We sat down with Rachid Lotf, an Photoshop illustrator synonymous with a hyperreal nostalgic style that never ends to bring a smile to his followers (Instagram @rachidlotf) – Since Rachid is based in Agedia, Morocco – we didn’t physically sit down, instead we conversed through the warm glow of an CRT monitor, a highly customised AOL messenger window and a new technology called ‘the internet’.
RAchid, Why do you think your followers resonate so strongly with your artwork?
I think the theme I’m working on is the main reason for this. Being a player who grew up in the 80s and 90s, we all played almost the same video games and we have the same memories, so I just have to say how I struggled to pass the first level of “Ecco the dolphin” on Sega Megadrive and many people will understand me because everyone who played this game knows how difficult it was.
The style I draw is not something you can see everywhere, there are only a few artists who draw the rooms and the environment in general while the majority prefer to draw characters like monsters and robots thinking it’s much more cool.
You’re clearly a gamer, What’s your favourite gaming platform?
For me, there isn’t a best platform. I honestly like all console manufacturers, but if I have to choose one I’d go with the one I spent the most time with: the Super Nintendo. I think if I would have had a Sega Megadrive, I would have said that instead.
What made you specialise in digital compositionS?
When I was in high school, I drew and painted only on paper, I mainly drew manga characters. It was when I started playing Mirrors Edge that I fell in love with architecture and interior design.
I found that the atmosphere, the aesthetic, the level design and the music of the solar field so amazing and that really touched me. I ended up playing through the game 25+ times. I was so inspired that after this, I decided I wanted to become environment artist and interior designer.
Your work captures a hyperreal interpretation of the memory of a place that vividly depicts gaming culture of the time. how do you go about achieving that?
I only use my imagination, and I try to remember the situation of my childhood and bring it to life through my creations.
The feeling everyone gets when they see your work is nostalgic, is this something you’re always aiming for?
I was born in 1984.
Those who are my age or older, know that from the age of thirty you become much more nostalgic about your childhood. I will make art from moments of our childhood but I would also make art on new consoles or video games.
I have many ideas in my head that I’m willing to create that go beyond reality.
Your works often feature an overwhelming array of objects, is this a reflection of your real life? Are you a big collector of video games?
I’m not really a collector but I do buy each console to play their exclusive titles. I have a PS4 for its exclusive games, the Switch and the Xbox One. When a game does come out on all platforms I play on my PC to have it running on of ultra settings with the highest framerate.
You are currently based in Agadir, Morocco. How is your art influenced by the lifestyle around you?
I think some of my artworks are inspired by my hometown, but the fact that I am a gamer is what most influences my creations.
What kind of process is involved?
In the whole process I use 3D objects, photos and painting.
3D objects allow me to have the elements in the room with the right proportions, photos are for games covers posters and painting is to mix, modify or edit a specific element.
I mainly use Light wave 3D and Photoshop to create my artworks.
What is your favourite work from your collection?
This creation is my favourite:
Tell us about why that’s your favourite?
I like the composition and the fact that the boy finished the game with the arrival of his angry mother that we don’t necessarily see at the first glance. I like to tell little stories with my creations and I think each of us has experienced this situation at least once.
Who are other artists you really enjoy seeing new work from?
Joe Madureira (MAD!) the Darksiders designer is my favourite; I always liked his style and his way of colouring his line.
Joe remains one of the best artists for me.
Find Rachid Lotf online
Rachid Lotf posts his works regularly to instagram (@rachidlotf), you absolutely need to explore the vast depth of nostalgia. Rachid also sells his artworks, they’re available to buy directly from his website.