We present an exclusive interview with AtomHawk Design, who worked on the Guardians of The Galaxy concept design. Previously, AtomHawk worked already with Marvel Studios on Thor: The Dark World.
How many people employed in AtomHawk worked at Guardians of the Galaxy even? How did it take to finish the job?
We had four concept artists working on the movie: Pete Thompson, Roberto F Castro, Tim Hill and Stuart Ellis. Our Company Director, Ron Ashtiani, was responsible for the overall art direction of the work we produced and Amy Hill provided the project management. The team spent over a year designing spacecraft, key scenes and key action shots for the film.
About the concept disegn do you take inspiration from Classic Movie Sci-Fi other than from comics? If yes which one in particular?
Our brief was to create entirely unique designs so we were avoiding using any such references for our inspiration. This wasn’t an easy task as there is so much comic and sci-fi material out there and it can be very difficult for the artist to totally clear his or her mind of any pre-conceptions. However, the creative freedom that this approach provides is also very exciting and motivating and one which all the team relished.
The visual power of your concepts stands out instantly. Which were the instructions that Marvel Studios gave, expecially about Knowhere and The Collector’s Room?
The brief we were given for all the designs we worked on was very open. The script was our main source of reference as it contained outline descriptions of the scenes, action shots and spacecraft we designed. The rest was very much up to our own interpretation and in all cases we iterated very quickly, producing a high volume of sketched out images before something resonated with the production team and we were able to develop a particular idea further. The premise for Knowhere was that it be very rough and ready in terms of atmosphere and design, communicating the sense of potential danger and risk you would have felt in a frontier town. The Collectors Room was all about showing the volume and variety of the rare and wonderful things stored there, collected from all over the galaxy. The main challenge with this scene was exploring how we could design a room where all of these items were visible when normally a collector would keep his treasures stored away.
Depending on obvious reasons most part of the movie is based on visual effects. How was strong your collaboration with James Gunn, the director, in a situation where the synergy between “FX division” and director were stronger than usual?
We didn’t collaborate directly with James Gunn on any of the work. Our relationship on the project was with Production Designer, Charlie Wood. We had already worked with Charlie on Thor: The Dark World so we had a positive working relationship already established with him. Since we released our concept work for Guardians, James Gunn has tweeted that one of our image helped inspire the Ronan/Thanos scene in Sanctuary, so that was really good to hear!
Were there working differences between Thor: The Dark World and Guardians of the Galaxy?
The main difference was that there had been no previous Guardians movie so we were very much starting from scratch with very few pre-conceived ideas. The creative freedom that this allowed our artists was really inspiring and gave us scope for bringing more of our own ideas and imaginings to the table. Our preferred way of working is always to get involved in the creative process as soon as possible to feed our inspiration and help to define the creative vision of a project before we execute on the art work, and Guardians was a great opportunity to do just that.
Did you reach a new level of growth since you started working in movies production?
Our movie work has been a great boost to the company, both financially and in terms of our reputation and standing in the entertainment industry and we hope to continue to grow this side of our business.
This is your second collaboration with Marvel in a short period of time. We know you can’t give previews but should we have to wait a new Marvel Studios movie made with AtomHawk in the future?
You can definitely look forward to seeing our contribution to at least one more Marvel movie in the future!