FICARQ IV edition, interview with John Bell

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Interviewed by
Leonor Martín - METALOCUS
Special thanks to
Festival of Cinema and Architecture (FICARQ) IV edition, Santander, Spain.


John Bell has had an extensive and diverse artistic career. His work has contributed to some of the most significant special effects films made in the last two decades. It is his love of film, design and character development that continue to drive and diversify his career. Upon graduating Art Center College of Design with a B.S. in Transportation Design, John was hired by General Motors to work in their Advanced Concepts Studios in Detroit, MI. In 1982 John returned to California to broaden his skills, working for Atari Games. By1985 John was working in film, joining George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic as an illustrator and Visual Effects Art Director. At ILM, John worked on numerous commercials and films including Star Trek IV, Innerspace, Tucker, The Rocketeer and Back to the Future II & III, where John was nominated for an Academy Award and won a British Academy Award. By 1990 John was Co Creative Director of ILM’s Art Department.

In 1991 John was hired as Art Director for Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. At the conclusion of Jurassic Park, John left the film world, taking a role of Senior Designer at Nike’s World Campus in Portland, OR. designing everything from footwear and graphics to developing new brand concepts.
1994 John Returned to California, and his love of entertainment, to work successfully as a freelance artist. John contributed to numerous feature films including Men in Black, Mission Impossible, Star Wars-The Phantom Menace, Jurassic Park- The Lost World, Contact and Starship Troopers.
In 1996 John was hired as Production Designer for Dreamworks first computer animated feature, Antz. Following Antz, John continued working on films such as AI-Artificial Intellegence, Polar Express, Cars as well as working with clients BMW, Sony Imageworks.
Electronic Arts hired John in 2001 as Senior Art Director at their World Headquarters in Redwood Shores,CA., working on the successful titles, Freekstyle, and The Simpsons. John was also awarded one of EA’s ‘Most Inspirational’ employees. 
In 2008 John was thrilled to land back at ILM, where he was Supervising Art Director for Rango which won numerous awards, including the Academy Award. John personally won a VES Award for his role on the film.
In 2012 a new opportunity presented itself, which has brought John back to Dreamworks once again as a Production Designer.
2014 has John looking for the next creative opportunity that will allow him to engage his experience and skills as Conceptual Designer and Production Design.

Throughout his career, John has also made time to pursue his own art. Showing in galleries in the U.S. and abroad, featured on the cover of Juxtapoz magazine, as well as being profiled in numerous magazines has brought more attention to John’s talents. John is currently merchandising a line of products that combine his love of cars, characters and retro pop culture.




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