Bridging the gap between traditional art disciplines and the high tech digital realm, Daren Ross Dochterman has honed his Conceptual Art and Illustration skills in the volatile Hollywood Motion Picture Industry for nearly 25 years.
Born in1967, raised in suburban New York City, then spending his teenage years in the Chicago area, Dochterman always had a love and aptitude for drawing, but a characteristic dislike of structured classroom instruction. "Art Classes in grade school were tedious for me. Mostly out of the fact that I just wanted to draw and the rest of the class were busy cutting construction paper or slathering papier mache to make another useless napkin holder." As such, much of his early art training took place in other classes, as one could see by examining the margins of his Algebra notebook. He also explored his talents in other arts, as an accomplished Clarinetist and student actor. At an early age, Dochterman realized the nexus of these skills and interests could be found in the movie industry, and he was determined to become part of it.
By the late 70s, Dochterman was enthralled by the fantastic conceptual art of Ron Cobb, Syd Mead, Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston. Soon, he discovered a love for so-called Space Art and the works of Chesley Bonestell, John Berkey, and Robert McCall. He also developed a love for movie poster art, and continues to draw inspiration from the works of Tom Jung, Bob Peak, Richard Amsel, John Alvin, and Drew Struzan. Deeper research also revealed his love for the deft atmospheric graphite work of veteran designers and illustrators Mentor Huebner and George Jensen.
The first time Daren visited the west coast was the day he arrived on the campus of the University of Southern California as a freshman in 1985. He had already applied twice to the prestigious USC School of Cinema-Television, and been rejected once. He began enrolling in all the Film classes he could, subsidizing immense student loans with freelance titles and graphics work he did for student films. Becoming a fixture at the School, he helped run the Post Production Department in his Sophomore year, all the while turned down time and again by the admissions office. After two years of maintaining an undeclared status at the university, and six rejection letters from the Cinema School, Dochterman chose to look for work and set out on his own.
A year of working as a model builder, prop maker, graphic artist and gofer followed giving him much needed professional experience, and a welcome ability to be able to pay rent. Then, a friendship with a fellow USC student led him to working for director James Cameron to help restore full size props and models from the film Aliens. This then led to Daren's entry into the world of movie production with a job as the Assistant to the Art department for Cameron’s ground-breaking film, The Abyss. This baptism gave him the crash course for filmmaking and conceptual artistry as he took on the various roles of sculptor, model builder, draughtsman, graphic artist, and illustrator as the needs arose. He delved into painting, colored pencil, marker illustration, and expanded his love for doing graphite illustrations. Working along-side the great Ron Cobb and forging friendships with artists Steve Burg and Phill Norwood, Dochterman began his apprenticeship and commenced a journey that would continue 25 years later and through over 60 feature films.
Wishing to expand his pallete into the burgeoning world of digital art, Dochterman began learning Photoshop with the earliest versions of the software. In 1990, he added a large, unwieldy computer system to his art kit and began exploring ways of using his traditional art skills in this new medium. Work with Adobe Photoshop expanded to rudimentary 3d renderings and then to fully realized computer modeling and rendering. Dochterman now eagerly integrates sketching, painting, and 3d into a confident realism in his work, while not losing the eye for dramatic composition and rich textures of more traditional art. He is a skilled digital modeler and renderer, who uses Luxology's modo, Lightwave3D, and occasional forays in Maya.
Dochterman's work has been featured (though many times uncredited) in countless making of books and DVDs and three films he has contributed his work to have been nominated for Academy Awards© for Art Direction: The Abyss(1989), Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World(2003) where he got to work with one of his early inspirations, George Jensen. Most recently, he spent two years in development on Steven Spielberg's "Robopocalypse", and has also contributed to "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island", "Real Steel", "Tron: Legacy", and "Iron Man 2".
He has been honored with a Video Premiere Award for his work Supervising the Visual Effects for Robert Wise's Director’s Edition of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. His digital illustrations have been featured in several of the "Star Trek: Ships of the Line" calendars published by Pocket Books. He currently is an instructor at Art Center College of Design teaching Advanced Rendering Techniques, including 3D.