IO Artist Interviews: Through the Looking Glass by Loupe Art

Four unique perspectives from our Loupe Artists: Introducing 'Through the Looking Glass,' a collection of captivating motion art curated by Loupe Art and brought to life with Infinite Objects. Immerse yourself in a mesmerizing world where color blocking, abstraction, and landscapes come alive in vibrant motion. Each piece in this collection is meticulously chosen to enthrall audiences of all ages, featuring strong focal points that weave narratives and ignite imagination. These creations displayed through Infinite Objects technology, where each loop is a symphony of motion and discovery.

Featured Artist: Brian Evans

Brian Evans composes visual music by integrating sound and image via computation and digital technology. In Evans’s artwork sound waves of music are seen as light waves of color. He builds computer models of sounds or musical structure and visualizes these models. Through data mapping he constructs images from the raw materials of musical notes, chords, timbres, and the complex fractal structure of musical form. His artworks and animations have been exhibited and screened internationally.

IO: Can you please provide us with some insights into your background, what sparked your interest in art and how your journey as an artist has shaped your style and approach? How did you come to combine these different techniques into your art practice?

BE: I have a background as a music composer with a little computer science picked up along the way. I wanted to add a visual component to my musical ideas and so started working in digital animation. The images are abstract, like the materials of instrumental music. Abstract animation is often called ‘visual music’.

I became aware of the century-old history of ‘visual music’ and how it paralleled the history of cinema. I wanted to apply what I understood about musical time to a visual, cinematographic space. It was a small jump to then correlate the sound and image so that each was an expression of the other. The computer lends itself to this kind of crossing back and forth, as both sound and image are nothing more than numbers when digital. Any number can be mapped to sound or color in a computer. It follows then that any sound can be seen, any image heard. (Hear the colors, listen with your eyes.)

IO: Your artwork often integrates sound and technology in unique ways, can you dive into these concepts a bit more?

BE: My work is computational and digital. I create numeric models with a computer and visualize and sonify the models (not unlike what a meteorologist does, showing a graphic of a weather model that predicts tomorrows temperatures). My models create abstract terrains that I can explore and capture, much like a photographer can go into nature and capture images of the world they see. As the images and sounds are created by the same model, each is a map, a ‘metaphor’ of the other. Within the maps I make a variety of decisions, what colors to use, what musical scales. The artist, the composer decides.

IO: How do you navigate the balance of digital and physical art in your practice? What sort of things are you thinking about when bringing your digital creations to the physical?

BE: My images and sounds are created purely in digital media. Often I make prints of single images generated from the various models. I’ve exhibited large format prints internationally since the late 1980s. Later in the 1990s and early 2000s I licensed images for a variety of products, from jigsaw puzzles to textiles. I have also exhibited the animations on small screens in gallery spaces, most recently on large flat screen TVs, hung on a gallery wall as paintings in motion. In creating my work, like many artists, I am concerned with concept and craft. The hope is that the work is well expressed technically, but transcends the medium and is not about the technology used to make it.

Once the processes are set up I improvise in the moment, allowing experience, serendipity and whimsy to make choices. It’s jazz, of a sort, an improvisation of light and sound, with each an arcane expression of the same thing, and so of each other.

All human knowledge begins as a mapping of data from one medium to another — for example sound starts as fluctuating air pressure, mapped to a changing ear drum tension, transferred to mechanical energy in the tiny bones of the ear, then to electrical signals in the cochlear nerve, eventually stored in our neural networks. Mapping across media is the essence of being in the world. It is a wondrous thing. Mapping across media is what I explore in my work.

Featured Artist: Rado Rossum

From the artist… “Art is how I discover, move through, understand and process the natural world. This world includes the real and imagined, the imaginary, the inanimate and animate, the animated, algorithms, all. The work is not the tools. The tools are but extensions of the self. The self is but a porous membrane between inside and outside. A camera extends the eye, a brush extends the hand, a computer extends the mind, synthetic thought extends organic thought. Extensions amplify reach and enable farther connections. The system of connections, nodes, interactions and interdependencies is the creative act.”

IO: I’d love to understand more about your journey into art? What motivated you to pursue your practice and how do you define your artistic style?

