NUDE ROBOT: DANTE & VIRGIL 02

“My son, you've seen the temporary fire and the eternal fire; you have reached the place past which my powers cannot see. I've brought you here through intellect and art; from now on, let your pleasure be your guide; you're past the steep and past the narrow paths."

By Balthazar Malevolent

NUDE ROBOT: DANTE & VIRGIL 02

Sam Shea, aka Nude Robot, has combined the digital world with the real world, creating weird and wonderful simulations from Milkwaukuee, Wisconsin. The 32 year old's CGI work has garnered nearly 50K followers on instagram, with his followers likening his work to that of Dave Myers.

I self taught myself 3D after graduating, realising I didn’t have a job. I started editing and doing advertising animations, while working on the 3D in my spare time. It was a really special process of transforming my former art trades into a digital one. Everything I’ve learned so far primed me to transition into animation. A painting background/knowing colour science helps for integrating 3D elements correctly. Studying theatre and puppeteering gave me a deep knowledge of how to animate an inanimate objects. How to give something life. Studying large scale costume, dance, photoshop, project management… I could go on and on!

Usually I just shoot in my neighborhood Chinatown, Los Angeles for my simpler videos. I look for open spaces and colours that will pop my characters. I feel pretty crazy all the time because I have to very diligently film imaginary object in order to later insert them. People always wonder what I'm doing. I try to shoot on clear days, around 4pm onwards, in order to get these long, romantic shadows. If you look through all my work you’ll notice how intentional I am about this. Shadows are so important, they tell a truth that the eye can’t deny. I used to do a lot of Plein-air/outdoor painting with my dad, so I think I discovered the importance of long shadows early on.

I think the contemporary art world will continue to digitise alongside society, but digital art will take some time to become the predominant “art form”. Other art mediums are easier to commodify into investments for collectors, but I think digital art in the social era is this really big baby that’s just starting to to walk now, so it’s really exciting seeing where it goes. Its identity is still being formed as it moves beyond the initial spectacle of the technology itself.

I used to make large scale costumes in college. Very much inspired by Nick Cave’s Sound Suits and other Mardi Gras suits. Now, the forms are more about giving the impression of humanity without showing recognisable parts. So you can feel a person but not see them. Not seeing a face is key. When you see face or eyes you go into a completely different part of the brain. I’m trying to keep it in that in-between zones. Where you recognise it but don't understand it at the same time. It becomes much more about playing with peoples visual expectations.

Art becoming more populous and less elite. More universal. People need art. People need mystery and depth, even if we're at this complete saturation point of "content culture". Visual art has a new responsibilities and new opportunities in this new world. It's exciting and totally terrifying at the same time. As people I feel like we're kind of done with this reality. There is a reason why medium is flourishing now. AR/VR/Compositing. We're kind of eagerly awaiting the next phase of visual reality. Business people will dictate it but it's creatives who will guide.

Andrew Thomas Huang is an amazing example of how to use CGI in the most tasteful way possible, where the CGI elements are synergised with the storytelling and incredible art design. Specifically his video, Solipsis, was really influential on me. Seeing somebody translate the traditional fibre/costume world into a digital realm, but with the usage of practicals and some CGI garnish. Phenomonal. A big inspiration.

Dante & Virgil

In other news, Rick Owens Fall 2021 fashion show. On the subject of underthings, the pentagram briefs from the January men’s show reappeared here wrapped around evening clutches, the implication being that these alien females had handled the “unhinged male aggression” that those briefs signified.

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