"What do you want to do?" the recruiter asked Rembert. His animation reel was contaminated with various different styles. His sketchbook went from classical inspired paintings to american comic book sketches, from caricatures to real life studies and architectural drawings.
"Everything! I like everything," he replied, stating the obvious.
"But what if I put a gun to your head and asked you to choose one thing?" the recruiter insisted.
"I can’t choose."
Recruiter after recruiter, Rembert seemed to be getting the same response: "You’re very talented, but sorry, we’re looking for specific people in this industry."
But Rembert wasn’t the usual Jack of all trades and master of none. On the contrary, he seemed to be a master of all. However, no matter how impressed people were by looking at his portfolio, they were still not willing to hire him. There was too much going on.
It was 2016 and Rembert had pulled a puppy face on THU’s staff in order to get a last minute place in recruitment. He had been too busy working at an animation studio in Zagreb that he’d missed the deadline for applying. It was his third THU Main Event and he’d previously attended four Gatherings. As a veteran Tribe member, he got his way, but all efforts seemed to prove futile.
His friends had suggested he do some fan art for the companies he wanted to work for, but he was stubborn.
"I was just doing what I love," he says. "Artists often use 3D and photos because that’s what the industry wants, and it’s ok, but I’m a little more romantic. I was painting and drawing."
And how could he not be? Rembert’s mom was a jewelry designer and his grandma was a painter. After school he used to sit in the gallery his mom worked in and sketch the paintings. It was only a way to kill time, but slowly it became his passion.
In school he liked to think of himself as a "ninja artist".
"I used to put my work up on the walls and then disappear," he remembers. "I used to tell people I wasn’t in school to make friends."
Rembert used to think it was interesting to be this person. He didn’t mean to be arrogant, but he thought that professional artists were antisocial people who work really hard all the time. Then he went to his first THU.
"At THU all my idols were so open!" he says. "I don’t think I could’ve met them so casually anywhere else. Many events invite internet-famous artists, but THU brings you Brenda Chapman, Eric Goldberg or people like Ryan Woodward, who has no internet presence but is a legend. Also, at THU everyone talks to everyone. The speakers are really part of the event and mix with the attendees. You can and are encouraged to go up to anyone and ask anything!"
Rembert got to chat with Michael Kutsche and get drunk with Paul Briggs. When he went back to Belgium, he started being more friendly. He still worked a lot but he would also go out and enjoy. His personality changed completely. He became helpful and talkative and realized you can give people feedback on their work without being an asshole.
"Maybe I used to be antisocial as a shield because I was insecure," he reflects. And then he adds laughing, "I mean, I’m still insecure, but now I talk to people about how insecure I am!"
It was this new found self-confidence that gave him the push to chat to Kenny Carvalho from Riot Games. It was much after befriending him, that Rembert finally showed him his portfolio. Kenny immediately called Ryan Woodward, who was a speaker at THU that year and one of Rembert’s all-time favorite artists, and they both looked through everything, the sketchbook, animation reel, painting portfolio...
Rembert felt like he had to justify himself, and warned them, "I know it’s all in different styles and I shouldn’t generalize..." He had let all his critics get to him, but Ryan and Kenny didn’t care. Ryan told him to send them his portfolio once THU ended. That’s exactly what Rembert did! He went back to Zagreb and sent Ryan everything. He heard back instantly.
Now he’s working for Riot Games, a place that truly values his talent and art. "My favorite guitarist Alan Holdsworth always says that there’s no need to advertise yourself. Other people do that when they like your work."