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 have lived in several countries across Europe, and have moved progressively further away from the city. I now find myself living in the Austrian Alps.
2. Tell us about your background?
I was quite artistic at school, enjoying black and white pencil portraiture and architectural design the most, whilst still finding it fun experimenting with different media and themes. I was expected to follow an art-based career, but I always felt that having to create on demand would strip away the enjoyment of something that I felt was a form of expression and quite personal. Instead, I went down the science route and art has retained its magic.
3. What inspires your work?
I was raised in a dual nationality family who had travelled. This means quite diverse stimuli and visual references. The diverse input continued when I moved abroad for my studies, as my multicultural circle of friends provided further visual fodder from their home countries. And, over the last 10 years I have been privileged enough to travel around the world and appreciate the varying aesthetics across the globe.
It is hard to pinpoint what inspires me, but I can definitely attribute the variety in what I create to the assimilation of diverse references over the years.
In terms of my most recent creative endeavors, and the use of mobile phone apps, I am in effect guided by the functions that they offer. Saying that, I seem to have a preference for structure, symmetry, repetition, regularity and order, or, conversely, softness, fluidity, and forms that have a more organic feel. What transpires during a creative session often depends on mood, but more often on luck as I navigate through the app functions, rather than inspiration.
4. What are you currently working on?
Because of the nature of the tools I use, each creative session results in an image, which ends the process. That doesn’t mean that I won’t revisit or rework old images, but it does mean that there is never something that is incomplete or ongoing.
5. Describe your process and what tools you like to use.
I stumbled across the ILIXA android app Mirror Lab a few years ago, whilst looking for a phone app to create kaleidoscopic images with, for fun. To start with, I used photos of flowers as the basis. I then progressed to taking photos of graffiti, passing them through a few other apps and then importing those into Mirror Lab. Seeing other users of the app on Instagram inspired me to experiment a little with its other functions, and this led me to hours of endless fun.
Eventually, I realized that I could create cleaner, crisper outputs by generating the images from scratch within the app. I now start with the ‘generate’ function, and play around with the settings and options, quite often creating a few versions of a particular design before editing further and exploring new possibilities. I will sometimes arrive at an image I am happy with within the first few minutes, but often I find myself lost in the millions of options for a few hours, saving images along the way.
I now also use Glitch Lab, which offers additional functions. I will frequently pass my images from one app to the other, and sometimes even through Photoshop Express and Snapseed for further corrections or effects.
6. What does your workplace or studio look like? Do you work in silence or listen to music while you work?
My ‘studio’ is anywhere I might find myself with spare time and my phone in my hands – buses, trains, planes, waiting rooms, whilst watching TV, before sleep, upon waking up. The accessibility and ease of use of the apps has meant that I have been able to fit art into my busy schedule, and whether I am commuting to work, traveling around the world or quarantined in my flat, I am able to create.
My dream is to one day have a big enough space to have prints of my work adorning studio walls. From being ‘conceived’ on my phone, to coming to life on paper.
Music is an integral part of my life and no day passes without it. However, what I create isn’t affected or assisted by music and I will happily create new images with or without.
7. How has technology shaped your creative vision?
Working long hours gave me very little time to be creative with conventional tools. I still have paints, inks, pens and pencils stored in the basement, but I just don’t have the time or patience for the creative process and the post-creative clean-up. Whilst I am embarrassed to be sucked into the instant gratification that apps allow, they have given me an easily accessible outlet for my creativity – being able to create during my commute to and from work has provided an escapism and has had an incredibly calming, therapeutic effect on me.
I have generally used Facebook to keep in contact with friends around the world, but my posts of attempts at digital art have not been particularly appreciated. I decided to showcase my newfound interest in digital art on Instagram instead, opening it up to a wider audience. This not only allowed me to find like-minded artists and be met by approval, but also be exposed to art from all over the world, both digital and not, both amateur and professional – intricate mandalas, generative artists, niche art, famous creatives, and, people using apps, like myself.
Ultimately, technology has not only provided me with the tools to create art when traditional means would have been far too fussy and time-consuming, but has also allowed me to share, be accepted, and be inspired.
8. Any tips for someone interested in getting started in the digital art form?
The fact that it is so easily accessible, that there are so many programs and apps to choose from, so many functions and options, means endless possibilities and hours of exploration. Perhaps have a go on a few different platforms and find what works for you best, and don’t be afraid to switch or combine platforms. But a warning for those who do venture into digital art: it can be incredibly addictive!
9. Where do you see generative and digital art heading in the future?
No doubt the functions that technology offers will increase and improve, and generative and digital art will provide us with new tools and possibilities, paving new roads and directions for art, but also how we perceive it. The traditional view of an ‘artist’ and ‘art’ is fast being molded into something new, something bigger.
DigitalFruit is curated by Adafruit lead photographer- Andrew Tingle