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.

My artist statement – 13-03-2017

I am obsessed with the idea of depicting visual reality in a way that comes closer to how I truly experience it.

I ask myself if visual reality evolves through time and space, why should the image of that reality remain still and flat?

I feel that the depicting potential of the image is undermined by the restrictions imposed by the flat canvas and geometric perspective systems.

I WANT TO SET THE IMAGE FREE TO ACHIEVE ITS FULL DEPICTIVE POTENTIAL

Since I started using digital technologies like 3D modelling software, and Virtual Reality, I realised that, inside these environments, the image becomes malleable matter, a new material full of visual ingredients.

I give shape to this malleable element by exploring the architecture of spatial metaphors e.g. the tunnel, the cave, and the landscape. The end result is a 3-dimensional piece full of visual information. I call it THE META-IMAGE.

Sometimes I leave the META-IMAGE as it is, other times I materialize it through 3D printing and/or sculpture and finish it using traditional media i.e. painting, drawing, and black & white photography.

At the moment, I am also using photogrammetry to build 3D models of the final piece, and then navigate them through Virtual Reality.

Photogrammetry 2.0 – bits and pieces

Since last week, I have been trying to create a 3D model of my latest painted piece; it has been a fun nightmare.

My previous model was quite challenging as it required me to go take more than 400 photographs and required 3 different sources of light to get rid of most of the shadows, however, I only needed to use one side of it so everything worked at the end.

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My new piece is quite different, in order to allow people to navigate it from inside, I have to create a 360 model of it, this sets a bigger challenge for proper lighting and placing on the space.

My first idea was to hang it so a could take photos from all the angles, that did not work because it is impossible to keep it still inside of the studio, apparently, a ghost breeze lives within the room.

Next, I did take lots of images placing the object in three different positions over a plinth, so far I was able to make good enough models from three chunks of the original piece, now I have to figure out how to stitch them.

My reflection:

I think that this “chunk” process might be the best way to go, although it is a bit annoying to put the pieces back together, this workflow might allow me to create bigger and complex pieces without worrying too much about RAM processing limits and might be a modular approach for model handling.

Tate Exchange – giving and receiving

Last Wednesday I participated in the second session at the Tate Modern, It was a very good experience as I managed to present my work to several people and even engaged some interesting conversations, I also got some good feedback from people that do have a genuine interest towards painting.

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My reflection:

Thanks to this experience I do know that my piece is not for everyone, while some people really spend time teleporting themselves and watching carefully, others are expecting to play a game and quit my piece after a short period of time. I am aware that this is partly because the audience of the Tate Exchange is quite broad and with a huge variety of expectations.

When reflecting on how the whole thing is displayed i.e. physical object, VR immersion, and flat screen real-time transmission, I feel that I should get rid of the teleporting feature and replace it for a continuous navegation, at the moment, my solution will be to create a path for the Camera Rig and ask the VR player to sit down and move his/her head to look around, I feel that in this way, I will get a smoother experience for both the VR player and the spectators, I will also gain control on how the piece is viewed, in the future I could find a way to allow the VR player to move smoothly around the piece and zoom in and out on specific parts of it.

I want to add that I was quite surprised to see that some really young kids really enjoyed the experience.

 

Ways of seeing – John Berger

   Recently I was accepted on a peer-to-peer event called Pop-up common room, and one of the things we had to do was to read a book called Ways of seeing by John Berger, I did not read the book although now I think is worth to take a look to it, instead, I saw a four-episode collection of videos on youtube.

I have to say that this was a very positive surprise, and I feel that many of the things said by him resonate a lot with my ideas.

There are particular passages on this videos that I am planning to share at the research discussion due on the 9th of March.

The first fragment is about how we see things and how images are manipulated and transformed by the use of the camera to reproduce them, I really feel that there is a strong link with my research paper.

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At the end of this same fragment, I found a strong connection with my present practice and how images could be used to create space.

The next fragment gains a huge importance within my current practice as I am able to use still images in combination with a moving camera and even sound. I really like it when he talks about the corridor between the viewer and the painting.

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This other little fragment resonates with my idea of the META-IMAGE

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This other fragment from episode 4 also enriches my idea of the META-IMAGE

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My reflection:

At the moment I am quite interested in two specific topics i.e. spatial metaphors and the Meta-image, Berger has given me wonderful insights about images and the way we use them and abuse them, I think I should take a look at his book and also look for references to other authors that reflect about visual culture.

