Finding Your Creative Path in a Between World
This month we’re writing about young artists who find themselves, one way or another, in limbo. We wondered how artists decide to try new tools or stick with old ones, and how they find creative balance between the digital and physical worlds. What happens when two different creative approaches defy balance, and maybe even crash into one another? For insights, we spoke with graphic designer Tina Touli and photographer Mario AV.
“I’m Against Stagnation”
As a designer, Tina specializes in branding, typography, and editorial design, so her passions run the gamut from web design all the way to bookbinding. We asked her about bridging so many different technologies, old and new. “I am keen on exploring the possibilities of working between two worlds, the physical and digital one,” she explained. “I like jumping back and forth between them.”
Of course, meshing the real world and the digital world isn’t always easy. Tina says the key is to set aside the fear of failure. In fact, there’s a good chance things won’t go as you intended, but those moments present new possibilities. “That is what I enjoy the most—all these challenging and happy accidents during the design process,” Tina says.
Take, for example, the time Tina created a poster to celebrate 30 years of Adobe Illustrator. She started by handcrafting an elaborate paper sculpture of the number 30 that could flip like the pages in a book. But the flipping pages didn’t show the number as she’d planned, so when it came time to film a Graphic Design Live Stream of her process, she improvised on the fly. The end result is stunning, and a great example of how the digital-meets-physical process can unfold, surprises and all.
Tina recently created another real-world-meets-digital-world project for us, a piece called “Caught in Limbo.” She used lenses (for the first time) to create intriguing distortion effects. This meant figuring out how the lenses worked with the light and other physical objects, and avoiding unexpected challenges, like when they reflected the laptop she was using.
As an artist who loves to experiment, Tina always has her eye out for the latest technologies to try. “I am against stagnation,” she explains. “What motivates me and keeps me going is the excitement of something new. I like to continuously challenge myself by experimenting with new tools and techniques and by learning new skills and exploring new fields and new mediums.” For the near future, she has her eye on moving images and 3D design tools.
“If You’re Hungry for New Things…You Will Be Rewarded”
Photographer Mario AV began his creative career as a photographer booking gigs with clients. But he craved independence and the freedom to explore his own creative ideas, so he started making stock images full time. It gives him a chance to experiment with retouching technology, and to branch out. Now, he’s jumping into video. “It’s more alive and inspirational,” he explains.
Just like Tina, Mario has had to manage clashes between the digital world and the physical one, even when he wasn’t expecting them. One experience stands out. It was a rainy day and Mario traveled to the mountainous coast of Spain, to the site of an old church now better known as the castle of Targaryens in Game of Thrones. With the dramatic cliffs and moody, breathtaking scenery, he couldn’t resist an opportunity to experiment with his drone camera.
As the camera flew further away, Mario viewed the footage he was capturing, including a seagull flying aggressively—right for his lens. He pulled back the throttle, sending the drone backward as fast as it could go, narrowly avoiding a digital-world-meets-real-world crash. And he never turned off the camera. “It’s a really epic shot that I’ll remember for a long time,” he says.
Since striking out on his own for a more exploratory career, Mario has embraced new tools and technologies as inspiration. “If you are hungry for new things and learning how to be better than you were yesterday—very soon you will be rewarded.”