Artist Interview: Victor Zastolskiy (aka vicnt)

This month we feature the multi-disciplinary talents of Victor Zastolskiy, aka vicnt. Victor lives and works in Nizhny Tagil, Russia. His portfolio includes an eclectic mix of 3D rendering and photography, combining sleek interior spaces and quirky portraiture into a unique body of work.

Hi Victor. How did you get started in illustration, design and photography?

VZ: I graduated from the Academy of Art. Later I worked as an artist for a long time in the computer games industry. I was also engaged in interior design. All of these skills helped me later in the creation of my images.

Who or what inspires your work?

VZ: I am inspired by the world around me, all I see. Life is wonderful!

What’s your favorite subject matter?

VZ: Perhaps most of all I like the theme of forces of nature. It fascinates me. I often dream about a tornado…

Describe your style. What do you try to capture in your images?

VZ: If I have an idea, at first I make sketches in pencil. At this stage I do a basic composition for the image. Then I choose the means to solve the problem: what software do I need? What photos will I be able to use from my archive? Do I need to take additional photos? Then comes the work of compiling all the material in the final image.

If you had to pick just one camera, medium, program or tool to work with from now on, what would it be?

VZ: This is terrible! I really do not like constraints to the tools of an artist. I am currently working in a 3D editor, then 10 minutes later I need a scanner, after half an hour the camera, then colored pencils and ink, etc…

4654096 © vicnt

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

VZ: I love to travel; I love cycling and snowboarding. I ride in as many different countries as possible. I am also engaged in engraving on wood.

4102054 © vicnt

What one tip would you share with someone who’s just starting out in the stock industry?

VZ: If you have an idea for an image, first check the extent to which this theme is already represented in stock. If you feel that you cannot do a better or more interesting picture on this theme, work on another idea. It is better not to create similarities.

4573553 © vicnt

Do you have a favorite artist/photographer at Crestock?

VZ: On Crestock there are many excellent creators. For example, there are many hidden ideas in these images by egorr.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

VZ: I am very modest. 🙂

See Victor’s Portfolio

2684105 © vicnt

853876 © vicnt

2622099 © vicnt

4573561 © vicnt

Artist Interview: Scott Griessel (aka Creatista)

Every month we feature one of our illustrators or photographers. This month we talk to Scott Griessel, alias Creatista. Scott is an Arizona-based photographer whose larger-than-life portraits gleefully fall outside the box of standard stock. Scott is not afraid to let his models emote or get messy or outrageous. Today we take a look inside his world of colorful characters— from smoking nuns to nagging moms, drag queens to femme fatales, bubblegum punks to yogis and beyond…

Scott Griessel

How did you get started in photography?

SC: I’m actually a TV and film guy. I started my career in video and worked up to being a producer and director for TV commercials, videos for shows, training films and that sort of thing. I spent a while as a creative director and partner in a boutique agency working for national clients like Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Freightliner, Airstream and others. I was working on a catalog job for Saab in Atlanta over a decade ago and the photographer had just switched to a digital back for his large format camera. I was skeptical and made sure he had lots of film and a regular film back handy. My first brush with digital was immediate love and I’ve never looked back. As I progressed in my career, I was able to integrate photography into my own company, Creatista. Now it’s about 20% to 30% of my business.

Who or what inspires your work?

SC: I’m a big fan of Cindy Sherman and Chuck Close. I guess I just like quirky portraits. People are endlessly fascinating.

What are your favorite images from your collection?

SC: Wow! I like a lot of them for different reasons. Here are five that come to mind… of course, on a different day I’d pick five different shots.

971485 © creatista

What’s your favorite subject matter?  Describe your style. What do you try to capture in your images?

SC: I love shooting people and characters. If I can set up a scene just like I would in a film or video, I’m happy. I like the pictures to end up with a sense of relationship and narrative. I’m not a picky scenic type, or an intense sort of ‘work for the one great shot’ photographer. I tend to shoot pretty fast and loose. I like to work on location and even enjoy a certain sense of messiness to my shots vs. pristine staging. Mostly, I just want to have fun while I work.

1120953 © creatista

If you had to pick just one camera to work with from now on, what would it be?

SC: I know it’s counter-intuitive, but I’m not that interested in cameras. I shoot Canon and have some great 1ds and 5D bodies and glass. Even so, I don’t read the trade magazines or spend much time thinking about my gear- except when it breaks. I’m in the Lance Armstrong school… it’s not about the bike and it’s not about the camera. Lots of my friends love their gear, and I’m often a bit sheepishly embarrassed by my own lack of knowledge. I just know what I like and I click the shutter when I see it.

