Inside the cave – Revisiting the painting

Last week I was able to make a video render of the digital model from my landscape #13 piece. As a final touch, I added a soundtrack by Wagner called “Die Walküre”, I selected this musical background because I wanted to make a connection to a piece called “Der Riese”, a video made by artist Michael Klier. In this piece, Michael used the footage from an airport’s surveillance camera and by adding the sound, he created a narrative that was not meant to exist in the original material.

I am quite pleased with the end result. As a painter, it is quite interesting to me to be able to explore a piece from within and I feel this is really changing and expanding my approach to painting and sculpting and now I am trying to reflect on all the things I am subverting within my practice.

The active viewer

By escaping flatness, the image folds and grows on itself, so the gaze of the viewer is challenged by not being able to see everything from a set point of view, at this point, I am aware that not every viewer feels comfortable about this challenge but I also know that this opens a whole bunch of possibilities for the viewer to interact with the piece.

The evolving image

Painting sometimes becomes boring, I have to say that more than one time in the past, I have felt that the piece I was working on, became so familiar, that working on it was as enjoyable as brushing my teeth. Since I started working on 3D paintings, especially on the standalone ones, I feel that I am constantly challenged by them, not only from a technical point of view but also from a perceptual point of view, and I feel that, by not being able to see all the image at once, it keeps changing.

Shaping accident

Although I knew that using a sculpture as a canvas was a way to challenge my practice as I needed to constantly adapt due to changes in light and terrain, I was not able to imagine how the piece would actually look from within, I guess I was not aware of how it might actually mutate once I added the artificial lighting, changed the scale and added a floating point of view. Another thing I also discovered is that I could potentially intervene bot

Controlling the gaze

By using a camera that runs through a path, and then rendering a video, I am partially controlling the way the piece is looked at. Of course, one could argue that the viewer is now looking at a video rather than looking at a painting, however, I think that by being confronted with the physical sculpture, both elements become strongly bonded inside the viewer’s mind.

In the VR piece, more control is given to the viewer as he/her is able to move his/her head in any desired direction, however, I still have control over the path that the viewer is following.

Seeing with rhythm

For many years I wanted to add sound to my pieces, although I am not creating it at the moment, I am quite pleased to use this magnificent soundtrack, I believe that this adds a new layer to the piece and allows me to increase the dramatic effect obtained with the flashlight-like lighting.

Things to try in the future

  • Make an early 3D model or even playing with the concept of two different layers of paint, one will only be visible from within and the other one will be only visible from outside.
  • Create restricted access areas, forcing the viewer to look from a distance or even prevent him/her from seeing some parts from within or outside the piece.
  • Plan how the camera could potentially move following different paths.

Self-portrait#4 – Expanding the image

I Spent almost 3 weeks working really hard on this piece for the interim show, I have to say that I did learn a lot as I did try to push the limits of my technique, I feel that I really did sculpt this piece rather than just cut out pieces.

With this piece I want to push the limits of the flat image, expanding it and bending it to unleash its representative potential. Basically I am trying to create a self portrait that looks back creating a loop around the represented subject.

self-portrait-4-expanding-the-image5

self-portrait-4-expanding-the-image1

self-portrait-4-expanding-the-image2

self-portrait-4-expanding-the-image3

self-portrait-4-expanding-the-image4

Right now, I feel that I should do more pieces with subjects to find new ways to compose them inside the 3D space.

Landscape #9 – Challenging perspective systems

After almost 3 months I was able to finish this piece, It was a big challenge for me for many reasons, I think that I did face my biggest fear towards painting i.e. sculpting the canvas.  At the end I feel I did learn a lot from making this piece.
landscape-9-challenging-perspective-systems3

landscape-9-challenging-perspective-systems1

landscape-9-challenging-perspective-systems2

At the moment I feel that I need to keep taking more risks while enjoying this new sculptural adventure.

Landscape on a Black Square – Process as part of the piece

This week I am part of an exhibition called “Everyone should paint a black square at least once in their life”, I is on display at Raum Gallery. It is very interesting to see how 14 people approach this theme from so many different perspectives.

I have to say that this was a quite interesting experiment for me as I wasn’t sure about what I wanted to make just hours before the deadline. At the end I delivered a piece that evolved onto the most unexpected thing as I ended up doing a drawing/text piece.

