Featured Portfolio: Zhelong Xu

We’ve been blown away by what some of the ArtStation Pro members have been doing with their portfolio websites so we couldn’t help but to share!

This week we’re featuring Zhelong Xu, a digital artist from the small town of JingDeZhen, China. JingDeZhen is known as the “Porcelain Town” because of its history for producing porcelain. Having studied at the JingDeZhen ceramic institute, it is clear that his background influences the large variety of incredible art he creates today.

ArtStation Pro enables artists to create beautiful looking portfolio websites in seconds. Zhelong Xu’s website is a great example of what can be done with the tools provided by ArtStation’s powerful website builder.

Check out Zhelong Xu’s ArtStation-powered website

Lucky for us, Zhelong took the time to answer some questions and give some really helpful advice and wise words for aspiring artists.

What kind of training or practice did you do before you were able to get a job as a concept artist?

Of course,  I have professional training in art while at university but as for CG-related knowledge of the software, I was self-taught. Usually that’s what we call “when technology and art collide”.  On one hand it requires strong traditional art skills and on the other hand it also requires that the artist has a sharp eye to capture and learn the trending hardware and software technology. There are a lot of free resources on YouTube and I will also recommend the Gnomon teaching series. Additionally, I usually read indirect CG books for my knowledge pool. For example, I have recently read some books on ancient Asian art, and some handicraft products introduction books. It’s a good help for broadening the field of vision.

What do you do to get you noticed?

Usually I use well-established websites to post my artworks, such as ArtStation and ZBrushCentral. ZBrushCentral is a great art community where you can find the best ZBrush artists around the world.  ArtStation is also an amazing platform because it contains not only models and 3D art, but also gathers some of the most famous 2D concept artists and it’s where I have always found lots of creative inspirations. Many of my clients and friends saw my work through ArtStation and made contact with me. Recently, Dr. Sebastien Deguy of Allegorithmic invited me to create a work “Fearless Journey” for Substance Source, and he found me through ArtStation. The experiences of working and communicating with these genius guys are fantastic.

I noticed some artists didn’t pay much attention on managing their community pages and it seems like they have mixed different types of their artworks with different timelines, not in a particular order. In my opinion, I think it’s of paramount importance that you only display the artworks you are very satisfied with. Artwork needs to be arranged properly in the community page, like the different catalogs for 2D works and 3D works. For me, what I like about ArtStation is that you upload a work once and you can display it in two places at the same time. The community allows you to get comments and suggestions from other artists; the website is a better, more formal play to display work.  I can decide where, when and how my artwork is to be presented.

What piece in your portfolio is your favourite and why?

My artworks are like my children. I love all of them. Of course it’s not perfect, but we cannot ultimately pursue perfection in a limited schedule. If I have to pick one, I will go with my monkey Zen. I only spent two hours to finish it but I thought about the concept for a very long time. The prototype of the monkey Zen is known as the Monkey King, who has been demonstrated as an violent ape in many of the CG artworks but in the original novel the Monkey King finally became a Buddha. Chinese people consider the pursuit of inner peace as the highest realm of life, so I think this work reflects my own understanding. This world we live in already has a lot of anxious emotions, and I hope the audiences who see this monkey Zen in the meditation stage can obtain a moment of tranquility.

Lastly, some words to the young artists and to myself:  All of us may find fantasies and glories in art industry and it can be very cool but  to be an outstanding artist demands enormous patience, consistent passion and lots of learning and practice. It is a serious commitment for life.

About the author

Sierra is the Editor of ArtStation Magazine.