StarCraft Weekly Art #6
There was this one piece of art that I came across long, long, long ago. Way before starting this publication, before I thought of the title, “The StarCraft Observer”, and before I even had the idea.
I came across this art at a moment where, I knew deep down inside, that there are stories within the community that need to be told and be brought forth into the light.
Hoping to get my first story right away and get in touch with this artist, I would encounter my first test of, “will and persistence”.
Created by Dave “Godsavant” Zhang
That test of will and persistence being me trying to find and get a hold of “godsavant”.
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Looking at his numerous amounts of work, I could tell that this is someone who was not afraid to be challenged, collaborate with others, utilize different tools, and one who can let their imagination take the wheel. Godsavant has a style that literally has no bounds and no limitations within the realm of art.
Days by Godsavant
Here we take a look at Godsavant’s earlier works titled, “Days”. It looks to have been done with water color paints or markers and in it we see the figure of someone directly in the center. Their back is towards the viewer, the person in this painting has a red sweater wrapped around them, wearing a pink summer dress with a bright yellow belt at the waist, and is standing in the middle of a wide open field with hills of grass as far as the eye can see. To further add to this perfect moment, you see dandelions blowing off into the wind and into the bright, beautiful, cloudy blue sky. An imagination capturing the most perfect day and one that is able to transport you into the scene.
Godsavant’s work and imagination transcends many realms of style which pushes the boundaries in each one. In the work below, we dive into the 16 bit world of art.
With the health bars wonderfully displayed, we see what looks like the start of a game with workers harvesting minerals on a base with one gas geyser, two supply depots, and a bunker being repaired by an SCV. The colors, so bright and vibrant, put the game in a different light. One that’s far away from the usual grim and gloomy war torn PC version.
Another thing this art does, is that it transports you back to the time when you were a kid. Back to when your parents or relatives purchased your very first console.
Perhaps it is Christmas or your birthday, family and friends surround you to see the big reveal of “the gift”, and once unwrapped you are overjoyed and at a loss for words. Being thankful and wasting no time, you head straight to the living room where that huge CRT television is. You open up that box and you immediately notice that “fresh” console smell; fresh cardboard, styrofoam, and plastic. You do your best to be careful opening the box and tug on the white Styrofoam just enough for it to slide out and not break. The excitement intensifies as you lay your eyes on the console itself, the controllers, and RCA cables but that feeling is further elevated when you realize that it came with a game!!! That game being “StarCraft”.
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Soon after discovering this pixel art and seeing Godsavant’s work I needed to get a hold of this person and put forth a story.
Unfortunately, I noticed the activity on his Deviant Art page was stagnant with the last journal entry on Sep 24th, 2010 and last art submission being submitted on July of 2014.
Attempting to track down Godsavant, I would find myself constantly going in circles on Deviant art trying to find some sort of lead which often came to a dead end. I googled the username Godsavant but so many results came up and frankly….I didn’t have the time to dive into it. With having to find time between work, family, and doing my best to deliver a story once a week…it was becoming just too much.
I was hoping for this to be my first great story and already, as a beginner, it was proving to be very hard.
Failing to find Godsavant….I caved, shelved the story, and moved on.
It wouldn’t be until four months later where I would try again and muster up the will to contact someone with the twitter handle @godsavant.
First contact via Twitter
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I realized that earlier on in my blogging journey that I lacked confidence in myself. There’s something about the initial words you say on social media that can go right and wrong very easily. It adds the extra layer fear for interacting with someone online. Probably because text can be twisted and taken whichever way.
It was a fear that I eventually got over as time went on but it was the unfortunate cause in delaying this story. One that lead to the failure of my first “test” mentioned in the beginning of this story.
Once I was able to get a hold of the person that kick started my journey into writing, messaging David “Godsavant” Zhang was a breath of fresh air and seeing him respond with the words, “Yep, wow that’s old” made my day.
This brief interview gave wonderful insight and one that I’m really thankful for. I would discover that after the creation of the StarCraft pixel art, a lot has changed for him and David would go on to doing some amazing things.
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The Artist Interview
How old was this StarCraft art and what has changed since then?
The StarCraft piece (and the rest of my DA gallery) was from 2012, when I had the time to draw whatever I felt like, purely for fun. Now that I’m working full-time I don’t usually make large-scale art unless I’m being paid or it’s part of a larger project, like a game or YouTube video. Most of the art I made back then doesn’t hold up now, but it does evoke nostalgia for a much simpler point in my life.
How did you initially get in to art?
I don’t remember when I started doodling stick figures fighting each other. I got into digital art around 2007, when a friend and I started making ‘Tower of Heaven’. Then I started making bigger pieces once bought a cheap art tablet in 2009.
What was it about art that made you pursue it professionally?
How much easier it’s become, really. With pen and paper, making a mistake meant either ignoring it or starting over. But thanks to Ctrl+Z now I can hack away at a piece as long as I want without fearing like I might have to start all over.
What artists do you take inspiration from? Why specifically those artist?
Hiroaki Samura and Yusuke Murata, among others. As a kid, saying “I wanna be an artist” usually got me flak like “you only know how to draw made-up bullshit” instead of ‘real’ art like fruits and genitals, so I developed a complex against art styles that looked too cartoonish or minimalist. Those two artists are masters of classical anatomy, lighting, and perspective, all while still drawing brilliant made-up bullshit.
When making “Tower of Heaven” was that friend Justin Stander?
Yeah, that was Justin. Really talented guy. After ToH he made a few more games like ‘Pause Ahead’ and ‘OverPowered’, but outside some writing I wasn’t really involved. He’s currently working on ‘Katana Zero’, an upcoming game with Devolver Digital, which is at PAX South right now. I drew some promotional for the game, which you can see in this photo.
Looking at your Deviant art page, you collaborated a lot with Rakugaki-otoko, now Dream’s Bell art, Did they help in your growth? If so, how?
Heh, it wasn’t so much ‘collaborating’ as me imitating him however I could. His raw talent and imagination blew me away back then. He introduced me to a lot of older art, music, and video games that have influenced me, but in terms of art, I think we have fundamentally different styles.
Do you two keep still keep in touch?
Not so much. Back in college when I had more free time we would chat almost daily, but now that we’re both busier (and in opposite timezones) it’s just Twitter. When I contacted you with the art that I was inquiring about, you said that it was old.
If I wanted to become an artist, what advice would you offer?
I'd just say to try something different with every piece of art you create. That's the fastest way to build up your own style and go-to techniques.
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