Artist Profile: Walter Volbers

Walter Volbers is part of the first generation of 3D-animators in Germany and has been an integral member of the FIFTYEIGHT 3D team for many years.
If you’ve enjoyed his work for the 58 ARTBANG project, make sure to read this profile.
58 A: You are one of Germany’s first 3D-artists. Are you still enjoying it?

Walter Volbers: Funny enough, but it still remains interesting, even today. I think it’s going to stay that way, as long as the software stays around in the future (Editor’s note: The application in question is Softimage). That’s the only dark cloud right now, with a built-in buzz kill! As far as software and its development is concerned: Of course everything has become more complex, but I still try to remain an “allround” artist, although not necessarily in all areas. That’s what keeps it from getting boring.

58A: What do you like about abstract computer animation?

Walter Volbers: For example being able to use pretty colors and materials to create an aesthetic theme on the wall. As opposed to the fact that I like to destroy and break things in my 3D-programming.

58A: Did you ever display your images in public or host an exhibition?

Walter Volbers: Yes and no. I successfully earned appreciation in some 3D-forums, but other than that, my stuff remained in the drawer. I gravitate towards moving images, so in my free time I like to create 3D short films. The last one proved pretty exhausting and time-intensive. Maybe that’s why I discovered how manageable abstract computer animation is. The only thing that’s still really time-consuming is rendering the images at these kinds of print resolutions (Editor’s note: Total two days rendering time on 7(!) computers.).

58A: You’re also known to like taking photographs of special places. What kinds of places?

Walter Volbers: Those were all "Lost Places". That was a really intriguing thing. And it sure was a bit of an adventure, allowing me to discover beautiful objects. This can easily lead to life-threatening situations, especially if you happen to be alone with your phone caught in a no-service area. But I really subscribe to the motto, “No risk – no fun!”

58A: There seems to be a certain tranquility in these places. Does that have a calming effect on you?

Walter Volbers: Well, honestly the whole thing has never really been fully relaxed. It actually tends to be too quiet in these locations, and if you end up hearing a noise from somewhere, you tense up again right away. Or if you’re spotted by security or some overeager right-wing military sports club, or have an encounter with a homeless person. What really convinced me to leave the whole thing alone in the end was a confrontation with junk thieves.

58A: What happened?

Walter Volbers: Ultimately, nothing, but the whole vibe was really strange. That could have really backfired. Junk thieves, no cellphone coverage, and me by myself with a camera, and a good one on top of that.

58A: How would you imagine everyday life without a computer (smartphones would be okay)?

Walter Volbers: As a deserted, high-water proof island with excellent cooking.

58A: True or false: Humans are one of nature’s great inventions?

Walter Volbers: That’s right! And we are still waiting on a grand invention that’s not related to 42! (Editor’s note: Check out Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.) It would be great if everybody could live like everybody else.

58A: What do you wish for?

Walter Volbers: The usual stuff: a long and independent life for all.

58A: Let’s talk about material things: What will be your next big purchase?

Walter Volbers: I’m pretty convinced it will be an HD flat screen. But I happen to have bought a high-end TV from a quality brand when the whole tubular TV technology reached its peak in terms of resolution in the last century. So as long as that one doesn’t implode, there won’t be a new one going up on my wall.

58A: Mister Volbers, it's been a delight talking to you.

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