Furio Tedeschi is senior character/concept artist at BioWare Montreal, where he is currently working on Mass Effect: Andromeda. He previously worked at game developers including Blitz Games and Krome Studios, and VFX facility Mr. X Inc, and has worked as a freelance artist for wide range of companies including 343 Industries, WB Games, Gameloft, Blur Studio, McFarlane Toys and Sapphire Technology, and on movies like Pacific Rim. We caught up with Furio to talk about his art, and to trace the course of his globe-trotting career.
Tell us about your journey
I wasn’t the most interested school-going individual. I was asked to change schools a couple of times, mainly because of my mischievous nature – and not paying attention in class. My school books were always covered in drawings as opposed to notes on the subject, so my parents ended up sending me to [South Africa’s] National School of the Arts which helped steer me to a career as a digital artist.
During that time I was trying to understand how to get to do the work I saw in videogames, movies or comics, but I didn’t have a clue how to go about it, and I had no one to ask. This was before the internet, and South Africa had few connections to the industry.
Around 1998, I got my first PC and went to a college to learn 3ds Max. This was a novelty in SA and the instructor was less than clueless, but at least it got me hooked on Max and Photoshop, as well as computers in general. It was a massive step for me, and the first real turning point in my career.
Two years later I moved to the UK and my totally crap portfolio landed me my first job in the games industry. I recall it being very hard getting a job, and I think the only reason the company hired me was that I was wearing a suit at the interview!
The next big turning point was around 2003, when I purchased my first Wacom tablet, along with Gnomon’s Carlos Huante DVDs. It was vital to keep doing personal work, as at the time I was working a super-dull job at a military facility in Australia doing weapon modifications and simulations.
In 2006, I worked at Krome [Studios] Australia and eventually became a lead artist managing a team for Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Lightsaber Duels. Another turning point. The game did well, but management responsibilities brought me further and further away from creating art, so I began to focus on what I wanted to do: being a character/concept artist.
The ZBrush Action Hero Contest I entered in 2009 motivated me to keep trying, and slowly I gained exposure, mostly through freelance projects, leading to my current role at BioWare Montreal.
How do you want to impact the world?
I am working on some personal projects in between [paid] work and play. I’m not sure they will impact anything, but I enjoy keeping on learning.
What are you passionate about?
A few things: art across the board, nature, chillaxin, food, graffiti, shoes, caps, plants, dogs and animals in general. Music is another big passion of mine: I often get stuck in and mix some beats.
What would be your #1 advice to other artists?
Many people will tell you what you can and cannot do. If you believe in yourself and know that you can do it, don’t listen to the naysayers. Always follow the things that please you and not others.
It’s very easy to get pigeonholed, so also challenge yourself with areas you feel uncomfortable with. It isn’t a magic way to become the best artist, but it will definitely make you a better-rounded one.
And get off your ass and work on something personal!