The day before that I made a drawing of a landscape inside an black square using a fairly complicated process. I did record the whole process as I thought it would present it next to the piece, On the day of the opening and having a chat with Anthi and Donald, I ended up writing a text that became a significant part of the piece.

LandscapeBlackSquare1 LandscapeBlackSquare2

The process (text)

  1. A Preview was used to open a .jpg file made from a screen capture of a environment created using a .fbx file made from a .svg file generated from a .jpg file built from a .cr2 file of a Black Square drawn over a white sheet of paper from a black notebook.
  2. A Blender was used to import a .svg file made from a .jpg file built from a .cr2 file of a Black Square drawn over a white sheet of paper from a black notebook. A curve was converted into a mesh and then it was extruded on a “Z” axis, afterwards it was exported as a .fbx
  3. A Photoshop was used to open a .cr2 file of a Black Square drawn over a white sheet of paper from a black notebook.. It was developed and it and saved as a .jpg
  4. A black marker was used to draw a Black Square over a white sheet of paper from a black notebook.
  5. A camera was used to make a .cr2 file of a Black Square drawn over a white sheet of paper from a black notebook.
  6. A Illustrator was used to open a .jpg file built from a .cr2 file of a Black Square drawn over a white sheet of paper from a black notebook. It was converted into a vector shape and exported it as a .svg
  7. A Unity was used to import a .fbx file created from a .svg file made from a .jpg file built from a .cr2 file of a Black Square drawn over a white sheet of paper from a black notebook. It was placed on a plane and scaled up until it looked huge, then, a prefab character was placed inside and used to walk around to test all. Some mountains and trees were added and it was tested again. A prefab character was used to find a perfect spot, then, cmnd+shift+3 were pressed to create a .jpg file from a screen capture.
  8. A black pen was used to draw a landscape inside a black square that was drawn over a white sheet of paper from a black notebook using a black marker. It was a landscape from a .jpg file made from a screen capture of a 3D environment generated using a .fbx file created from a .svg file that was made from a .jpg file built from a .cr2 file of a Black Square drawn over a white sheet of paper from a black notebook.

The process

LandscapeBlackSquare3

Finding the right spot

I did Run the Unity file and walked around the space util I found the perfect spot to make my drawing.

My reflections

I had the intention to ad text as part of my pieces, this exercise has given me some ideas to use it in the future, It was fun to remove my self from the text and make it as a vague instructional document.

I thing I will keep on looking for new ways to reflect about my process.

 

Make it look like an accident

It’s been a while since I started reflecting about accidents and how they shape our existence. I am aware that my brain spends lots of energy just to mantain the illusion of an ordered reality and therefor, prevent me from going mad.

Although it is natural for us to stay captivated by this fabricated state of mind, it is fairly easy to unveil parts of the chaotic and unpredictable ways of “real reality”. After all, our brain basically blocks huge chunks of data coming through our senses while keeping attention on thoughts.

Today I was going back on my research, reflecting on the paths I took before developing a particular idea that I am exploring at the moment, as I was drawing a mental map,  it was easy to realize that there were a lot of small accidents that influenced my mind to follow an specific direction; a photograph I took of a particular person that was standing on the train station, a sentence I read on a particular poster while I was going to the Uni. Although it may seem that I am talking about chance, I want to go further by exploring the idea of provoking accidents as a part of active research.

MakeItLookLikeAnAccident1

By now I realize that my creative practice is modulated by a higher body that prevents my self from engaging in spontaneous actions that might end up in more interesting and unknown places. On one hand, I know I need a rational structure to support my actions in order to perform well. On the other hand, I have found that in some parts of the process I am able to give up a rational approach by consciously blocking my thoughts and letting my guts lead the way.

For this piece of a landscape, I created a 3D digital model that was meant to be made physical, however I had many difficulties trying to create a big sized 3D representation of it, so I ended up deciding to go for an experimental model sculpting, at the end, I had to adapt and work in a surface that was pretty unique and also different from the original sketch.

MakeItLookLikeAnAccident2

In the present, I am still working on this piece, but the accidental approach helped me to gain confidence and I feel that soon I will start to do more work without being so dependent on 3D printing means.

Reflection

I definitely believe that accidents might help develop ones practice in interesting directions and I feel that those new paths might go really close to one’s true expression.

