by Yvette Leur
I was first introduced to the work of Dracorubio in 2014 during a Exhibition at a photo festival named Amersfoort FotoStad in our home town.
We began to chat during this exhibition and really found a connection on things like creativity and photography. Soon after that first meeting we decided to do a collaboration photo shoot together.
Since that time, there have been several shoots where I have been able to work with this wonderful talented person and learn a lot from his way of working, thinking and finding creative solutions and ideas.
His work is more than just photography and Photoshop editing. To me it is art, it is pure magic.
I'd love to introduce you to Photoshop Wizard Dracorubio and his very divers and amazing Photo Art.
Please introduce yourself to the readers, Roderique.
Hello, my name is Roderique Arisiaman and I’m a fine art photographer and image manipulation wizard named Dracorubio. I also work as a visual designer and sometimes as a motion graphics artist.
How would you describe your photography style?
My artistic style is often quite dark and terrifying as a narrative, and I like to work with bold and explosive colours. I love to play with the balance of the story and the way it is shown to the viewer.
“The Mad Professor”
Can you still talk about photography? Or is art a better name for what you do?
Photography is a big part of what I do, but it’s usually the start of a project. I use photography to collect all my ingredients for an image. Sometimes it's just that one shot I’m looking for, and sometimes it’s multiple elements that come together in a bigger composite.
How did you develop your own style?
I never thought I had a certain style, but more and more people are able to point out my work, even if it's not credited anywhere. I guess it boils down to using certain methods over and over during the image processing. I think it developed on a subconscious level combined with the tools at hand.
Are you photographing/editing full time?
I fill whatever time I have creating images. But business wise I have two to three days that I work as a photographer/photoshop artist/designer etc. I also hold a day-job for three days, working at the University of Arts in Utrecht, The Netherlands.
When did you start photography?
I seriously started with photography on January first 2009, when I started my first 365 project on Flickr. It took me a few months shooting with my 2MP Minolta before I upgraded to a Canon Rebel DSLR.
How did you start?
At one point I found myself at home suffering from a burn-out. This was caused mainly because I was tackling a 9 to 5 job for 5 days and not finding the time and inspiration to do something creative. So when I broke down I needed something to keep me going and to keep me creatively active. I had heard about the 365 projects on Flickr, and thought they were fun, but I always brushed it aside as a project for “someday”…well that “someday” was exactly what I had been offered.
How did you train your skills? School? Workshops?
I attended art-school where I studied 3D Animation and Visual Effects, so I’m trained as an image creator and storyteller. But as for photography, I was very active on Flickr and spent hours browsing and commenting on other people’s photo’s. I learnt about camera’s and lenses from photo’s I saw and their EXIF data. From this information I put together my first DSLR and lens, and grew from there.
I sometimes attend a workshop (next to giving one) but that’s mostly to meet new people and get inspired by their energy and creativity.
"The Madness of Chucky”
Where did your passion 'to create' images come from?
I have a lively imagination, and if left unchecked it can fill my head with an overwhelming flood of ideas. The only way to handle this is by creating images. Either by sketching, drawing, photographing, or any other creative outlet.
What makes you the happiest when it comes to photography and or editing?
Getting into a good flow makes me happy, it starts with a nice idea for an image, then on to shooting a great photo, and lastly the editing part in Photoshop. It's really satisfying to see an image growing and evolving in front of you.
Are there parts you don't like as much?
Creativity is a fickle lover. It pops up at the most unusual times and is hard to harness. Trying to build a business around that is like herding elephants at times. Luckily I have some good people around me to tackle a lot of issues I have with this.
Where do you get your ideas/inspiration from?
I think it's better to ask what doesn’t inspire me. Everything is an inspiration, if you allow it. Most of my work is greatly inspired by pop-culture sci-fi and horror movies, and also mythology and folklore. But I also get images in my head just by listening to music, or waiting for a train to arrive. Architecture, locations, people, animals, I love taking it all. I recently got my hands on a macro lens, and am amazed by the tiny world around us. I could probably spend a day on the floor shooting pebbles, flowers and insects.
What's important to you. The story? The emotion? The technical skills?
I think the most important thing first of all is what the end result feels like and what it does to you. If an image gives you feelings, then you’re on the right track.
