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Interview with Artist, Anne Koi

Posted on December 29, 2003 by Flames

How did you get into gaming?

When I was a kid, my dad built military models and dioramas. I’d go with him to the hobby shop. They always had miniatures – and I liked the little wizards and elves and dragons and robots, and I’d talk the guys behind the counter out of a few if I could. Game store guys apparently like to encourage little girls. It wasn’t too long before I had my first Dungeons & Dragons box set. It was all down hill from there.

What about H.P. Lovecraft fascinates you?

I’ve always been enamored of his whole idea that mankind is hopelessly dwarfed by an uncaring universe that might roll over and squash it accidentally at any moment. The great Creator exists, but is insane, blind, and terribly dangerous. “The most merciful thing in the world is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.”

How does it feel to have your work as the cover-piece of the d20 Call of Cthulhu RPG?

I’m proud of it, its beautiful work, and I love the interior pieces I did for it, too, but I tire of hearing disparagement aimed at the Open Gaming License. As if I had anything to do with licensing at Hasbro. I just paint (and, er, sculpt) pictures, people. Think of it as an artbook?

How was working on the Unknown Armies RPG?

I only did some art, but I always enjoy working with John Tynes (who directed me on that particular project). The piece depicting the man with childhood sexual issues was my favorite to work on – we had some discussion over whether the skull codpiece or the original crotch shadow was more suggestive. We settled with the codpiece for safety’s sake; the guys thought the shadow looked too much like gratuitous nudity.

What inspires you? Where do you get new ideas?

I read a lot of nonfiction on things like social anthropology and political science, contemporary biological and medical discoveries, that sort of stuff. I listen to ritual dance music, and psychedelic or dark/apocalyptic folk music. Somewhere along the line, it merges and breeds and hatches into the creatures that come out of my head and brushes.

Do you have a favorite medium? Why?

Acrylic. With the right additives, it can do anything, and it doesn’t reek. Acrylic paints have the added bonus of not being as carcinogenic or otherwise abusive as oils and their additives.

What advice do you have for hopeful artists trying to get into the RPG industry?

Learn to draw the human figure in proportion; don’t just copy comic book art. Vary your portfolio (line art, gray shaded pencils, and color work), and include as few copyrighted characters in it as possible. Even more important – behave professionally, and treat an artist interview like any other job interview. Don’t expect top dollar when you’re new, and learn that what one company might consider an “industry standard” for pay rate or time turnover may in fact vary.

What RPG(s) are you currently playing (if any)?

As it stands, I haven’t played a pen and paper RPG in a few years (last time was a oneshot CoC Dreamlands game at NecronomiCon 2001). I put 120 hours in on Final Fantasy X, but I haven’t been able to coordinate my schedule with an RPG group in a long time. I have been squeezing a bit of wargaming into my convention going though, ever since I was introduced to Warmachine (Privateer Press)… gotta love a game with killer robots powered by the dead and flamethrowing religious freaks.

Honestly, though, I miss playing tabletop RPGs. Its funny illustrating for them and writing about them and never getting to play. I hold on to my dice, though.

What can you tell us about your role in the film, The Resurrectionist?

Hehe. Oh my. Well, I played The Well Dressed Woman, who’s this sort of Mephistopheles or Nyarlathotep figure for the grave robber of the title, Ezekiel Sutter, the Resurrectionist himself. She seduces him into signing the contract via his dreams, as she has done to at least one man before (that we get to see in the film). Soles apparently originally wrote the part for me, but I tried to cast someone else in it when I was working on casting.

John Tynes (sound) dubbed my voice in multiple layers so that I sound like a buzzing insect or a chorus of smaller demons. I thought that was a nice touch.

What’s next for you?

If I told you, I’d have to kill you. Here, sign this paper on the dotted line, it releases you from. Ahem.

Seriously? I’m writing again, but I’m not sure what that means. There are some paintings on the block and a rather large installation piece which will be unveiled by the beginning of summer. I’ve been working on some secret collaborations but those still have to maintain their covert status for now. Anyone who’s interested should keep an eye on the website for updates (which is something else I have to get to really soon).

For more information on Ann Koi, visit her website at http://www.moritorium.com.

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