Mike: Todays guest is concept artist Dominic Lavery, getting into the film industry initially on sci-fi movies such as ‘The Fifth Element’ and ‘Event Horizon’ Dominic has worked his way up tobecome one of the most in demand concept artists in the industry, with one of the most outrageous resumes I think I have ever seen. So deep breath here we go; Stardust, LaraCroft, Hugo, Godzilla, Maleficent 1, Maleficent 2, Star Wars Rogue 1, Wonderwoman, ReadyPlayer 1, Aladdin, Mrs Peregrine home for peculiar children, a small matter of three JamesBond movies...how did I do Dom?
Dom: You’re remembering better than I do, I forget a lot of the films I have worked on now over the years but yeah that was pretty good.
Mike: Before we get going, would you be able to explain in your own words...what do you see as the role of a concept artist for people who might not know?
Dom: I have always felt a concept artist is there to visualise, like in the old days, pencil on paper or on computer or 3D or any media, you’re there to visualise what it is that the production designer and the director of the movie have got in their heads. How they would like their film to look, whether it's a prop or a set or a creature or a spaceship. And I have always felt that the moments that they like what you’ve done, you’ve done a good job. So you’re designing what they want not what you want.
Mike: To take it right back to the beginning, I’d love to hear about where you grew up and if your parents had artistic pursuits that influenced you or maybe not at all.
Dom: No not really I think my mum has got an artistic ability that she’s never used really but you know I grew up down in Kent, my Dad worked in the Shipping industry. My mum was an estate agent and was then a personal assistant to the headmaster of a school, which up until last week she still was, she’s just retired at 80.
Mike: At what point did you realise that you were artistically talented?
Dom: Drawing and creating stuff is all I have ever done, from the moment I hear the stories of staying with my aGrandmother in Lyme Regis and my mum coming in to find that I had drawn all over the bed clothes and the wall because somebody had given me a crayon and I really haven't stopped since then. When I was at school I only got one O Level and that was art. And it turns out really now that I am actually dyslexic which back in those days... nobody really talked about it. So I was labeled as being a bit thick really but it was actually a case that I just couldn’t take exams and so I struggled in those days but the fact that I could draw and it was very obvious that I had an artistic ability and I had fantastic parents who helped me pursue a career in art. So yeah you know I’ve always drawn, I’ve always had that ability, luckily.
Mike: So did you then take that into art school, where did you take that artistic talent you’d recognised?
Dom: After school I went to a college of further education to do further art and history art and things but I needed three O levels and I only had one. So my parents got me a private tutor to take two other O Levels and I passed them both quite easily in the end but that was because it was a one to one and I wasn’t in the School environment and I wasn’t in an examination hall. So I got my three O Levels to go to West County college, I was there for I think 2 or 3 years, I went from there to Blackheath art school in London to do a foundation course. And from that I went on to a private school of illustration I was very very lucky to get into and I was there for three years and learnt all the techniques of painting, illustration and things like that. So yeah I think it was 7 years in the end.