We had the HUGE honor and pleasure to interview Stephen Bliss; Ex Senior Artist and Illustrator at Rockstar Games.

Enjoy!

interview stephen bliss

Here we are Stephen, first, let us say that we are really honored to be able to do this interview with a true legend like you! So thank you very much for this opportunity and for your availability!

1) The very first question we'd like to ask you is; how does it feel to
have "branded" in such an important and relevant way a brand that is
considered one of the most acclaimed in the world? I mean, with your art,
starting from GTA 3, you have given a unique imprint to the look and feel
of the Grand Theft Auto series.

It's great to be associated with such a highly respected company and franchise. On a bad day I can remind myself that I worked on GTA and the other games and the day starts getting better. It's also good to have a reference point when talking about my work, when I'm talking about my work to strangers, and they're looking at me with glazed over expressions and don't seem to be understanding my reference points, I can start talking about my work with Rockstar and their eyes light up.

 
2) We know that we cannot contractually discuss the years spent working at Rockstar, but we'd like to ask you; have you always practiced your art professionally even before the 'collaboration' with Rockstar, or did your real professional career start on that occasion?
If we can describe the beginning of a career as the point when I started earning money from painting then I started my career while I was still at art college in Brighton, UK, in 1983. I did jobs like portraits for the chef at a restaurant I worked at, or a logo for a band or new company. Then I left in '86 I think, it's a blur, went to London, did some magazine freelance illustrations, then a few months later I moved to Tokyo to work in house at a fashion company.
 
3) Staying on topic... How much has the beginning of working with Rockstar been determinant and important in your life?
It was hugely transformative. I started regaining a lot of self respect that I'd lost in London - this brilliant new company wanted me, I had imposter syndrome, which makes the success of the game and the art that much greater for me now as I now know that I wasn't an imposter.
 
4) Are you a gamer/videogame lover too? Do you happen to play Rockstar games? Are you also a fan of their games, as well as the important figure we all know well? Is there a Rockstar game you absolutely prefer out of all the others?
My video game addiction started with  Tetris on the Gameboy and F1 - Zero on .... XBox? Vice City is my favorite game, it has humor, great sound track, I love Miami, the colors, car design, the clothes etc.

gta vice city avery carrington

 
5) Currently you're constantly active on your social networks, do you work as a freelancer or do you have some important collaboration that cannot be given any mention?
I freelance now and it's going well. I just finished an ad campaign for Toyota in Germany,  covers and NFTs for XXXTenaction, I'm painting a Kill Bill poster to be printed as a small edition for collectors and a really exciting long term project that I think people are going to go nuts over.
 
6) How much has your art changed over the years and how? Do you think that the 'Rockstar period' has also given a real turning point in your approach toward your work and in the way of making art, your art?
I learnt a lot at Rockstar, I had to adapt and learn different ways to paint, I'm way better technically now after my education at Rockstar.
 
7) Can you tell us something about your future projects, what do you have in mind, on an artistic level, for the years to come?

I'm going to continue painting movie posters for a small group of collectors, the long term NFT project that I mentioned before, I'm designing logos and I'm continuing to do personal work for solo shows, if I think the gallery is right.

 
8) Is there any particular advice that you feel you can give to young artists, from your own artistic branch, who want to do it as a profession and maybe even make a career in the world of videogames with their art?
The artist must already be used to working hard because they'll be doing a minimum 10 hour day, 6 days a week, so they need to have a strong work ethic, have passion for creating, be flexible and learn a few different styles of painting and design, open your mind to ideas, carry a sketch book and write down those ideas, practice life drawing, educate your self and be aware of other artists and what's happening in the field of art that youre interested in. And don't give up - it's going to be tough and if it's not tough you're doing something wrong, sometimes you'll get relief and think how amazing it is to be painting and making money, but you're going to need the angst to push yourself to get constantly better.

gta san andreas stephen bliss

Stephen, we thank you enormously once again for your availability and for this fantastic opportunity, a real honor for us! We wish you the best of luck in your future projects and thank you for everything you have given us with your art, having inspired millions of people! Thank you!

We definitely suggest you to visit and follow Stephen Bliss on Instagram for all his incredible works and just because he is a true legend!

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