Lip Comarella, Stuart Lippincott, Caramurú Baumgartner, Daniel Isles, and Santi Zoraidez are five digital artists you should get acquainted with. Whether these be abstract shapes with character, colourful cosmic chaos, alternate worlds, or the distinctive characters who inhabit them, their work explores different stylistic avenues of digital art. So here’s why you’ll want them on your radar.
Lip Comarella’s digital paintings are an ode to everyday and to natural landscapes. Using sites like Google Maps for reference, some of Comarella's digital paintings are views in places all over the world like Norway, Chile, Tunisia, and Los Angeles. He grew up in northern Italy, and the Italian Alps are regular guest stars in his artworks. Others are self-portraits of the artist with an anthropomorphic mountain. Storytelling can often be so overly-convoluted that any enjoyment you might gain from it is stripped clean right off the bat. Yet Comarella’s work is simple and functional. It works. His vibrant work blends whimsy with a charm that will warm your heart. And it looks nice. Very nice. Though created digitally in Procreate, it retains the texture of a traditionally painted artwork. His series with the cartoony mountains are a mode of self-expression for Comarella, and through straightforward emotions with a natural or urban landscape as a backdrop come together to make up especially affecting and moody imagery. Comarella is well-versed in creating this kind of imagery. After taking to entertainment design to escape an unexciting marketing and advertising career, he now works for Netflix Animation.
Futuristic, surreal worlds with cinematographic lighting and compositions along with subtle spiritual elements are Stuart Lippincott’s signature style. Imagining what it would be like to be in them is the main drive of his creative process, and the result is breathtaking and mysterious. The American digital designer and 3-D artist has a background in motion graphics whose clients have included Xbox, Google, Sony Records, Coachella, and Imagine Dragons. Lippincott is inspired by science fiction films like Blade Runner, Star Wars, and Star Trek, as well as star NFT artist Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple. Lippincott has said that he creates worlds “bound only by imagination” and jokes that he can’t draw. And the truth is, he can’t. This is something Lippincott is quite open about, he wanted to draw cartoons as a kid but it just never panned out for him. He hit a wall and gave up. It was only when he discovered 3-D art that he found his passion for art again. Lippincott has found his element in 3-D, and his images are stunning. Thematically, his art covers weighty subjects. Lone or several figures face something larger than themselves, possibly something they cannot control. Ethereal figures in robes float. Time passes, and the subtext does not seem to point to it being explicitly a bad or good thing. His worlds are epic, and the stakes are impossibly high, but there is a contemplative aspect to it. Lippincott’s hyperreal worlds know no bounds.
Caramurú Baumgartner’s work defies the bounds. Baumgartner sees his artistic process as entering his own personal, unique universe and drawing what he sees, like a curious spectator of sorts. And it is quite something to behold. His work is a part vintage comic book, part fantastic galactic phantasmagoria, intensely surreal. The Brazilian visual multimedia artist describes himself as an alchemist who mixes colours, light, and shades into a psychedelic flow of saturation. Baumgartner’s work has a dazzling amount of detail, it is colourful to the point that almost every colour on the colour wheel is represented in his artwork and has a pop art feel. He counts Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki and French cartoonist Moebius as creative masters to learn from. Baumgartner is inspired by the Japanese media franchise Dragon Ball, Greek myth, and spiritualism. One of his best-selling NFTs on Superrare is titled “Mother Gaya”, referencing the Greek Earth goddess and mother of the Titans. In it, a mysterious being is surrounded by cosmos and nurtures an anthropomorphic Earth with a conch shell. Tonally, warm and cold colours are grouped together, existing side by side in harmony. The subtle line work and intricate hatching are very precise, and appear to be a product of intense concentration. Baumgartner’s work is wacky, yes, but it is also peaceful. But instead of a contemplative kind of peaceful like the kind seen in Lippincott and Comarella’s work, his art is a zany kind of peaceful, revelling in its offbeat quality and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
British illustrator Daniel Isles has been making comics since he was nine years old, drawing those around him as characters to populate his comics with. His aunts and uncles told him about how his dad used to draw comics too, and this, along with his passion for video games and animation eventually inspired him to try his hand at creating his own characters. Now based in Japan and known by his online alias “DirtyRobot,” Isles is particularly known for his character work, which is a fusion of a cartoon style from eastern and western cultures inspired by manga artists like Katsuhiro Otomo, French cartoonist Moebius, and old Kung Fu and anime movies Isles enjoyed as a child. The music of American saxophonist John Coltrane and American DJ Madlib also influences his work. His digital paintings are characterised by clean linework and look like they could be part of a graphic novel. In fact, he is currently working on one. The characters that populate his alternative worlds are extremely well-dressed in the street styles of his home city of Birmingham and Japan. There is a teaspoon of steampunk in there too. It’s no surprise really that he used to work as a clothing designer at one point. As an artist, Isles has worked with clients like Apple, Kid Robot, DC Comics, and Timberland.
Unlike the rest of the artists in this list, Santi Zoraidez’s work is abstract. Yet it is still grounded in reality. While Baumgartner revels in wacky surrealism, Zoraidez crafts his 3-D illustrations to appear magical and alluring while tethering them to a distinctly human element. The Argentinian art director and 3-D artist is based in Barcelona and has collaborated with the likes of Nike and Bulgari. Zoraidez has said that he likes to wander around flea markets and warehouses, studiously researching how materials look and feel in real life in order to achieve a balance between the surreal and the functional. “I try to modify or intercept reality with digital means to achieve a surreal tension,” he says. His work is shiny, dreamy, bubbly. Impossibly cheerful. It has similar vibes to Baumgartner’s art. While it is clearly made in a digital medium, unlike Comarella and Baumgartner’s art, which still has a traditional art look. Yet it bridges the digital with reality with ease. The colourful shapes in Zoraidez’s art resemble real-world furniture, but with softer edges. Walking into them, you might just as well be walking into a real-world art installation at a museum.
Comarella, Lippincott, Baumgartner, Isles, and Zoraidez’s work features compelling Pixar-esque storytelling set in stunning landscapes rendered digitally but with a painterly feel, futuristic and hyperreal world-building with a hint of the spiritual, psychedelic potions concocted in a pop surrealist fashion, inventive character design that pays homage to both eastern and western cartoons, and quirky 3-D interior design filled with colourful, abstract, candy-like shapes designed like furniture. These five artists are well-worth getting acquainted with.