for a month now i ve been studying systematically apple shake. here somebody can see the development of different facial compositions and mostly my experimentation with colors and materials. apart the portraits i have also started working on a composition of a human figure sitting on a stool and being captivated by its measures. richard a good friend of mine help me out with this by posing for me and of course the camera
the intention of this composition is to create a portrait of a human condition
Since childhood, I’ve been surrounded by art and creativity. In Greece, my father worked as a Byzantine artist for over 30 years painting giant frescos in churches. Coming from a fine art background and assisting my father, I have greatly learned about composition, color, layering, choice of imagery, and technique. These skills have been invaluable, as I’ve incorporated digital technology into my work. For example, with both painting and digital compositing, I first start with a sketch, then think about layout and composition, and finally color it. The canvas is another factor that these two worlds have in common in that they both provide a specific space to combine media and ideas.
My research for this MA has focused on how human portraiture can be depicted by merging classical and digital techniques. As the primary material for this depiction I use video footage, which I capture with my video camera. The subjects are mostly people I know for a long time because this gives me the opportunity of a deeper penetration of the individual’s singular mode of being. This penetration is documented through a further digital manipulation, which I apply with the use of advanced image compositing and manipulating software.
The intention of my work is to show both the physical and emotional condition of a human subject. Some times I use facial expressions to translate human emotion while others I use various compositing methods to connect visually the physical state of the subject with the emotional one.
As another means to depict human emotion, I also incorporate audio which itself is a medium that can be manipulated or created visually by re-designing or expressing it through imagery, color, and movement. The final result is used to portray feelings of anger, frustration, happiness or love. Applied as I described, sound stops being a graphical depiction of technical information, but changes visually and expresses the portrait of a sound.
Music has always been a growing influence in my life and also has led me to compose my own soundtracks through the use of sequencer-based software. To me, narrating music is like video narration and many times I find myself connecting these two elements (visual and sound) together. Now by fusing the audio and visual imagery together, the portrait can be further enhanced to convey the emotion being expressed by the subject.
At the start of this project, my intentions were to examine how digital technology can aid in the creation of a portrait and create fully developed depictions of their identity using new digital and hybrid techniques. It seems to me that modern day society has lost the art of portraiture due to today’s accessibility of image-capturing technology. I’ve always believed that with the existing technological options, time has presented us a new opportunity to re-examine the process of portraiture. That was the reason that forced me to begin my research initially from a more technical point of view. Essentially, I now want to redefine portraiture and it’s meaning in our contemporary society.
During development stages, I investigated lengthy the similarities and differences of candid portraiture and studio portraiture in the shaping of identity. Another technical aspect was the exploration of unique software to be used as my primary tool (material) for this project. Obviously this software had to incorporate editing and compositing capabilities as my work was totally based in video imaging. Much like the tools of a painter, they gave me endless ways to create expression and make a visual and audible reality of every idea and thought I had. Through this research, I realized soon on that today’s professional video manipulation software is more accessible and affordable than ever before and so it’s more possible for video and digital artists to learn new techniques and produce a higher quality of work.
Another aspect of my work included the investigation of contemporary artists who work with similar ideas or produce art with the same process I use. Ι tried not to limit my self however so I started researching work relevant to my artistic interests in every field: painting and classical arts (sculpture, etching), music and audio design, and cinema and theatre. That proved to be a very influential part on my practice as I was simultaneously developing new and unfamiliar skills in capturing video footage and audio manipulation. My goal was to develop a unique way of narration and editing but also I wanted to draw upon historical techniques in regards to face and figure depiction and incorporate them to my final work.
Interactivity was an issue that basically came up at the second phase of my research as I thought of using the viewer as the factor that drives the manipulation and distortion of my portraits. After technical experimentation however, I decided to abandon the interaction and focus on the quality of the visual result. Probably because I believe that the power of art is hidden in the ability of each individual to create and present something in a very unique personal way. I was concerned that my visual representation of another’s portraiture wouldn’t be clear and fair enough if it was driven by an external factor.
In addition, the feasibility to include all facets of one’s identity became very challenging and seemed too daunting. As a result, the project shifted to focus more solely on the emotion being captured and conveyed through portraiture both visually and audibly. Taking it one step further, I thought it would be also interesting to create a digital depiction or portrait of one of those particular instances, a mind frame, which encapsulates that state of mind.
An example of the above idea is Human Generated Abstraction (HGA), a short video that I created shown at the Abstraction Exhibition at Wilson Gallery of Camberwell College of Arts. HGA was a visual portrait of a sound as well as a depiction of a particular state of my mind. The project though was soundless. I consider this work very important to my personal development as an artist because for the first time I had created something without the use of audio. As a result, I started researching silent visuals and how they influence and affect the viewer and how sound communicates with people through color and composition. I believe that was the biggest turn in my work and it proved to be the last one as I’m still currently developing it.
I’ve been studying and working in fine arts for a long time. Over the past few years however, I’ve come to fuse my training with new digital video and audio technology. Now as a digital artist, I am always interested in learning and developing new video compositing methods to challenge the direction of my work. I truly consider digital post-production as the next logistical step in my life.
Camberwell College of Arts
18 March 2008
The initial aim of this project was to re-define human portraiture in our digital society by creating with hybrid techniques a human portrait of identity. As this project was developing, after research and lot of experimentation with the digital medium, I have decided to focus more on the emotion that is been captured and conveyed through portraiture and less on the portrait it self as a fully developed paradigm of private information.
From the experience I have acquired from this unit, I have realized that the fusion of audio and visual imagery enhances the portrait by conveying the emotional state of the human-subject in a more informative way that almost reaches realism. Taking it one step further I had the idea to orientate my work in the creation of one of those particular instances, that we are not able to describe or recall, but they encapsulate the exact emotional state of our mind. I called them mind frames because they remind me the frames of a video footage.
The creation of one of my projects named ‘Human Generated Abstraction’ gave me good experience on creating something graphical from a black empty canvas. That was also a big step for the process I usually follow to create my work because sound was missing completely from the development as well as the final piece.
Concerning the digital portrait I still have to make a series of studies on face depiction and distortion in order to describe emotional states. Also motion and interaction tests (with the viewer) have to take place for better understanding the need of the interaction for my project.
For the final show I will require monitors preferably slim ones with good resolution, a pair of speakers for the audio needs, wii remotes and IR leds for the head tracking technique. The whole installation will be placed in a small dark room or inside a wooden cubistic construction, which I call ‘the box’. The idea is to isolate the viewer from external elements that might disorientate him.
Phrases taking from the book ‘Francis Bacon Portraits and Heads’
‘The triptych form allow Bacon to show different aspects of the same face or to contrast images of three different people (including, sometime, himself).”
“Portraying three contrasting views of the same subject may also indicate a conception of human identity as fluctuating and relative.”
i have decided to unite all the studies in one piece