Rita Louro: “We are going to have an overdose of sexy renders”
With singular visuals, Rita Louro has really caught my eye in the 3D scene lately. Born in Lisbon she has, after a bit back and forth ended up back in Portugal where she is currently active as a 3D artist, doing work for clients all over the world. Many creatives might be able to relate when she talks about her personal journey into a creative industry – having found a voice, then figuring out your place in the world. In Rita’s case, geographical location has not always been an easy pick.
You used to live in London and later moved back to Lisbon. What are the main differences between the two, being an independent creative?
E V E R Y T H I N G ! Let’s start by saying that this was not a career motivated move. I moved for love. Love for my family, for my boyfriend and ultimately for my mental health. After 5 years in the UK, the “ Saudade” ** was becoming a bit unbearable and I found myself at a crossroads: I can stay here in London, the European epicenter of opportunities and do the standard up the ladder progression OR I can move back and be happy as a person first to then make my career work independently of where I am. I chose the latter. I chose to tailor
my job/career to my personal needs/personality and not the other way around. It took me 10 years to have this mental breakthrough and it was certainly not an easy one. There’s not much of an industry here in Portugal and the one that exists it’s a bit behindthe industry in London, New York, LA and so on. Not because there’s no talent, there are a lot of hard working talented people here, but because there’s a lot of financial and cultural constraints. In fact, I’m not sure if there are any motion designers besides myself in the city I’m currently in, Barreiro – on the south bank of the tagus river, 20 minutes by boat to the heart of Lisbon. It’s not Lisbon but it’s pretty close and I unexpectedly totally fell in love with this place (that’s another long story… ).
As crazy as this might sound, I found that all of these differences are a good thing. Firstly because nowadays I find my inspiration inside myself or around myself in things that have nothing to do with motion graphics and not from other designers thoughts or ideas. Yup… that happens when you are just surrounded by people that only do the same you do. It’s our biological instinct to adapt to our peers, to fit in. This results in a blur of great work, but that work doesn’t stand out. Don’t get me wrong, I love chatting with my motion designer friends and discussing ideas about the industry. I follow the work of people I admire too.
I love all the possibilities that places like London offer and I often miss all the meetups and events related to the industry. However, I am increasingly coming to the conclusion that if I want to make goodwork, meaningful or special, I need my moments of mental detox which I didn’t find possible in London. This move has been working for me, more than I was expecting. It’s important to note that this setup might not work for everyone and one should not settle in a place just because it’s institutionalised that is where you will be fulfilled and successful. I am very grateful for the times in London, that’s where I learned the most in all my career. I know this might sound naive or romantic, but I have this view that if you really love what you do, you will find a way of making it work no matter where you are. Just go for it ( but have a plan and save some money first just in case ).
** Saudade : portuguese word for “a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent
something or someone that one loves”
You work with a variety of visuals in the 3D space but many of your projects include textile objects. What makes you drawn to the textile space?
I could say that my interest for textiles started when I was 6 or 7 years old and decided to cut up my mom’s scarfs to make things for my dolls ( sorry mom but you were only investing in my art education! ). Or because my grandmother was a seamstress and my mother inherited the skills influencing my interest in it. Those things might have, or not, shaped my interest in textiles. I honestly don’t know. However, I do know that I love the form and movement of fabric and all the creative possibilities it has to offer. Fabric has a tangible element in digital artwork, an element that one can easily relate to, more than any artificial cube or any other geometrical shiny shapes. Itgives a touch of reality to a digital environment and that’s an element that I really love. I’m taking advantage of a real world paradigm in a digital context. Just like in the real world, where we can knit and embroider to create textures, combine different outfits to show off different looks and choose fabrics to decorate our houses.
Technology advances at a very high pace – what do you think it will be like working as a 3D artist in the future? Will the profession in itself still exist?
Like many other jobs I don’t think it will disappear but it will certainly evolve into something quite different. In fact, it has changed a lot already in the past 10 years. It’s just a matter of knowing if you are passionate enough to evolve as a 3D artist as well.
For example, 6 or 7 years ago it was quite hard to make something look real. Render engines required a bit of learning and machine specs were quite constraining. As a 3D artist this was something that restricted your work. Nowadays, with the introduction of render engines like Octane or Redshift, realism in the 3D space it’s very easily achieved. Anyone can do a sexy render ready to serve on social media. And we all do this, I’m no exception. If we want to stand out we will need to have
something else to offer aside from the render skills, hence the need of evolving as a 3D artist. We’re all going to have an overdose of sexy 3D renders, which may lack meaning or that je ne sais quoi that makes a piece of work memorable. And again, we will move on, possibly through the development of another technology, because we humans are technology dependent. This might direct us again towards storytelling or more meaningful visuals. Hopefully.
If you got to do an artistic project completely non related to any type of digital software what would you do?
Uff , I have an extensive list of artistic thingies I would love to do outside the digital world. Probably most of them won’t ever be more than I bullet point on a list. Others will probably become something else and many will be inserted back into the digital medium because the real world logistics can be quite overwhelming sometimes. Since I moved back to Portugal I’ve gone back to doing more things with my hands, with real materials: drawing, crochet, painting, and sculpting.. So I would probably enjoy doing a mixed-media sort of exhibition / installation about any of the themes I spend hours dwelling on my head: Capitalism, Mental zombification, Social Alienation, Neo-Narcissism, The meaning of life, Why do we have thumbs and so on….
Who would your dream collaborator for a future project be if you could pick anyone in the world?
There are so many people I would love to collaborate with! Just to name a few: the artists behind Toiletpaper Magazine ( Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari with the art direction of Micol Talso ), Kristen Liu-Wong and, because I am allowed to dream even bigger, Matthew
Barney, Bjork ( all of her music videos are pieces of art ), Stanley Kubrick and Fritz Kahn if they were still alive!
Also read “A Quasi world in 3D”