309096 © creatista

If you won the lottery, what’s the one place or person you would run away to photograph?

SC: I have a dream to walk across the country for a year, stopping into the small towns and just meeting people and writing about them. I’m interested in the country and how we’re doing. Not in a political way, just what people are up to and how they live their lives. I’ve done quite a bit of editorial work for magazines and other clients and I really like it. This would be a personal project. In 2006 I produced and directed a documentary film called The Asphalt Gospel about a group of progressive Christians that walked from Phoenix to Washington, D.C. It was five months on the road moving very slowly from town to town. Guess I’m just itching to get out again.

1696314 © creatista

What do you do when you’re not shooting?

SC: Travel, baby! In fact, I’m on my way to Turkey with my wife in a couple days. We’ll come back with thousands of photos… so look out, reviewers!

What one tip would you share with someone who’s just starting out in the stock industry?

SC: Can I give more than one? OK. I will.

I’m a huge fan of microstock and stock. It allows a photographer to find a niche and work on subjects of interest to them. I’m not a birder, but, if I was, I would concentrate on creating excellent shots of birds. It’s like being a writer – ‘write what you know’.  Shoot what you know. I know actors and theaters and film-making, so that’s what I shoot.

It is seriously hard work. For everyone that I meet and refer and help out to get started, maybe one in ten will stick with it. The secret is, it’s worth it. It takes time and effort, but once your portfolio hits a certain size and your skill level continues to grow, it’s a great way to make a solid income. It is possible. I couldn’t live solely on my stock work, but it is a significant part of the entire platform.

Don’t take rejections personally. Reviewers are human and have opinions and have to make borderline calls on images. No photo is worth getting upset over. I used to agonize over every shot and feel an affront if it didn’t get accepted. Now I lick my wounds, try to learn from the experience, and move on.

4168425 © creatista

Do you have a favorite artist/photographer at Crestock?

SC: Since I shoot people, I tend to be drawn to other artists that do the same. Who isn’t in awe of Yuri Arcurs? I always enjoy images from andresr, and I think diego_cervo has an interesting eye and does a nice job with the post work on every image. For still lifes, Elenathewise, and nicemonkey rocks the vectors.

Do you have a website/blog or any other personal links (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) that you would like to share?

SC: I’m everywhere. Easy to find on Facebook under my name, Scott Griessel. I’d be happy to make new friends. I also maintain a back-end invite-only site on Facebook called CreatistaPhotography with models, MUAs, stylists, actors and photographers. The main site is… forever in need of updating but always fun, just the same.

4464257 © creatista

Would you like to share any other information?

SC: I’m from San Diego, and spent my formative years in the Midwest, including Detroit, which I love. Now I live near Tucson, Arizona and have a studio called 19 Below – that’s on Facebook, too.

I work with Eric Basir at Photografix for the bulk of my post work, since it’s too fast and furious for me to do all on my own. Theadra Taylor is a rockin assistant and model; she sets up our Creatista shoots. Edwin Serrano is the king of gear, staying on top of all the stuff when I don’t and making me look like I know what I’m doing…

See Creatista’s portfolio

767120 © creatista

4575877 © creatista

Artist Interview: David Sandonato (aka DavidArts)

1810627 © DavidArts ©

1810627 © DavidArts

Every month we feature one of our illustrators or photographers. This month we talk to illustrator David Sandonato, based in Italy, who goes by the alias DavidArts.

How did you get started in illustration?

DS: Three and a half years ago, I saw an article in a magazine about the microstock photography industry. I was curious about this new market and after some research on the web, I found major microstock sites. Then I discovered that this market was also suitable for illustrators. Since I was a child, pencil design, oil and airbrush painting and later all digital art were a huge passion for me. So I started learning Corel Draw and Adobe Illustrator. After two weeks, I was accepted to the first site. From that day on, I’ve created new vectors every day and submitted them on a weekly basis.

David Sandonato at

David Sandonato

Who or what inspires your work?

DS: A keypoint for contributors is to understand what buyers need. In my case, there’s nothing better than browsing bestselling vectors to see actual trends. Once you’ve found the “theme” that’s popular, you can start to use your imagination to create something competitive to add to the game. I always try to be aware of trends. 50% of my submissions are related to current trends. The other 50% are subjects like backgrounds, disco flyers – whatever inspires me – with no limitations.

