Artem Marchuk - Artist Interview Series - Electric Objects

Artem Marchuk

Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine

Suprematism in Motion investigates an important question: how can we bring classical art into the digital art domain?”

— Alex, Electric Objects
Can you tell us about your process?

First I read a lot about an artwork I’m going to work on. I want to learn as much as I can about it and it’s creator. Some texts written by the creator himself are especially good. For example before making Black circle by Kazimir Malevich I read his books From cubism and futurism to suprematism and About new systems in art. That is mind boosting! And that not only broaden your perspective, but also may give some cues on how to further treat the artwork.

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Then I try to recreate an art piece from scratch as close to original as possible. I do not cut and slice the original, I recreate it using digital tools. I do it either in Photoshop or After Effects. I start from simple shapes then pile dozens and dozens of effects, procedures, generators and manual drawing layers.

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For some artworks I recreate scene in 3D. And even if final result doesn’t look like 3D scene, it gives just another perspective when you work on that.

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And then comes the most intensive and time-consuming part — animation. I try to avoid tweening and make manual key animation, this way I kind of try to bridge. I make quite a few layers of effects and motion details. A lot of render-tweak-render iterations. The main thing here is to find the right point to stop, otherwise iterations may be endless.

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Can we see a picture of your workspace and/or desktop?

There is none. My workspace is where my laptop is. I try to use every minute I have wherever I am. Though I dream of having workspace like that with EO1s and other digital art screens instead:

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Where are you typing this from?
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What do you watch/listen to while working?

A lot of Bowie’s Blackstar in past two weeks. I believe with that he reapproved himself as a Truestar. And Blackstar track is a kind of self-performed requiem. A lot of ambient — Ishq, Loscil are especially good (if you listen to Goat Mountain by Loscil while looking to Black Circle by Malevich — you’ll see everything in this artwork). Some classics like Erik Satie, Verdi, Strauss. And sometimes psychedelics like Mood Duo, Wooden Shjips, Psychic Ills.

What have you been working on lately?

Moving colors — I’m exploring how to bridge various oil and watercolor paintings techniques to animated artworks. How oil colors can be animated? What does it mean for oil painting to be at 25fps? Soon I’ll release a short series on that exploration and will share the results.

El Lisitski artworks — I started to make animated concepts based on works of famous Russian avant-garde artist, designer and architect El Lisitski. His work was very influential, and helped Malevich in developing suprematism, so it is a logical step for me to explore El Lisitski works in my research of how to bring classic art to digital art screens.

What work of yours are you most proud of?

None so far. I mean, not that I’m overly demanding to myself. I’m just at the very beginning of this path into making art. And my major focus now is to learn and comprehend what all these geniuses of the past had done, reflect on that legacy, and understand what is the curve into the future, what is art in our time and how it will evolve with things like EO1, what does it mean for legacy art and what new forms it may bring. Though I especially like my remake of Suprematism by Ivan Kliun — I recreated it completely from scratch using shapes in 3D space and no textures at all — only generated effects and procedurals. And the final 3D animated result is extremely close to the original artworks. I tried to make animation as subtle as possible. Ideally I would even leave just floating in space with little rotation.

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What tools do you use in your work?

Photoshop, After Effects, Cinema 4D, Wacom.

Any last advice for the folks just starting out?

Just keep learning. Even you feel like you’re strong at what you do, just keep looking for something that you don’t know yet, something emerging or just something new to you.

I watch tons of courses on various technologies and tools, and besides being good for skills, it is quite inspirational to find something new, to connect dots between various techniques and tools, to have ideas how to mash up different technologies.

Top Five Most Influential Visuals

William Turner, Snow Storm: Steam-Boat off a Harbour's Mouth, 1842

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William Turner, Sunrise with Sea Monsters, 1845

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Annie Lapin, Phase Pre-Portrait No. 3, 2011

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Ilya Chashnik, Red Circle on Black Surface, 1925

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Salvador Dali, Atavism at Twilight, 1934

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What are the best places to see your work?
Favorite file formats?
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HTML. I believe code would be the new art technique and practicing coding for artists would be as essential as practicing oil painting in the past. And Open Web Platform (including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, SVG, etc.) is the best candidate for that as of today.

What sites do you visit for inspiration?

FFFFOUND! — you never know what kind stuff you’ll stumble upon there.

ffffound.com

All Bēhance Served sites, especially Art Served.

artserved.com

Gandalf's Gallery on Flickr has great collection of fine art of all times.

flickr.com/photos/gandalf
Whose work do you follow?

I rarely kind of follow. Usually when I find someone interesting I just try to learn as much as possible about the person and find all the works immediately. Kim Frohsin was one such of my recent very inspirational findings. Among other modern artists I like art of Joel Shapiro a lot.

Thanks for the interview,
Artem