Thomas Mangold doesn't feel he has a work history like many of us have. After school and civil service, he went off to study Visual Communications in Dortmund where he still lives. During these studies, he had the opportunity for an internship at the advertising agency Grey Dusseldorf and also began to receive invites to publish his photographic series in magazines. Around this time, a new professor at the college arranged a one week intensive seminar in Strata 3D. “Being familiar with computers from the time of the VC20, which preceded the Commodore 64,” says Thomas, “I immediately liked the idea, and I tried to solve some of my semester tasks with the help of Strata, instead of doing it the photographic way.“
He describes his overall style as ‘fictitious’. “There's no need for me to get lost between asteroids or in the halls of the dwarfs,” he says. “If you rearrange reality and/or approach it in a new and unfamiliar angle there are endless possibilities to create stunning stuff. Usually these ideas will find you, because if you look too hard for them, they don't show up. You need to listen carefully.”
Mangold doesn't care too much about defining what he’s doing. “If you deal a lot with advertising agencies,” he says, “then it might come in handy to give them a name for what you are doing, as some of them think in categories. They need illustrators, still-life photographers, photographers who are able to shoot liquids, clothes, people, etc. Sometimes they get confused if I show them my work as it lacks a certain definition.” Mangold really enjoys working with other creative people in a real life environment. So shooting on a location or studio ranks higher than moving points in a darkened office space. “But there’s nothing better than a mixture of both,” he adds. “When you leave the photo-shoot, you know that a lot of the work will begin with the post-production. Whereas, if you finish a model or render on a screen, then you know that it's pretty much done. Hopefully the end result in both cases brings a smile to your face.”
Working on a current project makes Thomas smile, because he knows he’s busy. Loving a challenge, he enjoys approaching the hurdles that stretch his creative side. “The jobs that make me curse all day long are probably the most interesting ones,” he says. “The work you already finished gives you this warm cozy feeling because you know what you’ve achieved in the past, but that's over.” Being an artist in both mediums, Thomas Mangold loves the combination of 3D objects and photographing real life environments. Just doing everything in 3D he feels, binds the artist too much to their computer, but he’s glad they exist.
For inspiration, Mangold does a lot of research to get the anatomy and dimensions right for a model. A lot of time is spent on getting detailed information on the surfaces. But he goes even further. “For the horse image I bought several expensive anatomy books,” he says, “and rented endless books from my local library. The jockey's cloth, saddle and so on were bought in a store. The horse was too expensive and my apartment was too small, so I went to a stable nearby and even started taking riding lessons.”
You can't really fail to complete your mission if you have the chance to do stuff again, correct things or add stuff you feel is essential. “The horse image was almost complete when I decided to spend more time to enhance the face of the jockey,” says Mangold. “And this extra time really brought it another step forward. But in real life production time tends to get shorter and shorter. So nightshifts and little sleep is the only way to stay on schedule.”
| || |