What are your favorite images from your collection?

DS: I love to design images for Disco Flyers. I also love to design Vintage labels as well as holiday-inspired illustrations.

Recently I’ve started to design website templates like this  or this.

What’s your favorite subject matter?

DS: One of my favourite subjects is Disco Flyers, full of music related elements and an explosion of colours. I also like to create Vintage Labels, Christmas (and other holiday related) illustrations, abstract backgrounds and website designs. I honestly don’t have a specific favourite subject, the most important thing is that my eyes are satisfied with my creation.

2109747 © DavidArts at

2109747 © DavidArts

Describe your style. What do you try to capture in your images?

DS: I don’t know if I have a particular style, but many of my friends said they’ve easily recognized my images due to my colour combinations. I usually use bright colours to enhance shapes and composition. I hope the first visual impression of my illustrations induces the viewer to meditate a few seconds on my image and explore it in all its parts. I think color choice is one of the most important things for a successful vector, along with the shapes used and the overall composition.

3893367 © DavidArts at

3893367 © DavidArts

4088371 © DavidArts at

4088371 © DavidArts

If you had to pick just one medium, program or tool to work with from now on, what would it be?

DS: Adobe Illustrator is a must for vectors. It should be your only choice or at least your final step before creating a vector file.

4622011 © DavidArts at

4622011 © DavidArts

What do you do when you’re not working?

DS: Great question! I have so many passions. I like to ride my Harley Davidson (painted and modified by myself), go to the gym everyday or go fishing (in the right season). I also like to ride my mountain bike off-road and I really love to catch some sun on the beach! Even though my main job is to create vector illustrations, it really is one of my passions. The idea of “doing what you like to do for your job” is one of the most amazing thing in my life.

1719149 © DavidArts at

1719149 © DavidArts

What one tip would you share with someone who’s just starting out in the stock industry?

DS: The microstock industry is a really serious business, where only a mix of perseverance, ability and adaptability can help you become a full-time illustrator. If your target is to sell thousands of images every day, you’ll have to build a very big portfolio. You need to focus on quality and quantity, as both are important. Start to design and create every day and never stop. Every new creation will be better than the previous. Like in every business, you have to believe in yourself.

David adds: By the Way… I’m an electronic engineer but I feel more like an artist who has chose to work with his passions.

See David’s portfolio

1687997 © DavidArts at

1687997 © DavidArts

2478043 © DavidArts at

2478043 © DavidArts

Artist Interview: Ben Goode (aka kwest)

Every month we feature one of our illustrators or photographers. This month we talk to Australia’s Ben Goode, who goes by the alias kwest.  His portfolio is full of dramatic and powerful landscapes, roads, farmlands and beaches that make up the beauty of Australia.

240636 © kwest at

240636 © kwest

How did you get started in photography?

BG: I got my first digital camera as a wedding gift back in 2005, and took lots of photos on my honeymoon in the Cook Islands. The results inspired me to continue with outdoor photography.

Ben Goode

Ben Goode

Who or what inspires your work?

BG:  Ken Duncan, a well-known landscape photographer here in Australia, is someone who definitely inspires me.

What’s your favourite subject matter?

BG: Landscape Photography without a doubt.

Describe your style. What do you try to capture in your images?

BG: I have 2 main styles. With my ‘stock’ style, I try to capture a photo that I can work with in Photoshop to create an image that will sell a product. With my fine art landscape style, I simply want to take the best photograph I can of a certain location. Something that will get a ‘wow’ response from someone if hanging on a wall.

If you had to pick just one camera to work with from now on, what would it be?

BG: My current camera – Canon 5d MKII

If you won the lottery, what’s the one place or person you would run away to photograph?

BG: I would go straight to New Zealand and spend 6 months there shooting.

1053613 © kwest at

1053613 © kwest

209740 © kwest at

209740 © kwest

What do you do when you’re not shooting?

BG: Web design, graphic design, post processing, golf, basketball.

What one tip would you share with someone who’s just starting out in the stock industry?

BG: Try and make images that stand out from the crowd. Work out the areas you want to focus on and then look on the stock sites and work out ways you can make your images better than the competitors, or try to put a new slant on them. Dont just settle for taking the same photos as everyone else. Also – learn Photoshop. Well.

4244947 © kwest at

4244947 © kwest

1605237 © kwest at

1605237 © kwest

Do you have a favourite artist/photographer at Crestock?