Can you describe your photography and editing process to the readers?
I have two approaches: one is an image that I have had in my head. I sort of have a sketch and collect all the elements to shoot, props, models, locations. So when shooting time comes I make sure everything is set up for composing it. I then take all the elements into Photoshop, put them all together and add my colour grading/toning to complete the image.
"Whatever Life Brings"
The other one is more random. That's when I shoot as it comes. Street, food, animals, and even models in costume and then take these images into Photoshop and play around with colour ranges, processing to see what I can make of it. I love working on these images as they provide a lot of freedom and are fun to experiment with. Nowadays I even edit a lot of these “sketches” on my iPhone or iPad
What creative solutions do you use to shape your ideas?
I think a good solution when having an idea sketched out is to allow for things to go in an opposite direction. When you’re shooting on a location you scouted, with a model and props you planned, things can always happen, the weather can turn bad, a prop can break, a model can turn ill. It’s impossible to control everything, so don’t try to. Finding solutions to those “problems” is creativity at its best. Staying mindful during the process can result in “happy little accidents”.
Are there any photographers who had a great influence on you or even were mentors for you?
The biggest influence on me came from the community itself. I learnt the most from the people online like Flickr who were kind enough to follow me and comment on my work, as I did with theirs. I made a list of people from all over the world I wanted to meet someday, and that list has been greatly ticked off during the years. (But it keeps growing too)
Please show us 3 of you photographs that you are really proud of and please describe why?
Twilight is an image I shot in London during a workshop, on one of the hottest days of summer at noon. It took some clever editing to create a night time scene.
In this image colour was my main focus. I just saw a documentary about colour use in Pixar animations. One thing that stood out was someone saying, “if you want more magic, just add purple”
Hannelore, my niece, is a stunning model to photograph, and I just loved this fun portrait I took of her. I like it most because I managed to keep it looking natural even though it’s Photoshopped to pieces ;-)
Madness is my most “talked about” self-portrait. Still makes my eyes hurt.
People either love it or can’t look at it. Which means I’ve been able to create an emotion that you can feel.
Can you tell me about your camera gear and editing software?
I started out with a 2MP Minolta, but I switched to Canon quite quickly. The last couple of years I’ve been shooting with Olympus OM-D camera’s. Tit is small, and easy to carry around and has great features, but the image quality is what I love most about it.
My digital workflow is based on Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw and Photoshop. I hardly use Lightroom. Within Photoshop I use the Retouching Toolkit by Conny Wallstrom a lot, but also Lumenzia and NIK software.
What do you think about the development of Photoshop and editing tools, pre made sets etc?
Photoshop is a big player for sure, and most plug-ins and presets are built for it. My only concern is that by trying to cater to such a big image creation crowd (photographers, illustrators, web-designers etc) it becomes too hard to learn for a beginner.
In what circumstances are you working the best? Full team? Solo?
I love shooting self portraits from myself, but for other ideas and concepts working with a great team is the best. When it comes to editing I can’t have anyone else around me. This part I love doing all on my own while listening to some nice music in the background and with a good cup of tea.
Can you tell us some of your highlights? (Album covers, exhibitions etc.)
Over the years I’ve exhibited my work both locally and international, in London, Barcelona, New York and even in Tokyo. I’m currently working on a new exhibition in New York in 2018 with ArtiFact.
My work has also been featured on album and book covers, where one image was used for a limited EP by American singer songwriter Ryan Adams.
Where can we find you? Websites etc.
I can be found online on practically every platform, where I’m active in various ways. My portfolio website and if you look for Dracorubio on social media, you’re bound to find me.
Can you give us some information about bookings and assignments? (Workshops, exhibitions, shoots)
I work closely with DraumList, who represents me as an artist. Together we develop workshops in various forms both national and international. I deliver Basic Photoshop as well as Photoshop Master-classes.
I’m also available for individual classes.
Are there any workshops or exhibitions in the near future?
Currently there’s a Basic Photoshop course planned on august 26 2017. I’ll be teaching two days at the Promoting Passion Convention in Buffalo New York in September 2017 too.
What would you like to say to the readers? Tip/Quote?
Be yourself, be inspiring. Make your art part of your life, live, breathe and taste it.
But also allow yourself to fail, learn and experiment.