We had the good fortune of connecting with Justin Albers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Justin, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
I feel like I look for and take inspiration from a few different sources – there are paintings, films, games and other works of art that I have always liked and admired, even as a kid, and will go back and look at those things that got me fired up in the first place. I also get inspired by new art and ideas I see coming out into the world – I definitely get energized by ingenuity and creativity I see not not only in the entertainment world but the nature and science and fashion worlds too, so many things I feel like I would have never come up with myself and am glad to have seen these things. I also look to the people around me as well for inspiration – whether it be their stories, ideas, or work/life ethics – I draw a lot from them!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Helping to create characters for League of Legends is incredibly exciting and rewarding. We get to come up with these great backstories and archetypes and further the lore of the game. I’ve been fortunate to work as a concept artist since 2005 and feel as though I’ve really learned a lot about not only about the craft itself but also working efficiently, effectively, and collaboratively. I think two major reasons have gotten me here – I really love the work and will put in the necessarily time and hours it takes for me to be as successful as I can at it because – there’s really nothing else I know how to do! But luck as well – I’ve been in the right place at the right time for some opportunities, but also met people whom I find very inspirational and I admire and who are also supportive and encouraging and open to sharing their knowledge with me. I went to art school for two years in Dallas and got my first job at at startup gaming studio. From there I was able to keep learning and getting better at my craft and ended up moving down to Austin to work at a few great studios there before finally making the move to Los Angeles to work on League of Legends at Riot. Important Lessons I’ve learned for myself- stay sharp, don’t get comfy, always look to improve and expand my visual and design vocabulary. Also, it’s a small industry, so I try to have as positive an effect on as many people as I can because you never know when you will have to work with people again or depend on them, but also makes the working relationship a lot more productive. It’s a 2-way street, of course. Also, working collaboratively is so much better for a project than trying to be the hero.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I have to say up front, these ideas are catered to the end of 2019 as I think we all missed a year of going out for obvious reasons, but I sure hope to do these again soon. Day 1, probably keep it local in Culver City (my neck of the woods) and do the Baldwin Hills hike, the Museum of Jurassic Technology afterwards to cool down, and ending at The Backstage for dinner and brews and live music. Day 2, as cliche LA as it may sound, I love to take folks to the Getty, especially if they are art friends; it’s a great way to spend a day, collections are fantastic, and the grounds and views of the city are wonderful. Evening time rolls around I’d take them to a little Mexican restaurant in Venice called Casablanca (my favorite margaritas) and then a night out at Good Times at Davey Wayne’s. This might be a bit ambitions as I’m getting old now but I think I could still do it. Next day, I’m thinking to head out to the Sunset Strip to a few places down there but namely the Rainbow Room for little LA rock history. Day after that, feeling like a bike ride or walk down the boardwalk in Venice would be in order, with a little brunch at Sunny Spot. Next day maybe a downtown LA day including the Broad and The Last Bookstore, ending at Grand Central Market for some refreshments. Day after that, thinking I’d want to head over to Echo Park/Silverlake/Los Feliz for a little shopping during the day and Bootie LA at night. That pretty well sums it all up for me so far. If I had one more day I’d take visitors on some architecture tours or head out to Pasadena to see some of those cool Craftsman houses (namely the Gamble House) and the Huntington Gardens. Man I’m getting excited just thinking about all this stuff! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would immediately have to go with my wife, my family, my friends, and my team at Riot – I get tons of support, knowledge, and encouragement from them, if that’s not too many people!
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