Matt Rhodes is a lead concept artist at Bioware in Edmonton. He was key in the design and art direction of the Mass Effect franchise, in addition to the two most recent Dragon Age games, including Dragon Age: Inquisition, which won Game of the Year at the 2014 Video Game Awards. His unique cell shaded style has been developed to maximize speed and communication quality through years of AAA production experience.
Samantha Youssef is the founder and artistic director of Studio Technique, an artistic training studio dedicated to the artistic development of professional and amateur artists. An acclaimed feature film character animator and visual development artist, she has worked at Walt Disney animation as well as other companies such as Yowza Animation, Filmax, and Ubisoft cinematics. Her short film La Fuga Grande won an award at the Toronto International Film Festival and has been featured at several other film festivals in Canada. Her other film credits include Curious George, Bambi II, Lilo & Stitch 2 and Tarzan II among others. She is the creator of the Youssef Drawing Syllabus and the first volume in the series is titled “Movement and Form”. Samantha is currently working on personal projects, including her next book, and teaching masterclasses for industry artists around the world and online.
Karla Ortiz is an award winning concept artist currently working at Marvel Film Studios where she is responsible for the visual development and creation of movie assets, such as characters, mood pieces and illustrations. Karla is known for her ability to work across diverse styles and render original high quality concepts and designs with remarkable speed. She possesses over 10 years of concept art experience for various companies such as Paragon Studios/NcSoft, Ubisoft, Kabam, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) as both an in house and a contract concept artist. An alumni of Safehouse Atelier, Karla has had her fine art work shown in Studio Gallery SF, the Safehouse studios shows, Thinkspace Art Gallery, Nucleus Gallery, Spoke Art Gallery and Hashimoto Contemporary. In addition to this, she has done illustration work for companies such as Wizards of the Coast, Ace Books, Tor Books and has provided cover work and art for various independent authors and toy makers.
Ian McQue is a veteran concept artist, designer and illustrator with over 20 years of industry experience with DMA Design and Rockstar Games, where he currently works as the Assistant Art Director. Over the years, he has contributed concepts and created characters for games such as Bully, Manhunt, Agent and Body Harvest. Now freelance and working mainly in the film industry, Ian's recent clients include Sony Pictures Animation, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures and Disney.
Nivanh Chanthara works as a Senior Concept Artist at Eidos, Montreal where he designs characters, environments and props for games. He started his career in France as a graphic designer in street art, urban sports and fashion before making the jump to concept design with the Iron Man: Armored Adventures animated series for Method Films. A concept artist and illustrator, he relocated to Canada in 2009 and started working at Beenox Studios, where his work was featured in the video games Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and The Amazing Spider-Man. He has also worked for other companies such as Bedford Production Inc., Dreamworks Animation, 20th Century Fox, MRC Studios as a freelance concept artist on many different projects. In addition to this, Nivanh has also been working on collaborative art project titled “Babiru” with Fred Rambaud which depicts a post-apocalyptic world and its survivors.
Rasmus Poulsen is an Art Director at Ubisoft, Montreal. He possesses an advanced degree in Production Design and Visual Communication from the School of Design at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. He started his concept art career at IO interactive, Copenhagen, where he art directed the game Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days. His other credits include art directing games in the Hitman franchise at Square Enix in addition to other unannounced AAA titles and mobile games. Rasmus also specializes in creating illustrations, concept design, visual identity and unique aesthetics for various clients for over 12 years through his concept art company Technouveau.
Raphael Lacoste is currently brand art director for Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed franchise. His credits also include, as art director: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Two Thrones and The Warrior Within and as matte painter or senior concept artist: Terminator Salvation, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Death Race, Immortals, Repo Men and Jupiter Ascending. In addition, Raphael has won a Visual Effects Society award for his work as Art Director on Prince of Persia the Two Thrones cinematics and is also a popular and experienced teacher.
Nathan Fowkes is a Visual Development Artist at Paramount Animation. A veteran in the entertainment industry, Nathan specializes in concept art, theatrical color and light design and color scripting and has worked on multiple animated feature films such as The Prince of Egypt, Spirit, How to Train Your Dragon, The Legend of Puss in Boots, Rio 2 and several projects in the Shrek universe. Nathan is also an established teacher of concept art painting, drawing, color and design, both at Schoolism and for clients such as DreamWorks, Disney and Blue Sky Studio. In addition to this, Nathan also has also worked with various game developers such as Blizzard Entertainment, Infinity Ward, Disney Interactive, Riot Games, Ubisoft and Rovio, to enhance the quality of their theatrical presentation.
Syn Studio’s Gathering of Masters is a small, laid back festival with lots of socializing and interaction between the invited guests and and participating artists. A mix of talks, interactive workshops and fun activities, it is a gathering where artists share their knowledge, connect with each other and work together to develop and push the boundaries of their illustration, design and art direction skills.
There will be 8 speakers and 60 tickets sold so it will be an intimate event where participants can have direct access to the speakers and be part of the conversation.
The festival is presented by Syn Studio’s Concept Art Diploma Program and sponsored by Wacom and ArtStation.
Who is this for?
This event is aimed at concept artists and art directors working in the video game, film, television and related industries as well as advanced students. It is a small festival for those who want to make connections, share, learn from, interact with and create art alongside their fellow artists.
**Note: If you'd like to participate in the workshops and activities, bring a sketchbook and your favourite sketching tools (and if you have a laptop and Wacom tablet, bring those too).