In collaboration with Cardiff JOMEC’s Stateless magazine, digital artist Albert Omoss discusses his inspiration.
In line with the expanding digital nation the nature of contemporary artistic expression is in flux. Conventional techniques are being distorted as art becomes intensely dynamic and conceptual. As a child artist Albert Omoss was fascinated with computer programming, a fascination that influenced his highly technological interpretation of creativity when exploring the human condition. Albert grew up in California and now works as a computational artist and creative technologist, titles that epitomise the increasingly intertwining relationship with technology and art. This technological grounding set Omoss onto a path to exploring the human experience in a conceptual and digitalised way.
Could you tell me more about your background, and what inspired you to become an artist?
I was a pretty average, trouble-making, kid growing up in San Diego, California. I always loved to draw, and create things. I would take everything apart to see how it worked. I obsessively played with Legos. I started programming computers very early on, and always thought I would become a computer scientist.
As time went by I began doubting if I would ever be happy just being another programmer. It took me years to realise that I didn’t need to place myself into any pre-existing career box. I could create my own job title, my own position and my own market. My interest in art in particular simply stems from the fact that I am human. I can’t understand how one can intellectualise this human experience and not feel an intense need to create art.
“My interest in art in particular simply stems from the fact that I am human. I can’t understand how one can intellectualise this human experience and not feel an intense need to create art.”
How would you describe your style of work and what influenced you to become interested in computational art?
Well, I would never describe my own style. I leave that up to others to decide for themselves. There are definitely some repeating themes present in my work. Sacred geometry, biology, and the fragility of the human form are just a few that come to mind. I try not to restrict myself to any specific themes, genres, or even mediums.
My interest in computational art probably began when I was 8 years old, when I was introduced to computer programming through a friend from school. I think programming computers from such an early age really shaped my mind, and how I approach problem solving.
Do you think contemporary art is becoming more explicitly linked to technology and do you think the future of art lies in combining and experimenting with digital elements?
I think throughout history, there has always been a very strong link between the tools used to create art and the art itself. These new emerging technologies are simply new tools. Art that is born exclusively as the product of some new technology is soulless by definition.
Does projection-mapping or laser-scanning say anything profound about the human condition? I’m really not sure. It is inevitable that new technologies will work their way into contemporary art, but the artistic concept should be the focus, first and foremost. I don’t think a person has ever built a beautiful house solely because they were inspired by a shiny new hammer.
Could you explain in more detail the processes that go into the development and creation of your work?
Most of my work is born out of technical research that I am doing in various software packages. An unplanned glitch, or an oddly beautiful simulation will sometimes inspire some kind of conceptual seed. Other times, I will have a clear vision for what I want to achieve and work in a more forward approach.
I tend to focus on movement and form, especially at the early stages of production. Then I will digitally film the motion like I would if I was carrying a camera on set. I find treating the camera realistically, as a heavy unwieldy machine, adds force and deliberate gravity to the virtual cinematography.
The lighting and rendering of the pieces is also heavily influenced by classic film techniques. I utilise a variety of rendering packages, based on the particular needs of the piece.
What inspired our latest piece Emoji Particle Test and what was the process behind creating it?
The Emoji Particle Tests were born out of experimentation in Houdini, while trying to render particles; I came up with the idea of replacing the particles with emoji instances. The project was never meant to see the light of day, but a discussion on Twitter led to me uploading it to Vimeo. The rest is history.
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