BG: I admire the success that andresr has had. Like me, he came from a graphic design background and not a traditional photography background.

See Ben’s portfolio or check out his Facebook Page.

770881 © kwest at

770881 © kwest

4458875 © kwest at

4458875 © kwest

Artist Interview: Eric Isselée

Every month we feature one of our illustrators or photographers. This month we talk to Belgium’s Eric Isselée. He travels the world, searching for interesting animals, mainly photographing his subjects against a white background— which brings their charming and unique personalities front and center. From dog and cat, to fish and fowl, from simple farm animals to exotic-looking insects, if you’re looking for amazing animal photography, you must check out his collection.

4048897 © isselee

4048897 © isselee

How did you get started in photography?

EI: My father is also a photographer.  He specialized in aerial photography. That’s where I started – as his apprentice.

Eric Isselée

Eric Isselée

Who or what inspires your work?

EI:  When I’m on a photo shoot, the animals always inspire me, but so do the people who surround them. We usually start off with a certain idea, but this can vary according to the animal’s behaviour, the suggestions from the other people (at the shoot) or just the feeling one has at that moment. When dealing with artistic work, nothing is ever certain.

What are your favourite images from your collection?

EI: I would hesitate between the series I produced on baby birds who have just hatched from their eggs and the photos of insects on leaves and grass which reflect life under our feet.

Describe your style. What do you try to capture in your images?

EI: I try to obtain images which are simple visually. The animal must be beautiful, proud and must reach out directly to the spectator. He is photographed in different positions and at different angles, either alone or interacting with other animals.

4404406 © isselee at

4404406 © isselee

959010 © Isselee at

959010 © Isselee

If you had to pick just one camera to work with from now on, what would it be?

EI: A digital camera such as Hasselblad or Mamiya; in other words, a camera which can obtain images that reach 50 million pixels!

If you won the lottery, what’s the one place or person you would run away to photograph?

EI: An autoportait in the North Pole on an ice-breaker next to an iceberg, with my family.

What do you do when you’re not shooting?

EI: Shooting again… No, I am just joking! I am constantly thinking about the selection of new photos, retouching, the next photo opportunity. So, actually, I was not really joking!

What one tip would you share with someone who’s just starting out in the stock industry?

EI: You have to have a particularly attentive eye, have your own style and your own vision, and find the right “language” to transmit all of that.

Do you have a favourite artist/photographer at Crestock?

EI: I particularly admire the fairytale landscapes by Sandralise.

Do you have a website, blog or other personal links you’d like to share?

EI: is the only place where one can find all of my collection, and for those who wish to follow our adventures we have

See Isselee’s portfolio

4335383 © Isselee at

4335383 © Isselee

220988 © Isselee at

220988 © Isselee

Artist Interview: Dianka Pyzhova

Every month we feature one of our illustrators or photographers. This month we talk to Dianka Pyzhova of the Ukraine. She has a unique illustration style, producing work that is at times whimsical, sophisticated or just plain cute, yet always charming. Her portfolio of vector illustrations contains great holiday concepts, including themed sets of icons perfect for every season.

2410515 © dianka at

2410515 © dianka

Dianka Pyzhova

Dianka Pyzhova

How did you get started in illustration or design?

DP: I’ve been drawing as long as I can remember: with my mom’s lipstick, with crayons on the ground and on the walls. I remember once there was no empty space on the ground and to draw more I had to wash it with water from the garden hose. Later followed formal Art School training – with paint and brushes, which led me finally to learn to complete my illustrations using computer software.

Who or what inspires your work?

DP:  I get my inspiration from everyday things and objects – the amazing curl of a shell, the pattern on a shirt of a stranger, the movement of lights in a lava lamp. But usually I don’t need to do anything to get inspired. Drawing is my life.

3146034 © dianka at

3146034 © dianka

What are your favourite images from your collection?

DP: I love all of my work, even those that stay on the paper and never get vectorized. Unfortunately  I have a lot of those because of the lack of time.

What’s your favourite subject matter?

DP: My favorite things to draw are animals and funny cartoon characters. Especially I like the moment when, after choosing color and adding the finer details, my character looks like it comes to life.

2215428 © dianka at

2215428 © dianka

If you had to pick just one medium, program or tool to work with from now on, what would it be?

DP: If I needed to choose one tool it would be my favorite simple gel pen; if software –  it’s CorelDraw.

Describe your style. What do you try to capture in your images?