Jean Dubuffet

I found this artist by accident, at the beginning I was attracted by the way he combines painting and sculpture in his work, things shifted a lot when I discovered a video on a specific piece called “Happy landscape”.

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I was surprised as it was very difficult to find any image of this painting on google, at the end, I found a good enough image of the whole painting on Instagram.

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In this video, I also learned that Dubuffet was very influenced by primitive artists.

My interest: I am fascinated by the childish way in wich the landscape is presented, I personally think that there is a strong connection between this piece and the way I want to represent the context of

I am fascinated by the childish way in wich the landscape is presented, I personally think that there is a strong connection between this piece and the way I want to represent the context of an experience. I really believe that the lack of a fixed perspective system allows the piece to include much more within the frame.

My artist statement – 22-09-2016

I am interested in the depiction of reality , In my work I want to challenge the traditional use of flat surfaces  and fixed geometric perspective systems as fundamental values of naturalistic representation.

My practice is based in both physical and digital grounds and involves the use of a wide range of techniques in order to manipulate and expand the representational possibilities of the image i.e painting, sculpture, photogrammetry, 3D modeling, 3D animation, and Virtual Reality applications.

Big Boy – self portrait video

I started to make a self portrait video. I was inspired to do this after learning to animate 3D characters for the collaboration I did with Jennet Thomas.

For this project I am building several portraits of my self combining different techniques i.e. Photogrammetry, 3D modeling, Sculpture/painting and video footage

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My plan is to build a video with my reflections of what it means to become a grown up / artist and how it clashes with the expectations set for you by others.

This is a preview of the first render:

Mind and body: The problem with perspective systems

The physicality of perspective systems

Just now I was reading a paper about the perspective systems in Ancient Chinese painting. At some point I thought that maybe this obsession we have towards creating a sophisticated system that could act as an objective recipient for the depiction of reality has a lot to do with how we interact with the physical world. I mean, both Euclidean and not Euclidean geometry have proven to be useful for the making of blueprints and even build or change the physical world, so why not try to keep using them in order to depict our experience of reality?

This is an Idea that has been around for thousands of years but history has shown that Artists, specially painters have always challenged it’s rules, and I think this has to do with the fact that in order to depict reality, we have to experience it and we do this with both our physical body and our minds. So, a system that favours our physical body over our minds is not efficient.

The convenience of the Flat canvas

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From the readings I made for my research paper, I now know that linear perspective was born as an objective system to depict reality on flat surfaces, according to history this started with mirrors and was reinforced by architecture and it is obvious that flat paintings fit easily on flat walls, of course there are examples of images that do not follow this rule, in some cases, architecture is setting the path and in others, images follow the functional or symbolic uses of the object.

When you think about canvases, sketchbooks, prints and photographs it is easy to think about the convenience of the flat image, it makes easy to present it, to store it and reproduce it, so it seems that this feature of the image prevails over the content of it. It is a condition that seems almost fundamental about image creation… but is it? or better yet, should it be?

What about painting? From my experience, is really confortable to paint over a flat canvas instead of doing it over a non-flat one, but the same true for medium size canvases if compared to big or really small ones, and that is not enough reason to prefer medium size canvases. Further more, although physical comfort might be a desirable thing to have when painting, it is not always the same for mental comfort.

Convenient entrapment

So apparently, the use of both perspective systems (specially linear) and flat surfaces is convenient for practical reasons, but it does come with a price, we are trying to depict reality using tools that privilege the physical side over the mental one.

 

 

Framed landscapes – A collage of memories

At the end of July I found the perfect excuse to start working on middle size pieces, I saw an open call on the mall galleries and I wanted to build two pieces large enough to be presented to this contest, I applied the same construction principles I had learn with smaller pieces but soon I discovered it was going to be a far  more complex and challenging process.

My idea for this was to connect different moments represented by different images inside a single piece. I wanted to represent the idea that visual memory is a collage of elements dynamically attached to one another.

I started by selecting two images from a gallery of photographs I took on two different trips to natural parks near London i.e. Richmond Park and Windsor Park, then I went through a gallery of photographs from my cellphone and selected two more images from past experiences, Finally, I “stitched” them both inside Blender and built a 3D model of them.

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Afterwards, I had to rethink my construction logic and spent quite a good amount of time just learning how to translate the 3D model onto 3 separated layers of foam.

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Finally I was able to finish both pieces for the contest and now I am waiting for the results.

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Reflection:

In this series I was really decided to take risks, and I did take more than a couple, now I feel inspired to take things even further. I think that this first attempt was pretty successful.