Anthony Macbain is an, Illustrator, Concept Artist, Creative Director and Educator who specializes in Visual Development. He graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Communications Design in 2002. From 2004-2017, he worked at triple-A video game company, Rockstar Games, where he rose to the role of Illustration Director. There, he created high profile marketing illustrations and key art for nearly every game Rockstar released during that time, including Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto V, the latter of which would become the biggest selling video game of all time. As Director and Artist, he led a team of illustrators, developing unique art styles for multiple game franchises. In addition to advertising and cover art, Anthony also worked as a concept artist, designing the look of some of Rockstar's most memorable characters, as well as overseeing the visual development of multiple animated cartoons produced to be viewed within the games.
In 2019, Anthony co-founded Anthrox Studio with his longtime collaborator, Roxie Vizcarra, with the aim of combining their many years of experience as artists in the video game and entertainment industries. Currently Anthony teaches Advanced Worldbuilding at Pratt as part of the Game Design and Interactive Media, AOS degree program.
TELL US WHAT IS EXCITING ABOUT YOUR CAREER AND WORK RIGHT NOW. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU?
I am most excited about Anthrox Studio, the creative partnership I recently formed with Roxie Vizcarra. She and I have established a working relationship over our many shared years at Rockstar Games. Since starting our own company, we have been very fortunate to find ourselves being taken in completely new creative directions while being our own bosses. We recently directed a 3D animated music video for the UK band, Black Midi, and will be submitting it to animation festivals this year. It was scary to strike out on our own after spending so many years hiding behind the curtain of a corporate video game studio. But so far, we seem to be finding trust and respect from new clients who want us to apply our combined experience to new kinds of projects in and outside the video game industry.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB AS AN ARTIST? WHY?
I love the act of creation. There’s a high that I feel after spending hours on my craft, and then take a step back at the end and look at the finished piece. When times slips away in my studio while I’m creating, it doesn’t feel like work.
PLEASE TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU CHOSE THIS CAREER PATH.
As early as I can remember I wanted to draw and to be an artist. I’ve held many other jobs in my life, and each of them has made me feel like I was an imposter, dressed up in one way or another like an actor on a stage, and deeply uncomfortable in the role. As an artist I can be myself and imbue my spirit into my work. Working in video games happened accidentally. I have always loved games growing up, yet never knew that I would one day help to create them. I landed an interview at Rockstar during a time when the landscape of video game design was presenting new opportunities for artists. Someone threw me the ball, and I just kept running with it.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR DAILY PROFESSIONAL ROUTINE.
Since starting my own company, my daily routine has become quite varied. There’s a steep learning curve when starting a business and I’ve been teaching myself all kinds of new things. Most importantly, how to stay creative on top of my new managerial tasks. I wake up earlier now than I did when I spent all day working in an office. My time feels more valuable to me.
WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH THE ART WORLD AND WHERE DO YOU THINK IT’S HEADING?
Areas where art and technology meet are the most interesting to me right now. Interactivity and augmented reality hold so much potential for communication and storytelling. These technologies are becoming more accessible to artists and to their audiences and I expect to see some very new and exciting things happening in the next few years
COULD YOU GIVE ANY ADVICE TO YOUNG ASPIRING ARTISTS?
Learn everything and practice constantly. If you are prepared, then you will be able to seize opportunities when they present themselves. Talent counts for some, but hard work counts for more.