DigitalFruit is an interview series from Adafruit showcasing some of our favorite digital fine artists from around the world. As we begin this new decade with its rapidly changing landscape, we must envision our path through a different lens. Over the next few weeks we’ll feature many innovative perspectives and techniques that will inspire our maker community to construct a bold creative frontier. The only way is forward.
1. Where are you based?
I am based in Selangor, Malaysia. Next to the city of Kuala Lumpur. But I think I’m moving back to my hometown soon.
2. Tell us about your background?
I’m wearing many hats. I was educated in accountancy, but after graduating I started a small agricultural farm planting jackfruits. While doing that, I taught myself web design and development to sustain my start-up business. Apart from that, I’m also doing bookkeeping for my family business. After a few years doing the farm, I started doing soap bubble art as a hobby. Eventually, it became my profession as a soap bubble artist, that’s what most people know me as. I started doing digital visual arts 3 years ago as another past time. I’ve been in love with art since I was a kid, but time and constraints put me in different paths in different stages of my life.
3. What inspires your work?
Nature and physics. As a soap bubble artist, it always surprises me how beautiful the colorful iridescent patterns on the soap film are, even after years of working with the medium. Later on, I found out that they are a form of fractal pattern that can be found almost anywhere in nature. That became my inspiration to make digital fractal arts.
4. What are you currently working on?
Currently I’m working on building up my digital assets to be compiled into high quality VJ loops. I’m also looking for collaborations for making music videos using my visuals. Last year I had a vision to incorporate my visual arts into live theater, but due to this pandemic, I have to put a few things on hold.
5. Describe your process and what tools you like to use.
I’m using Mandelbulber software to make the 3D fractal visuals. It has a number of interesting fractal formulas to be tweaked with.Usually, I will start with one formula and explore the shapes in different iterations. Then, I will combine it with another formula and find the right balance of complexity. It has thousands of parameters that can produce infinite amounts of shapes, anything that catches my eye in the process will be selected for further explorations. Once I’m satisfied with the shape, I’ll start working on the composition, lighting and other effects. Once rendered, I will do some post processing in After Effects. Sometimes I get weird dreams, using my memory I try to visualize them in the software. I use the color picker a lot as I’m color blind.
6. What does your workplace or studio look like? Do you work in silence or listen to music while you work?
Everything is mostly done in the comfort of my bedroom. To describe my bedroom, it’s a mess with many bubble toys and equipment. I usually work while listening to music, and I have a pretty good speaker. I love music- I put it on pretty much 24/7. In fact, I also play classical guitar and make electronic music for fun. It feels nice to work while listening to your tunes. Once in a while, I will work in silence. When you’re bored, interesting ideas start to pop out of nowhere.
7. How has technology shaped your creative vision?
Back in the days, 3D visuals like this could only be done by big studios with machines that have high computational power. With the current technology, I can say a decent gaming laptop is enough for anyone to start doing high quality digital art. With the advance of OpenCL technology, GPU’s can be utilized to render visuals very quickly to be compared with CPU. And the quick process helps me to instantly visualize the idea and vision I have in mind.
8. Any tips for someone interested in getting started in the digital art form?
Get a decent gaming PC/laptop with a good GPU, download the software and start experimenting!
9. Where do you see generative and digital art heading in the future?
In the future, almost everything will be real time rendering. Generative and digital art will be instantly responsive to real world input. Complex data will be easy to understand with efficient visualization, and will be used for day to day decision making, not just to show the beauty of the art. What we call abstract art today, will convey useful and meaningful interpretations in the future.