My brother and co-founder of Team Rolfes, Andy Rolfes
, and I started out as painters and illustrators, working in oil paint and watercolor, although since childhood we’d experimented in early crude Flash animations, tacky signature images for gaming forums, and music event posters. Our mother ran a 3D studio for several years, but despite having huge books explaining Blender, 3DS Max, etc. laying around our home in Texas, neither of us really got too deep into it, because the medium felt really sterile and boring - complex line drawings with dots all over that you had to know some kind of arcane science to move around, when I just wanted to make a cool looking spaceship.
Even though it’s removed by several layers of abstraction at this point, both of us still approach our current digital practice through the lens of painting; everything from the way we sculpt our 3D characters and environments, set designing in VR by roughing out a clay mockup of the performance space, to the focus on live performance, is derived from our decade plus of semi-expressionist painting, responding to the image developing on the surface and letting the narrative take shape organically. My painting mentor, Wesley Kimler
, works in an almost identical way even though I’m fully digital and his 20 foot plus oil paintings are very much physical.