RR: I started with music. I became interested in approaching musical and visual composition in a more unified and formal way. At the same time I became curious about using computers and electronics to build custom expressive instruments that could be used in live performance with my friends. I always admired the ability of classically trained musicians and painters to use an instrument or a brush expressively and tried to emulate some of that by making my own software tools and hardware instruments, which I would try to perform live. I am interested in art as a way to experience and understand the world. In this context, my current practice is a kind of experimental phenomenology.

IO: Your artworks often feature abstracted colors and shapes, can you delve into the inspirations behind your works and the stories you aim to convey to your viewers?

RR: If we consider abstraction in opposition to representation, indeed the works can be called abstract. However, my relationship with abstraction comes from a different place. Even concrete, non-abstract objects are not experienced directly but as a kind of signal representation, regardless of whether the light or sound associated with them comes straight to us or passes through some artistic transcription, be it pigment on canvas or LED. Conversely, what we commonly call abstract is very dependent on perspective and framing. I believe sensory experience, in this sense, is an inherently abstract experience and dependent on where the scales and boundaries of perception are set. There is a lot more to the Universe than what is limited by direct sensory human perception and I find all of it interesting and worthy of artistic exploration.

IO: Given that your art is primarily showcased digitally on platforms like Loupe or Infinite Objects, how do you approach the idea of translating your digital creations into tangible, physical pieces? What thoughts do you take into account when presenting your art in both digital and physical formats?

RR: I consider the digital as part of the physical world, not just metaphorically but literally. Computation can only be performed by physical systems, making information inherently physical. Though we can imagine abstract mathematical concepts, only the ones that can be computed and represented physically can exist in reality. I see electrons as real as dots of ink on paper, however I find comfort and joy in tangible objects. I am delighted to have this opportunity. Regardless of the underlying form of the work, how it is experienced is very important to me and I am thrilled to see it embodied in different formats. It is both aesthetically and philosophically appealing to have digital art inhabit a dedicated physical frame that is not a multi-purpose object — the difference between a body and a shell.

Featured Artist: Mischelle Moy

Mischelle Moy is a Brooklyn-based visual artist who uses photography and heavy photo-manipulation to create vibrant interpretations of our natural landscapes. Typically in psychedelic palettes, these locations are transformed into an otherworldly space. “Born and raised in New York City all my life, I’ve come to have a very unbalanced love-hate relationship with the daily construction of new buildings and constant influx of people and their usually imprudent interactions. You start to form emotional detachment from everyday life and long for an escape from it all. I come back to make these visuals and for a moment there is a feeling of fulfillment; a new perspective is created and I find just as much joy in sharing them with others.”

IO: How do your life experiences and environmental influences inform your practice?

MM: My background has been in the fine arts since I was a very young age. I have been fortunate to explore various mediums through school and classes in order to discover my favorite practices within the visual arts. I decided to dive into specifically photography after high school because I really loved handling film, the processes, and learning how to control a camera. My intentions for my work then have pivoted and pivoted through the years until I found my voice and signature. Today, I am still learning new techniques as there are technological advancements like in AI, and see how I might incorporate them into my artwork. Having the ability to envision something and bring it to life continues to motivate me to pursue this as a career but it will always be the different reactions, projects, and challenges of what I share on this long journey that inspires me to continue making and sharing.

IO: How do your life experiences and environmental influences inform your practice?

MM: Let’s go way back. I am the oldest child of the first American generation in my family and I often find gratitude for the life experiences that role has given me to become the person and artist I am today. Even though it may have not been ideal for Asian parents to let their kids have a creative career, I do not take anything for granted and this support motivates me to work harder and be more successful. Growing up, we would go on tour bus road trips up and down the east coast which definitely contributed to my wanderlust. That seed has only grown and I got to learn more about the world, other cultures, and a lot of history, specifically in the North American landscape and how I fit in as an Asian-American woman.

As an adult now, my knowledge on how the world works isn’t as innocent as it once was. With this realization, I would say that my work walks the line of fantasy and escapism — whether from my body, the room I’m in, this big city, or this planet. Ultimately, I am using the North American landscape to contemplate what life may be like in a parallel universe — another version of what we’re seeing. Working from an archive of digital photos captured from various trips, I work with the visible light spectrum available in those pixels to pull out the invisible light palette. This is also a way for me to relive those trips, hanging on to a memory and immortalizing it, or rewriting it.

