Bringing with them a glimpse into realms of the bizarre and futuristic, three new artists join the digital art world. Leading with post-humanist ideals that transfer the audience to fantasies of chrome and neon, Timothy Jardiel, Marina Victoria Pascual and Samantha Watson join the ever-growing Chimera, art family.
Initially known as a Los Angeles based photographer; Timothy Jardiel is one of the talented creatives here at Chimera art. He is now experimenting within the world of 3D graphics with work primarily focused on dystopian and stellar themed images. The composition of his works features dramatic use of shadows, oftentimes with a dark background pertaining to the immenseness of space and a singular focal point.
Pieces like ‘Curtain Call’ (October 2020) and ‘Blood Mood Nocturne’ (September 2020) are examples of this particular type of composition. However, Jardiel’s work also features contrasting pieces that are recognized by the burst of warm colours swathed in a chromatic finish such as ‘Day 6: Caution’ (January 2021). ‘Day 6: Caution’ may actually be directly influenced by the infamous Beeple’s Everyday projects whereby digital artists are attempting to take on the task of creating artwork every day and publishing it.
Timothy Jardiel favours a contrast between dark and light in his art with the direction of lighting commonly coming from above in his creations, once again constructing the connotations of rapture and the divine from the cosmos. This translates directly to multiple images of featureless bodies traversing dark astral landscapes and maintains a mood of awe for the audience. Sometimes suspended in mid-air, the central form draws the eye and creates a foreboding effect where the audience is almost made to revere the being illustrated, thus implying themes of power and energy. Furthermore, there is a distinct focus on simplistic forms and shape, hence most focal points highlighting a strange entity.
The surrealism of the landscapes accompanied by palettes of warm hues prompts a martian-esque impression which is a juxtaposition to the connections we have of the cosmos being cold and boundless. By employing such deep colours connoting passion and extremes to the themes of space, Jardiel manages to evoke a feeling of earthiness, of humanism and sentience which compliments the concepts of post-humanism implied in his work and is a linear link to digitality and the progression of technology itself.
In contrast to his earlier works, there are more references to pop culture like Jardiel’s piece featuring the final fantasy summons ‘Ramuh’ depicted as a celestial being rather than the image of a bearded image typically associated with the game. Jardiel’s post in September 2020 captioned “Alexa, play ‘Ghost of a Good Thing’ by @dashboardconfessional” is also an example of his personal interests having a significant presence in his work.
By merging contemporary references from the outside world with this surrealist, almost dreamlike style of digital art, it will be no surprise to see Timothy excel in gathering a growing audience from those who appreciate subtle references from the real world.
Marina Victoria Pascual
Similar to Jardiel is the artist Marina Victoria Pascual. Born in New York and raised in Madrid, Pascual’s work bears semblance to Jardiel’s in the sense that there is a fascination to ‘the visual stimuli of the world’. Majoring in Interactive Media Arts, Marina is now a full-time artist based in Shanghai and her work includes performances and exhibitions in the Power Station of Art (Shanghai), the Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition (Shenzhen), and the NY Media Center (New York)
In contrast to Jardiel, the initial element that distinguishes Pascual’s work is the use of the frame in her pieces. The artwork created features up-close depictions of the body, focusing on the lines and contours to celebrate the natural form. Furthermore, by choosing to illustrate these close depictions of the body compared to Tim Jardiel’s, it is creating the impression that the actions of the body and the perceived motions that it would make if it were animated depict some sort of deeper story or experience. For Marina Victoria, this is a direct link to the purpose of her work - to enable a ‘reconnection’ through her images.
Consequently, with Pascual, there seems to be more of an intimate relationship with her pieces as she describes the 3D bodies as an ‘extension of herself’. The likeness to herself and to her work is not necessarily overt and may be as subtle as the use of the female form and prevalent shades of pink and purple to bring together her experiences as a woman. It brings a sense of consciousness and intent to her work, that sliver of reality in scenes of otherwise abstract ambiguity.
The sense of self is very much subjective hence why the artist may choose to omit personalized features much like Tim Jardiel’s, and instead relies on the interpretations of the audience to give a narrative voice to her creations. While some of her work embraces specific experiences as a woman made clear by captions such as “terrible period cramps + ugly rainy days + bad sleep.” (February 2021), others are centred around more universal experiences such as human love or emotions of discontentment or loneliness.
Almost spiritual, using digital art as a medium can sometimes provide a sense of autonomy from the artists. Traditional forms of art such as painting often require the physical interplay between the canvas and the artist, whereas digital art can allow the creator to explore ideas and concepts.
The final artist, though certainly not the least is Samantha Watson an artist with a bachelor’s in fine art from multiple institutions. Also specializing in 3D graphics and art, like Pascual, Watson inputs perceived femininity in her subjects, choosing to add textured hair, eyelashes and sometimes long acrylic nails.
The humanoid subjects of Marina Pascual and Timothy Jardiel’s artwork are presented in various forms of passivity – often floating, the movement in the picture relies on the implied lines and shapes bursting in the background. In Watson’s pieces, these figures are more active – she suggests some basic form of individual thought in these bodies as they pose, dance and relax in the frame. It creates the afterthought of artificial intelligence mimicking human behaviour, thus creating a subtle eeriness that is offset by the loud obnoxious colours as if to suppress the uncanny.
With the bright neon palette that she often uses, Watson’s digital art is the most visually dazzling in terms of colour choice. The arbitrary colours chosen amplifies the surrealism of the art much like how the astral landscapes do for Timothy Jardiel and the aesthetics of motion for Marina Victoria. The contrasting magenta hues are accompanied by deep oranges and yellows that are also evocative of cyberpunk designs in the early 2000s. Further emphasized by the dystopian backgrounds of luxury in the image, it once again relates back to the idea of construction and control made effortless as it is a digital space.
Ex-Machina meets psychedelics, Watson’s artwork is delightfully chaotic yet follows a simple but successful structure of a singular focal point so as not to take away too much from the form of the body. All her images, as with the previous artists apply a sheen of chromatics, thus asserting the futuristic aesthetic that many digital artists uptake.
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