DP: I cannot define my technique. Technically, I never use gradients or transparency; I like to play with colors and leave the outline.

What do you do when you’re not working?

DP: I like to read books, travel and learn about different cultures. I enjoy playing board games with my friends. And I love my dachshund, Elza.

2215437 & 3579575 © dianka

2215437 © dianka 3579575 © dianka

Any tips for someone who’s just starting out in the stock industry?

DP: For the beginners in the industry, I would advise not to start with copying top, successful artists, but to find your own style through analyzing their work and working hard. And the most important – Love what you do 🙂

See portfolio

2350883 © dianka at

2350883 © dianka

Artist Inteview: Sean Prior

Every month we feature one of our illustrators or photographers. This month we talk to Sean Prior of Ireland. He took some time from his hectic schedule to chat with us about photography, the microstock industry and creative inspiration.

2753318 © 4774344sean at

2753318 © 4774344sean

How did you get started in photography?

1901112 © 4774344sean at

1901112 © 4774344sean

SP: I was initially a documentary filmmaker and had produced 7 films which were entirely self-funded and produced on my own time. (My day job at the time was in business development). This meant I owned all the copyright to the footage I had shot. I then took the clips to a few well-known agencies; they liked them and it went from there. I loved the creative aspect of stock footage, so I set about turning a hobby into a business. Now 4 years on we have 40,000 images and 20,000 HD videos! The still images side came as an afterthought: “Hey, I’m here shooting a stock video shot, why not take a photo as well?”

My background is very far removed from this business. I have a BA and MSC in Economics! Bizarre, right? Maybe I made the wrong subject choices in school but you know in a roundabout way it has got me to work in an area that I absolutely love. The most important point though is that I have a team of people working with me who are far more talented than I can ever hope to be.

2910405 © 4774344sean at

2910405 © 4774344sean

Who or what inspires your work?

SP: I get inspiration from the team I work with and also from people who don’t produce volumes but really focus on their own style—artists who aren’t as mainstream and keep a low profile.  There are some great photographers out there, but it’s very important to be aware that, in many cases, while the photos might have one name on the copyright notice there’s a very expensive production team working with them (art director, make-up artist, stylist, location scouts, etc.).  I think it’s important for individuals to realise this and not feel that they’re not hitting the standards due to lack of talent. Someone may have the talent but not have the team around them or the money to spend.

What are your favourite images from your collection?

SP: That’s a hard one. The favourite ones generally aren’t the good sellers. We were working on a shoot last year and we had a joke about who could produce the best image and win the “player of the tournament” award. Our senior photographer (Paul) produced a technically brilliant image of a boy kicking a ball in the park with his Dad. The emotions and the technical aspects were simply perfect… It has yet to sell!!

The same was true for my image on the shoot. I spent about 40 minutes on my knees in a very painful pose trying to get a shot of a mother and daughter blowing bubbles. Personally I loved the photo but unfortunately no buyer does! Not one sale to date. It’s criminal that an image of someone “snapped” against a white isolated background with a cheesy smile and a ‘thumbs-up’ to the camera is outselling these images!  I suppose that’s the difference between stock photos as a hobby and a business—you have to accept the good with the bad. I have sold plenty of classic stock images.They’re the bread and butter of the business. You have to accept that what you think is great and what sells can be two totally different things.

4174821 © 4774344sean at

4174821 © 4774344sean

What’s your favourite subject matter?

SP: Underwater sharks and fish – I only ever get the chance to do a few days here and there. I did my advanced PADI a while back and I would like to spend a lot of time underwater with a camera. Some day, when I retire! Right now I have to make sure I can pay my staff, so the dream will wait.

If you had to pick just one camera to work with from now on, what would it be?

SP: Easy – Phantom Video camera. I could spend all day capturing water drops splashing into water at 1,000 FPS or travelling around trying to find a hummingbird to shoot. Again, it’s a dream for another day!

2110371 © 4774344sean at

2110371 © 4774344sean

If you won the lottery, what’s the one place or person you would run away to photograph?

SP: I would spend a lot of time in Thailand. I really love the country and the people. It’s such a great place. Maybe also camp up in the Scottish highlands with no mobile or laptop looking for a fox or badger to photograph.

Any tips for someone who’s just starting out in the stock industry?

SP: Find a niche that you love and doesn’t cost much and spend your time photographing and enjoying it. Or have lots of someone else’s money to spend on big productions. Warning: the second option is not good for your health, is very stressful and you really need to make sure you don’t mess it up.