IO: Your works often feature dreamy environments surrounded by nature or fun colors, can you discuss the themes or narratives you explore in your works and how they resonate with you?

MM: Here’s a few! The ones captured on the road or on a hiking trail show the road ahead for me and they’re reminders that it’s the journey that matters, not the destination. There is also a telephone lines series which highlights the wires amongst an untouched landscape, displaying the relationship of the manmade with the natural, which for me signifies the need for human connection. Another series is on mood-boosting interiors, where I usually play with gradients lit by outside light because entering a space filled with color creates more dopamine than a sterile white room. This latter series was the result of having to stay inside during lockdown. Generally, I want to capture our environments as it is and see it in another light without directly intervening. This is my way of leaving it better than I found it.

IO: As an artist whose work is often experienced digitally through platforms like Loupe or Infinite Objects, how do you approach the idea of bringing your art into physical spaces?

MM: I have always printed my work but also enjoy exploring other ways to present it. It has been a long-term dream to exhibit my work as an experience with a potential workshop so that the artwork can be touched or be more hands-on with. I feel that often these days, people don’t slow down or take the time to admire the process and that we can be more involved than with just looking. One of the more accessible spaces to test bringing my art into the physical is within my home, and I have sampled many products from acrylic puzzles to textiles to give my pieces a different life but there were challenges because not everything digital makes sense as a physical product.

IO: Are there specific techniques or strategies you employ to bridge the digital and physical?

MM: With my fine arts background, it’s always in the back of my mind to want to play with other mediums like projection-mapping or printed fabric or incorporating thread, wire, or foil to a print to turn the digital piece into something almost sculptural. Sometimes these can be time-consuming to explore, but I also try to make samples of my artwork on various printable items from glassware to puffer coats and see what works! I learn a lot about manufacturing and how to translate a really complex image into a product that typically requires an illustration or vector design. Being open to trying new innovations and blending industries also allows me to have ambitious project conversations with friends and brands on how to bridge the digital and physical together.

Featured Artist: Joe Winograd

Joe Winograd’s looping stop-motion animations stem from his explorations into handmade digital art and our relationships with technology. Reworking stacked layers of digital geometric patterns with traditional paper manipulation processes such as collage and marbling, Winograd’s psychedelic creations reject the sleekness of computer rendering to amplify the rugged physicality of human intervention.

IO: Can you share a bit about your background and journey as an artist? What sparked your interest in art, and what led to your evolving digital practices?

JW: I am a multimedia performance artist and designer currently based in America. I was born in Atlanta, GA. I have a BFA in Printmaking from Washington University in St. Louis (2013) and an MFA in Digital+Media from Rhode Island School of Design (2018). I’ve been making art professionally in some capacity for the last 12 years and currently split my time on personal projects and being an Art Director for the Music industry.

I’ve often developed large immersive art installations that combine elements of handmade tactility with interactive technologies that are dependent on environmental factors like sunlight, time duration, and shared group interactions. I have presented art in galleries and museums internationally and have received accolades and recognitions for digital art from Tumblr, GIPHY, Vice Media and Thrillist.

I remember making art when I was 3 or 4 and have always been doing something creative ever since. I always played around with making art on computers as a kid, but I began working digitally more seriously first out of necessity after college when I didn’t have access to studio space and wanted to continue creating and expanding my toolbox. With my background in printmaking I was always challenging the relationships an artist has with their creative technology — whether it is a printing press, a camera, a computer program or something yet to come. I am still excited by exploring ways new tools and techniques help artists tell stories and share emotions that have existed within humans since the beginning of time, how we use our new technologies to make new cultural connections to our past and empower us to grow going forward.

I find inspiration in everything around me and I try to lean into my emotional or intuitive responses to my experiences. How do I feel in nature? How does this song make me feel? What’s bringing out anxious thoughts today? Much of what I do is a slow-burning reflection on bigger ideas and how I can channel my energies into something dynamic and thought-provoking. At the moment I am thinking a lot about experimental storytelling, reverence for the mundane, embracing “otherness” creatively, bicycles, botany and a lot of new music my friends’ bands are putting out this year.