Sculpting the image – Digital to Physical

I have to confess that since I started making 3D models, I had this fixed idea about the process needed in order to make them become physical objects.  In my mind, I had this idea of accurate materialization, and that is why I was so exited about using a 3D printer.

However, after five months of trial and error experimentation, I’ve decided to give in my need for accurateness in order to overcome my present restrictions. Now I am willing to start sculpting the canvas for my pieces (I do not know if I should call it canvas anymore).

For my next piece I am using a 180 Image I made while visiting Windsor park, I imported it inside blender and extruded it to make a 3D model.

sculpting-the-image-digital-to-physical1

A few days ago I bought a sheet of blue polystyrene foam and went to the 3D workshop to cut it with a hot knife (I have to say that Gillian, the technician, was really helpful). I am planning to make a landscape piece using several cutouts of  .

sculpting-the-image-digital-to-physical4

sculpting-the-image-digital-to-physical3

Before I start to make the model I wanted to test the material so I bought a foam coating and made an experimental piece applying two different coating concentrations.

sculpting-the-image-digital-to-physical5

sculpting-the-image-digital-to-physical6

I did go well and now I am preparing my self to start building the sculpture for the landscape.

 

Hands on matter – Evolving the image

Since the beginning of my painting career, I`ve been interested in the use different materials as a way to expand the representative potential of painting. This is a short review on the most significant landmarks on this active research:

MDF – Slippery paper
2008 – 2010

HandsOnMatter1

Around the year 2009, I started to experiment on this material, I was cheap so it was great for sketch making. One of the first things I learned about it was that it allowed the brush stroke to smoothly cover a bigger distance. This was one important discovery that made me aware of the convenience of smooth surfaces. The biggest downside was that you have to take really good care of it, after all, it is similar to paper.

MACHETE TIME – Shape the painting.
2011

HandsOnMatter2

Around 2011, I was again working over conventional canvas and MDF was almost in the past. Although I used to do a lot of oil painting, Acrylic paint started to attract my attention. At first I used it as the first layer for oil painting but with time, my use for it grew up to the point it replaced oils.

On one point, I wanted to paint over objects, so I made two experiments with oil based painting over milk cans, this gave me a new insight so I started to paint over objects in order to build a relation between the physical shape of the object and the depicted image. I had chosen to paint over Machetes and the final outcome opened a new path for my practice, now it was all about metal, acrylic paint and polyurethane varnish.

POP – Color fields and repetition
2012 – 2013

HandsOnMatter3

At this point I was really excited about using iron plaques and metal objects, I was really into acrylic painting and my motives were evolving more than ever before. I was starting to liberate from fixed photographic images and visual composition became an stimulating adventure. I felt free to experiment so I began by changing the context and the colors inside the piece. The use of patterns set the ground for the use of pixels and for the first time I took the risk of creating my first 3D painting sculptures. The downs side of Iron was that the pieces were to heavy and some of them actually ended up damaged by a combination of gravity and hard floor.

OILY LOVE – Landscape and flesh
2014 – 2015

HandsOnMatter4

I am not sure why, maybe it was the speed of things or the size of my expectations or the way I used to push things, by the beginning of 2014 I was exhausted and with a bitter taste on my mouth. I needed to find the joy that was missing on my brush strokes, I needed to take a deep breath and recover my energy, it was time for oil painting.

Landscapes and Figure were my main source for inspiration. I stayed well away from traditional canvas by using several different materials e.g. Fiberglass with paper collage, synthetic paper and found objects. I started to embrace more elements of the digital aesthetics e.g. pixels, glitches, color aberration, overexposure, bad framing, blurriness.

3D painting – Layers of reality
2015-2016

Around April 2015 I started working on 3D paper models, I was trying to find an affordable and flexible way to create three dimensional models. The use of Blender introduced me to 3D image composition, now I had the opportunity to compose and alter the 3D shape of the image.

Once I started my MA in London, I was able take things further thanks to the use of a 3D printing, this opened things for me because I was no longer limited by the complexity of the shape I wanted to create, or at least, that is what I though.

HandsOnMatter5

After a while, some issues were starting to be a real problem, firstly, 3D printing is a fairly complex process and a lot of things may go wrong (and actually did), secondly, affordable 3D printing has serious size restrictions, finally, 3D printers are delicate equipment and by February 2016 the College’s 3D printer was damaged (and still is). Although I was upset at the beginning, this ended up being an opportunity to take things further both on digital and physical grounds.

