“I would like my images to produce an emotion,” Dofresh tells me, “so that people come back to them to discover a new meaning or details that they may have missed the first time. I believe it is up to the viewer to project themselves into my illustrations, and to find their own meaning or message inside. My works are meant to be collaborative.”
This desire to connect on a human level is what sets Dofresh’s work apart and what imbues it with a fascinating duality. The worlds he creates feel both impossibly far-fetched but also right around the corner. In March of Robots, a giant industrial mech straight out of Aliens looms over a young woman on a bicycle, her fashion sense and Walkman more suited for the 1980s than the 2080s, but the magic is in the way they coexist on what feels like just another lazy summer afternoon. There’s a mundane familiarity between the two. This image isn’t fantasy. It’s a slice of life.
“In my work, I emphasize the narration,” Dofresh explains. “It’s not just a question of making a beautiful image. The image must say something. It must stage character interactions.”
Every image Dofresh creates starts with a pencil sketch. He then uses 3D rendering tools to play with camera axes, perspective, and lighting. He then takes the composition to Photoshop, where he diligently reworks everything from colors and textures to details and calibration. In most cases, the 3D rendering and the final image are very different.
His technical expertise, impressive skills, and one-of-a-kind creativity have helped Dofresh land a number of high-profile jobs with large production studios that specialize in film and TV animation, commercials, and video game cinematics—the kind of projects that also rely on Dofresh’s preternatural knack for visual storytelling, a knack that was cultivated early on in life.
“It’s when you’re young that you build your visual library for the future,” Dofresh says. “It’s important to absorb as many styles as possible. They will feed your imagination and inform your way of depicting the world.”
But Dofresh also encourages young artists to learn from living.
“A lot of my inspiration comes from everyday life, observing my fellow human beings. I suggest keeping a notebook with you to write down or sketch your encounters.”
I ask Dofresh about his own ideas and where he plans to go from here.
“I have dozens of ideas in mind that I want to finalize, and I have many personal universes that I would love to develop. On the technical side, I have not yet reached a satisfactory level in all my skills. I keep a very critical eye on my work, and I’m always looking to improve. But mostly, I want to continue creating art. It’s what I love most in the world.”
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