). This guy is a concept genius, turning blobs of black into realized compositions and epic scenes and characters! Just a day ago I had the privilege to check out his live-speed-painting channel, where he had an epic amount of amazing music while he painted in real-time for everyone! He even threw some of my music in the mix! He’s all hooked up with Synaesthesia, and just “gets it!” I know we’ll be doing great things in the months to come! :) His website is here!

It’s not everyday you make a great friend from iD Software. Brett Briley - Senior Character Artist - id software- Rage, Doom 4. He showed the audience some absolutely amazing ZBrush skills and character designs. Seriously, iD Software is LUCKY to have this guy working for them! Next time I’m in Texas, he offered me a tour and everything! This guy deserves his success and the trademark extreme attention he puts into his characters absolutely makes him one of the best artists in the world! Everything from subtle breathing to texture, he puts his heart into everything he does. I can’t wait to play Doom 4!!! Thanks Brett for meeting me half way around the world!

This is not from the event, per-se, but I am honored that I got a chance to meet up with of my closest friends Rhianna Pratchett, who just got off Lead Writer duties on the newest Tomb Raider game, which I played TWICE, because the story was so good, and the writing and journals and the experience was fun and epic! She gave me all kinds of wonderful advice during our lunch. She’s adorable, talented, beautiful and has an absolute passion for what she does. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her support and guidance. Thank you Rhi for everything and I’m so glad we met up while I was in London!

Yeah a skype call with none other than Raphael Lacoste - Art Director and Brand Art Director - Ubisoft - (the Assassins Creed series). Fantastic guy, gave all kinds of awesome advice!

This man (Kekai Kotaki - Senior Concept Artist - (the Guild Wars series)) gave a BRILLIANT live drawing, where he turned some blobs into a fully realized fantasy painting. He’s a fantasy guy, so we hit it off pretty fast. I wished I got more time to pique his brain, I enjoyed the moments that we did get to hang out throughout the event. This guy was senior concept artist on Guild Wars series! You HAVE to check his website out! Look at the details in his art! It’s maddening!

Say hello to Alex Brady. brilliant industrial design and concept artist for games and other industries. He’s an instructor at TAD as well. Take one look at this gallery for a taste of the magic in his mind. Watching him create ships on a giant screen on stage was exciting, to see how it all goes together, he really makes it magic. Definitely staying in touch with this guy. Stellar conversationalist and storyteller as well! Anyone who gets a chance to meet him should count themselves lucky. :)

Here is Atey Ghialin, (Injustice : Gods Among us, Galaxy Saga, Legends of the cryptids, Unannounced Projects)I can’t wait to see what this guy does next. Check this out, and while you’re at it, check this. Yeah… I got to meet THAT guy! Seriously humbling for me to meet people like this. I think there would be no other industries in the world, if it wasn’t for painters, designers and visual artists. No cool movies, no cool video games, no cool computer designs, ships, cars, etc. without the people in the Concept Artwork world. They literally PAINT THE FUTURE! They dream it up and find all the possibilities and life takes over! The earth is filled with so may talented minds and creators, makes us all feel that much more connected.

This is James Kei, brilliant concept artist and digital “pixel junkie”. :) Check out his Tumblr. A Massive Black artist, also does a lot of online live painting videos worth checking out. Great guy, excellent live painter. He actually painted a cool Superman-ish guy during the show, which is one of the latest paintings on his blog! (haha, in the background is Randis Albion over my shoulder, and Whit Brachna over James shoulder, a fellow freelancer and Massive Black artist.) I might have an artist, paint Whit into a bunny rabbit on James shoulder! :)

I know this was a long post, and there were many many more pictures and stories to tell, but I wanted to give a nice overview! Friendships were made for life and lots of instructor collaborations in the works at various stages! Thank you all for making it a legendary trip for me, I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to get to work with amazing cg artists all over the world! more blogs soon! :)

Note: there were so many people to meet, it was overwhelming, I wasn’t able to get photos with all of them. :( I wanted to give a special thanks to Black Spot and Scott Hoffman! and there are even more pictures from the event at the Forum website!