Visual artist Zenja Gammer captures wild animals as if they could see through us. He uses his Photoshop skills to bring out their true beauty and turn them into magical creatures that watch over us. Noble and wise, these beautiful beasts are a tribute to the power of nature.
Continue reading and get to know the artist behind the work.
On your website you mention that you first installed Photoshop when you were 15 years old. What was your journey to becoming a successful artist?
I installed Photoshop when I was 15 years old, and till today I never stopped using it. Not long after I discovered the software I started creating artwork for friends that organize events. The Netherlands has a lot of events so it was kind of a daily job for me to learn the software and improve my skills by creating printwork for these parties. I also got my bachelor as a visual designer but the biggest learning phase was when I started creating daily artwork and uploading it on my Instagram. This was just a couple years ago, and during this period I learnt so much by watching tutorials and experimenting in Photoshop. The fact that I pushed myself everyday to create something really helped me become a better artist.
Your art is themed around wildlife. Why are you drawn to this subject?
I was always fascinated by the animals on our planet. We, as humans, could never be so genuine as the creatures around us. You can develop a friendship with an animal and it will forever be your friend, and never judge us. We have so many beautiful different species on our globe and each one of them is just a piece of art by itself. I believe that we can learn a lot more from them than we think. When you create something with an animal you see how beautiful it actually is.
You teach Photoshop and digital art. Why have you decided to become an educator?
I actually started because I wanted to create videos but wasn’t sure what kind of things I should record. First, it was just progress videos of creating something, but later on I started talking and recording myself and I fell in love with the whole process of it. The fact that you can help other people and teach them something is just priceless and gives you the feeling that you’re actually here for a purpose.
How would you define your biggest success so far?
I think the biggest success so far is that I am able to wake up everyday, and can start doing what I love to do. I don’t have to worry about going to work or doing stuff I don’t enjoy. Everything I do now is all connected with creating art, which is what I love the most. Creating videos, running an online print store, creating for clients, teaching others, you name it.
What inspires you to create?
Every new artwork is a new challenge. You always try to be better than before and this is what inspires me most in creating. I am also heavily inspired by wildlife photographers, they capture the real world in a beautiful way and this is what I try to achieve in art. Making artwork that looks so realistic that you have to look twice to decide if it’s real or created.
What are the biggest challenges for you as an artist and an educator?
The biggest challenge in creating art for me is to create something realistic enough that it could be a real photo. I like to find the limits of digital art and photography, and combine them together to create something unique. As an educator the biggest challenge is to not only teach something, but to make sure that the student is also enjoying the whole process of it.
Do you have any tips for beginners on how to work on developing photo editing skills?
The best tip I can give is to experiment a lot in any software that you are using. You will learn most by just trying and not only watching. Spend a couple of minutes or hours or at least a couple of times per week, watch tutorials and you will see how fast you can improve your skills. Don’t get discouraged because someone else’s work is better, your only challenge is yourself. Try to be better than you were last time and never stop.
What are your passions, other than creating?
I love playing the piano. I had piano lessons for many years and there was a time when I also spent a lot of time making music. Other than that I enjoy working out, it really helps me keep my head fresh minded when I create. When you spend lots of time behind the desk you can get easily uninspired and you need to clear your mind. Other stuff that keeps me going is running, eating healthy, entrepreneurship, teaching, landscape photography & traveling.