Emerging Talent – @TheMiracleLens
1)How did you get started on your journey?
Is this a journey yet?
Is this a journey yet? I can’t tell. I am currently working obsessively on the artwork once again; -more so than I have done in years. Chance rather than insight has brought me here after I happened to view a friend’s crypto-art post during a time when my working life had collapsed. A decision not to log on at that point would have resulted in an entirely different outcome. Most events of any real benefit have occurred by chance in fact. 30 years ago I started creating artwork ‘seriously’ with an excursion into the practical film effects industry after many months spent sculpting a portfolio of nightmares. I just wanted to create monsters; the more absurd, the better. That’s a bad approach for someone wishing to be taken seriously in that particular arena, but I digress.
The destroyer of dreams
I worked within the computer game industry, creating animation puppets for digitised stop-motion creature sequences, in a nod towards Ray Harryhausen, though burdened by the restrictions of 1990’s computer hardware. Other starts (and stops) concerned 3D digitisation, computer graphic modelling, the editing of laser scan data for film CG, various commissions for display work and more. All of these ‘interesting’ pursuits were interspersed with periods of silence, real-world jobs and retreats into music; the other long-standing constant.
2020 saw COVID destroy both of my most recent, settled and long-standing means of employment: producing articles on Russian travel/culture and projecting films in an Arts Centre. I fell into crypto-art and took the chance to dust-off the visual tools once again. I had already produced various CG objects that foreshadowed my current work, however. Those were created in the first decade of the new millennium during my Vjing/festival/club period (and that’s another story).
2) Where do you see yourself in the future?
I have been asked to bring a vision of my future self/work to you. That task is impossible to achieve with any conviction as I could never have predicted any of the above. Throwing effort out into nowhere will eventually result in abandonment. Discovering -or even creating- a niche will see me remaining on that particular course until some form of collapse occurs. This whole outlook may be wrong.
For now, I devote time, effort, promotion and patience into my Mechorganica project whilst the world lives, dies, fails or (very) occasionally succeeds around me. The future will reveal the outcome, either in spite of my efforts or because of them. The past was all about monsters, yesterday was filled with Russian articles (and world-cinema), today it’s Mechorganica geometry. Tomorrow is unknown. If you are looking for something solid, then: the Russian connection is here to stay. That’s off-topic but it’s the only certainty. I wonder how many millions of hopeful (or even successful) artists have similarly existed as specs of dust on the scale of history. Sooner than you think: none of this will matter.
3) Tell us about your favourite artist and any projects you are keen on and why?
Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Jost Amman and Ivan Bilibin. Beksinski’s work suggests landscapes scattered with forgotten memorials and the relics of rituals. Here, the end of everything happened long ago. Characters; bestial, humanoid and impossible, stalk the tainted dust and detritus. Others fuse in their embrace, mimic familiar forms, or exist as remains hoisted on poles and abandoned to their punishment. Beksinski would probably hate my interpretation as much as he hated his work being seen has gothic ham. You’ll know Giger by now after he critically and permanently deviated the depiction of film “monsters” through his work on 1979’s Alien. Sadly the wholesale use, re-use and abuse of his style across the last 40 years has rendered it over-familiar, even cheapened by ubiquity. I have to confess my own small part in this particular crime. I’ll group Durer, Dore, Bruegel and Amman together. I’ve always been drawn to wood engravings (and later; steel) from the medieval period onwards. There is something remarkable in the character and atmosphere contained within these pieces. Similarly, I admire the medieval city-scapes from the Nuremberg Chronicles. Bilibin was an exemplary Russian illustrator, producing colourful and fantastical depictions of characters and scenes from Russian folklore. Sadly he died in the siege of Leningrad, choosing to remain instead of fleeing when he had the chance.
I should also mention the photography work of both Man Ray, whose images continue to inform the fashion/advertising industries decades later, and Joel Peter Witkin, who’s surreal tableau’s simultaneously embraced the nightmarish, the classical and the elegant.
4) Talk us through your creative process, your best state of mind, environment etc. to work in.
Some idea (or other)
For me, the creative process varies, depending upon the nature of the task. Items in the current project usually start with 3D form experiments; creating shapes and manipulating them until something sticks. “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working”. So said Picasso, and therein lies a good lesson. There may be a mental impression of a shape that is pleasing in some way, or some other geometric inspiration. Such ideas arrive partially formed and need a good deal of work to (literally) fill in the gaps. At any rate, the modelling process is steered towards whatever takes hold, in an attempt to expand upon it.
Whatever it takes
There are often dead-ends and calamities along the way, combined (occasionally) with beneficial accidents or signposts to other possibilities. Once the base form has become solid enough, then the process of development and refinement takes over. This includes more modelling, texture and shading work, whilst incorporating any new changes or inspirations that suddenly need to be implemented. These in turn may require considerable (and unwelcome) modifications to the established form, or even new knowledge/techniques to familiarise myself with first. Essentially: whatever it takes until it is “right”. This mentality has to be a throw-back to the film work that saw me sculpting skin-pores with a needle.
Living in the kitchen
Most of the above process takes place in a combined kitchen/art-room/workshop/music-studio, all within welcome reach of a kettle and piling tins of espresso. There is invariably an audio backdrop of podcasts featuring a range of subjects: the whole gamut of Fortean phenomena, news, philosophy, politics, psychology and selected interviews. If I’m lucky, I can think clearly and just work. If not; I work anyway, until I’ve had enough. Then I work some more. I find it psychologically better to pile on the extra hours to finish something rather than have it playing on my mind. If the finished object is a success, then I’ll embrace it later and at a distance. Escape during the above process is a four-mile semi-sprint on a mountain bike or a session of blistering electro/rock/guitar, a film, conversation or some Russian language practice. That’s all.