‘As I rewatch it every few months, I get something new from the experience’
Ash Thorp, a regular in our blogs, is a pre-eminent concept artist currently working in television and feature films. Based on the West Coast, he has contributed to films such as Prometheus, Total Recall, X-Men First Class, and TV such as Person of Interest, and The Walking Dead.
Hugely inspired by his love of anime and manga, we caught up with Ash to discuss his inspirations, and his team's amazing homage to Ghost In The Shell, ( starring alt-model Christine 'IDiivil' Adams ), and ask for his thoughts on the recently green-lit live-action version, starring the distinctly un-oriental Scarlett Johansson.
- Ash, what exactly does GHOST IN THE SHELL mean to you? You seem to be obsessed with it, in the way that suggests it is a remnant from childhood fandom.
Ghost in the Shell was a breakthrough in my childhood growing up. I was introduced to the Anime first and it literally blew me away at a young, impressionable age. Shortly after I discovered the Manga and became obsessed with the concepts and ideas that the property was built upon. I think the first thing that I connected with was the art and visual design of the world. As I grew up and my mind matured, I began to take in all the other subtle details of the story. As I rewatch it every few months, I get something new from the experience, and I think that is because I am in love with the big concepts that creator Masamune Shirow and his team built, that are just under the surface.
- At what point did it go from being a homage photoshoot ( as it was originally intended ), to an elaborate tribute and mock-title sequence?
I think the moment I came home from the photoshoot I realized the level that we had to take things. Tim ( - Tadder, the project's photographer ) had captured such powerful images that I only wanted to honor them by doing the best work we could, moving forward.
- It seems like colleagues from all over the world pitched in their talents. How long did it take to put together?
This project felt like it took many years but in fact I think from the first email Filipe ( -Carvalho, art director and designer ) and I exchanged about taking this task on until the final release was about 14 months total. It was extremely intense at times.
‘I think it has certainly made me aware how far I need to take things and the level of work that I need to match’
- Was the plan to continue and do more Ghost clips? Or even complete a short, perhaps?
Right now the project is done. I would love to do a short or even finish the title in full motion but as of now I am focusing all my free time and energy on my own creations.
- Has this whetted your appetite to adapt another big manga property? 'Xenon Heavy Metal Warrior' perhaps?!
I learned so many lessons working on this project. I think it has certainly made me aware how far I need to take things and the level of work that I need to match.
- So now that you've had a chance to throw your hat in the ring, what is your reaction to Scarlett Johanssen's casting in a brand-new big-budget movie?
I think that Scarlett is really pushing herself as an artist. I enjoyed her work in Under the Skin and can see why she would be cast for the project. Making films are a HUGE task. You never know if you have a winner really up until the last bit and since art is subjective, everyone will have their own take away from it. I think it's a tall task to take on this property and translate it to the medium of film. The great thing is that they will have an amazing wealth of source material to use. I wish them the best of luck. As of now I think everything lives in the shadow of the original Anime, but that is just my personal opinion.
- Finally, so what else is new?
Right now I am focusing all my energy on my project Lost Boy ( - see Ash's webpage, link below ) which I intend to create in multiple mediums, one of them being film. So many things are happening these days as I am constantly pushing myself into new and unknown territories as a creative. 2015 will be a big year and that is all I can say as of now.
Interview by Alexi K
And here it is: Check out this amazing clip, by an international team of dedicated creatives...
Interview by Alexi K
Ash Thorp - Director / Producer / CG Artist
Anthony Scott Burns - CG Artist
Chris Ford - CG Artist / lookdev
Colin Thomas - CG Artist
Filipe Carvalho - Art Director / Designer
Franck Deron - Editor
Furio Tedeschi - 3d lead / CG Artist
Gavriil Klimov - CG Artist / Environment Design
Hanno Hagedorn - CG Artist
Kevin Kwok - Web builder
Maciej Kuciara - CG Artist
Michal Misinski - CG Artist / Compositor
Milton Fernandes - CG Artist
Simon Jones - CG Artist - Simulation Artist
Vaughan Ling - CG Artist / Environment Design
Valentin Sorokin - CG Artist / Environment Design
Wedge & Lever - Poster Designer
Adam Tunikowski - Additional Compositing Artist
Aleksandra Rafalksa - Animation
Jaroslaw Handrysik - Additional rendering artist
Kuba Pietrzak - Sound Design
Michal Misinski - Supervisior
Piotr Bialousz - Additional CG Artist
Tomasz Dyrdula - CG Artist
SAN DIEGO CREW
Tim Tadder - Photographer
Dahlia Snyder - Shoot Producer
Mark Peery - Tim Tadder Assistant
Taylor Abeel - Tim Tadder Assistant
Kevin Joelson - Behind the Scenes Cinematographer
Rebecca Joelson - Behind the Scenes Photography
Natalie Bohlin - Hair and Makeup Artist
Christine "IDiivil" Adams - Talent
Fizah Rahim - Photographer
Rezaliando - Photographer
Our Family and Friends
Bahi JD - Advisor
Kaz Oomori - Cultural Design Consultant
Ryan Hawkins - Additional 3D modeling
Tomas Dyrdula - CG Artist
Vitaly Bulgarov - 3D asset contributor
All footage and stills used with permission, property of Ash Thorp