Lastly, I always try to follow these rules: Always challenge yourself — Encourage a joy to grow. Embrace your failures — Excellence over Perfection.

IO: Your digital artworks often explore themes of color and recurring characters, could you elaborate on what drives your creative process and the concepts behind your works?

JW: I want to challenge the world around me. I want to make the world more beautiful, more interesting, more enriching. Oftentimes I make things as gifts for people I care for because I find value channeling my energy into something meaningful for others.

A lot of my work also grows from a deep interest in finding beautiful and interesting moments within ambiguity and chaos of the world around us. I am excited for when seemingly disparate objects and concepts merge to form awe-inspiring surprises for the viewer that happens to be in the right place at the right time.

I was very fortunate to experience the recent solar eclipse in totality on a rooftop in Montreal this week. I saw the natural cosmic phenomenon unravel in the sky above, something that is incredibly rare and special to witness in a lifetime. But I was also surrounded by other people that had gathered together to see it too, not just on our rooftop but on top of every building across the city. I did not anticipate the emotional weight of this exciting moment when, as the moon completely eclipsed the sun, I could hear a roar across the entire city as every single person in Montreal rejoiced loudly in unison as they all experienced this event. After those few minutes during the peak of the eclipse, the entire city then dispersed and went back to their individual days.

In my art I like to create groups of objects and characters and ideas that have unique personalities or traits, and then set them all in their own motion paths to create special, harmonic moments when they all converge together and form a special bond together, even if for a brief moment in time. Like my feeling of togetherness and community during the solar eclipse, I hope to create similar experiences and sensations for a viewer in my moving designs. For short durational projects like a looping GIF or a short video, I often present the moment of “totality” or when all of the pieces of the puzzle have fit together. Other times when I create something that fully blooms over a long time (hours, days, months) you may only catch a glimpse of the whole experience depending on the moment you come across the project.

My pieces for this collection with Loupe and Infinite Objects are examples of these concepts, as I created shapes and color palettes that ebb and flow across many layers to make abstract pictures and patterns to form harmonies and synchronicities over varying time durations.

IO: With your digital artworks being displayed primarily through screens on platforms like Loupe, what is your approach to integrating your art into the physical world? Are there any challenges or considerations you face when translating digital art to tangible formats?

JW: I do not consider myself a “Digital Artist” but acknowledge that working digitally is a major component of my practice both in the tools and language I use to craft my messages. I am not bogged down by working in one medium or another. I am more mindful of textures, tactility and patterns and I seek out ways to combine a wide spectrum of tools and technologies to bring out interesting processes, effects and imagery. Much of my performance installations incorporate video projections with hand-crafted surfaces and costumes to activate sensational interactive spaces.

For a while I’ve been exploring ways to make digital art very physical in how they are displayed and engaged with beyond screens. For a long time I developed animated GIFs into lenticular prints that I cut up and assembled into kinetic sculptures, so that the “animation” would play out on the surface of a physical object in a room. For a few years I was also a video artist working in concert production and would create stage displays with sculptures and video projections that reacted and changed according to the audio from the stage performances, so those would be very visceral and temporal by animating in a live setting in a physical space with a live audience.

I also had the opportunity to develop interactive displays for a Children’s Museum in Florida back in 2016, and those projects were a series of ways for children to have physical toys and activities to teach them about digital media. For example, we developed lenticular hologram building blocks that had animated GIF designs embedded in them so that when kids were building little houses and spaceships with the blocks it was as if they were building websites as sculptures.

The collaborations with Infinite Objects and Loupe allow me to think about how physical artworks enhance our lives in our living spaces, and how digital media can exist in these spaces in a similar fashion. The custom, small frame screen devices allow for my work to exist for a viewer beyond the typical means of consuming and experiencing digital art — through televisions, smartphones and computer screens. I am excited that Infinite Objects pushes those boundaries in how digital art can exist in physical spaces and I look forward to how people continue pursuing new methods for displaying and promoting digital media as a tactile, tangible medium in the real world.