Alexia Benkaroun: Always at the Top of Her Game

by Joshua Diokno   

Since her early years, Alexia Benkaroun had known that she had wanted to create art. As cliche as it may sound, it had always been a passion for her, driving her to pursue higher education to suffice the desire. This cliche, to Xeno Creatives’ opinion, turned her into one of the sharpest, most promising young budding artists in the digital discipline. Alexia does not tire from her efforts to stay at the top of her game. And while she is aware of her talents and skills, she knows that she has yet to solidify her place in the industry as she understands that she has a lot to learn and plenty of artists to learn from.

When asked about the common challenges that she encounters regularly in her freelance work, Alexia had this to say:

…for me, it’s to not lose quality work and to always be aware of the evolution of techniques of modeling and sculpting. Things tend to go fast; we can quickly fall behind.

Alexia recognizes the need to keep herself abreast with all the developments of the industry, tirelessly pursuing techniques and methods to better herself.

Let’s get to know Alexia in this short feature and see how artists of her caliber invent themselves.

Xeno Creatives (XC): We understand that with just about any craft, the passion takes precedence. In your case, how did it start becoming a passion? Would we be right in assuming that you consider it a “calling” as a lot of your contemporaries do?

Alexia Benkaroun (AB): Looking back at my childhood, I have always felt the desire to draw, create and dream. It was around 13 years old when I started to wonder about what I really wanted to do. Would I become a saleswoman? A veterinary? A lawyer?

None of them apparently. I knew I wanted to turn my passion into my job. So I studied Visual Communication for 3 years during which I did many internships, and that opened my eyes to the fact it was certainly not a job for me. I wasn’t fully satisfied because I wanted to do 3D art and see my drawings come to life.

So it was quite natural that I went to a school that teaches Game Art and VFX.

I have no regrets. My 5 years of intense and sometimes difficult training served me well. I liked it so much that I told myself “that’s what I want to do; that’s the place where I want to be!” And to this day, I thank my family for all the support they have given me.

I have been a freelancer for a year now and I still have this desire to learn more. And yes, despite the path being full of obstacles, I have developed an attachment to this job that I consider a real vocation.

XC: Was there ever an art piece (digital or otherwise) or artist who served as a catalyst for your involvement in the craft? When did you get involved fully in the 3D industry?

AB: Yes! I really love cinema and when I was young, I always had stars in my eyes when I went to my grandparents when they let me choose DVDs of movies that they would let me watch. I rummaged through Star Wars, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Matrix, Back to the Future, and so on. I could watch them 2 or 3 times in a row without getting tired of them. Now that I’m all grown up, I still admire all the quality work and time that went into producing these movies provided. They imbued in me this determination and desire to produce more and more projects.

I also really love music. I love listening to Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Steve Jablonsky, and Howard Shore during my work sessions. Music calms me and increases my production rate.

One of the art pieces that drove me to the world of video games is clearly “The Last Of Us” which is, in my opinion, referenced a lot in the game development industry.

Recently, I looked at the stylized works following my student project led to my discovery of several artists such as Gabriel Soares, Nicolas Saviori, and more.

I fully devoted myself to the 3D discipline at the beginning of my studies at New3dge (2015). Now, I feel all the more involved with 3D being my job.

XC: Now that you’re an active part of the industry, would you say you have pegged a solid place in it?

AB: Oh, certainly not! With 1 year’s worth of freelance activity, I became privy to the fact that I still have a lot to learn and go through. There are so many great artists who continually post beautiful works. The 3D industry is in constant evolution and there is always something to learn, whether with new technologies or with various requirements. Regardless if you are a junior or a senior, it’s your ability to adapt that will allow you to carve your place in this industry.

XC: How does your day look like in production?

AB: Nothing special. As a freelancer I work day-to-day on projects I have chosen and that I appreciate. I then organize my pipeline in accordance with the deadlines. I end the day with a good gaming session in my pajamas. 😊

XC: What are the common challenges that a 3D artist like you encounters daily in a project?

AB: I don’t know for the others, but for me, it’s to not lose quality work and to always be aware of the evolution of techniques of modeling and sculpting. Things tend to go fast; we can quickly fall behind.

There are so many artists who set the bar high! So I always try to go with the flow; to be informed and attentive so that I can produce more and more qualitative work. 😉

XC: Your works online are really impressive. You have a knack for detail. Do you have favorite pieces? If so, why are these your favorites? Also, what would you consider your biggest or most exciting project to date?

AB: Thank you very much! 😊

Honestly? I think I’m a perfectionist and a perpetually dissatisfied artist.

I believe that each project I’ve been able to execute could be polished even more.

I also think that none of my works is really finished as I would always find something to change or perfect.

But if I have to choose a project that I liked the most, it would be “DripperZ League”, my graduation project at New3dge. This is because it’s the one I had the most fun with. Working with a team of 4 talented girls (Peach Factory was our team name) allowed me to learn more about how to produce, share, and work as a team.

It was a beautiful adventure that lasted for more than a year! Thank you, girls!

And my most important and exciting project, I believe, is certainly yet to come! 😉

XC: If you were to market yourself what would you highlight as your edge?

AB: I would say that I’m quite flexible and not limited to a particular artistic style. I am determined to push myself further and am always motivated to learn more.

XC: If you weren’t a 3D artist today, what would you be working as?

AB: I really don’t think about it. I wanted to follow my desires and listen to myself and it was clear to me that I was going towards what I loved which is of course, art. So I would say that I might have been a 2D artist or a painter, do manual sculpture, or even comics. My intention to express myself through art has always been there!

XC: What is your message to other artists in these challenging times?

AB: Don’t be the child who stays at the top of the slide; you have to slide and jump.

Try to be creative and be open to new things, failure is not fatal, it’s the courage to continue that counts!

May the force be with you! 😊

Want to see more of Ms. Alexia Benkaroun’s awesome works? You may visit her Facebook and ArtStation accounts.

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