EXCLUSIVE: An Interview with Pundus

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As Picard Season 3 airs, there’s been a lot of new artwork and ship designs on screen. We’ve been incredibly lucky at Obsidian Fleet to be able to interview some of the artists who’ve been able to make a contribution to Picard or play a prominent role in modern Trek art. Over the next few weeks, get to know these artists, their work, their feelings about being involved in the production of Picard and their future.

The Titan-A and Titan together: Artwork by John Eaves, modelled by Pundus. Courtesy of Dave Blass Twitter

This is Xerix with Obsidian Fleet. Today I’m honored to be interviewing Keene Sin, AKA “Pundus”, a 21 year old VFX Artist and 3D modeler from Singapore. 

XERIX: Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview, Pundus. Let’s get right into it. How long have you been a fan of Star Trek? 

Pundus: A long time! I used to watch reruns as a kid, on the Sci-Fi channel before their goofy name change to SyFy. I was about, 8 years old or so I think? The first episode I distinctly recall watching was “The Most Toys” from TNG.

XERIX: And when did you begin doing digital art and ship modeling? 

Pundus: I first dabbled in it when I was about 12-13 years old. Slightly embarrassingly enough, I started with making ships in Roblox at the time, and moved on to Blender and more professional software when I got older.

XERIX: Do you have a favorite ship and/or ship class? 

Pundus: I’ve always like the oddballs of the fleet. I love the Oberth and Steamrunner classes. Besides those, when I was watching those reruns as a kid, I’d end up scouring Ex Astris Scientia for all the details once I reached The Best of Both Worlds, and I liked the Niagara-Class kitbash from that.

XERIX: What about a favorite Captain? 

Pundus: Picard! I grew up with him and he formed the basis for most of my beliefs, morals and ethics.

XERIX: You recently worked with some very prominent folks associated with Star Trek: Picard. Can you tell us who they are and what that experience was like? 

Pundus: Dave Blass is fantastic and I owe him the world for giving me this opportunity. He is great to work with; friendly, supportive, and gave fantastic feedback on how to improve my work. There’s more I worked on that isn’t public yet so I can’t go into too much detail, but Doug Drexler was also accommodating and great to work with! Pretty much everyone I interacted with on the production, however brief, was fantastic.

XERIX: Many of us have discussed the lore behind the Titan-A. It’s quite unusual for a ship to receive such a radical makeover during a refit. Do you have any ideas about the reasoning behind this?

Pundus: I think from a practical storytelling perspective you need both something new (even if it is laden in nostalgia) while being able to reference Riker’s time on the Titan. And I agree, a full change of the spaceframe into something so different hasn’t been a precedent before. I know other viewers of the show find it a bit weird, but I think Dave’s reasoning behind it is solid. And I worked on the concept piece of it, so I can’t help but love it!

XERIX: As of the writing of this interview, Star Trek: Picard is nearing the end of its final season. Do you have any guesses on what the future holds for this beloved franchise? 

Pundus: Picard is great, hopefully more of my work will see public eyes by the end of the season! But I hope the franchise has a prosperous golden age. I love Star Trek, and I want more of it! And to work on it again!

XERIX: And tell us about your process. How do you create such beautiful works?

Pundus: Thank you! It varies from artwork to artwork. Honestly, a fair bit of it has also become innate as I’ve been making Star Trek fanart for a while, and because I went to art school. The technical things, like lighting and framing, comes naturally to me. Beyond that, for the Titan concept I did, it boiled down to trial and error. Initially, I had the two ships in separate docks. Dave asked me to make it a single dock. So I made the changes and explored a few other changes to see if he liked it. Repeat until we were both happy! Working with Dave was great in that regard, as he gave me mostly free reign to be creative and experiment and fantastic feedback.

For working with the Star Trek Online developers on Ex Astris, the tie-in animated series with Spacedock, I made storyboards and thumbnails for the animations. Thomas Marrone also let me have free reign there, and it was very rewarding work as a result!

XERIX: Finally, tell us about your own future plans, if you would. Do you hope to become the next Probert or Eaves?

Pundus: Haha, probably not Probert or Eaves. I’m not really a designer myself, I just love taking things others have built and making them pretty! Maybe more of the next Robert Bonchune or Adam Lebowitz, though! (VFX and CG artists throughout the old 90s Trek shows.)

XERIX: Thank you again for this opportunity to get to know you. We look forward to seeing what you have in store for us! 

Pundus: Thank you for the interview! Readers can find me most actively interacting with other trekkies on my Twitter, https://twitter.com/_Pundus_, and they can find more of my fan artwork at https://www.deviantart.com/pundus