Camberwell Roller Coaster – Going VR
March 2016

On March 2016 I made my first site specific VR project, It was a piece that explored the use of 3D software to reflect about the perception of space while expanding the formal elements of Digital Photography. This project also introduced my self into 360 video production.

Landscape extrusion – Modeling and Sculpting
March – April 2016

A month ago I was thinking on how to make bigger 3D physical objects without 3D printing nor 3D paper modeling. My first option was to assemble several MDF laser cut silhouettes. Although it was a pretty interesting process, I ended up on a dead end once I realized that it was going to be a pretty complex task to make it a strong and lightweight piece.

HandsOnMatter6

After awhile, I remembered a talk I had with the technician of the 3D workshop, we talked about several materials and one of them seemed to be suited for my present needs; polystyrene foam sheets. Last week I made a new model from a landscape and now I am modeling the physical piece while reflecting about the different aspects of this new kind of process and how it fits into my practice…

HandsOnMatter7

…and that is why I needed to write this post.

From the Mind to the tip of the brush

In recent times,  I’ve been exploring the 3 dimensional representation of thoughts, I’m exploring the use of 3D objects as canvases, this has led me create a three stage process:

Stage 1

From-the-mind-to-the-tip-of-the-brush

After defining an specific concept for the piece, I start by creating a narrative oriented shape. As I create this shape I try to focus on the different possibilities of the overall shape avoiding going into to much detail, in this stage I also avoid thinking about specific images I want to use.

Stage 2

I use this object´s faces to place images and color in order to compose a “three dimensional image”. Although I keep thinking on the concept I try to let it evolve by not focusing on an specific narrative but only on the formal value of the piece until I reach a point where I feel it is completed. So far, I always print the piece before starting this stage.

Stage 3

From-the-mind-to-the-tip-of-the-brush-1

When I’m satisfied with the sketch I start to paint on the object, so far I’m trying to paint an accurate copy of the images I used for the sketch.

Reflection about Stage 1

Creating 3D shapes as a way to represent concepts is an exciting challenge for me, I can’t explain it but it just feels right, is like giving voice to a part of my brain that is able to do this without giving me a conscious and structured feedback. I’m definitely want to explore this further more.

Reflection about Stage 2

I think that in this stage is like a game in witch I present images to my mind in order for it to arrange them while mixing conscious and less conscious decisions, although I know I’m thinking, I’m not able to fix an specific outcome. Working with both Illustrator and Blender has created an unsuspected additional challenge for the visual composition; on one hand, working with the vector UV map forces me to arrange elements in an order that is dependent on the 3D model, so I have to change into blender in order to see the end result, this is not a direct process and this separation forces me also to work from memory. On the other hand, because of the properties of the 3D environment, my end result is an ever changing 3D image, so maybe my mind switching on and off from consciousness has to do with the fact that my brain recognizes the impossibility to find a fixed narrative, so then I have the opportunity to see the piece as an abstract representation.

Reflection about Stage 3

At the moment I’m trying to control the outcome by doing a faithful painted copy of the digital sketch, I guess this is my way to avoid getting lost or even destroying what I have accomplished in the other stages, and even though this seems logical, I have a feeling I can enrich the final outcome by letting physical expression take its part, for this I want to create bigger canvases to see if I am able to use paint strokes to blend the apparent edges between abstraction and representation.

Walk #2 – 3D canvas

Today I received the canvas for this 3D painting, this is a smaller object so I thing is going to be more challenging to paint over it.

AWTA-2

Reflection:

For this piece I decided to go with the symmetric model because I realised that this kind of shapes are ambiguous, they only look symmetric if you look at them from an specific angle and I think this feature will enable me to play with this tension once I start to paint over it.

Walk #2 – process

Today I started the printing of the second piece of the “a walk through ambiguity” series, It the beginning I had a problem with the printer (operator problem) and I ended up giving birth to a “small canvas alike premature deform piece”.
monster-
Later Matt helped me with the problem and now I have to wait until Monday to stop worrying about the printing process.
AWTA#2-1

Reflection:

Even the 3D printing failures are interesting objects, I guess that it has something to do with the fact that they are unique plastic objects.