Simultaneously alluring and grotesque, Bysanz Baisen Zhou’s work sits somewhere between utopia and dystopia. Dense textures and acidic hues coalesce in mesmerising eco-futuristic scenes which demonstrate the young creator’s impressively versatile talent for fashion design, art direction and digital artwork.
It’s a truly multi-disciplinary practice and one borne in part of Bysanz’s fascination with deconstructed club music – both as a creator and a consumer. “The deconstructed club music scene is the main reason I work in the way I do,” he tells It’s Nice That. “It joins so many different elements together: graphic design and CGI (for artwork and covers), fashion design (in music videos), and, most importantly, music and underground club culture. For me, fashion was the best way to mix up all of these experiences together into my own creation.”
The most distinctive aspect of Bysanz’s work is perhaps its use of texture. “Texture is my main focus on every project,” he explains. “Whether that’s the texture of the textiles, the texture of the sounds, the texture of the garments or the texture of the objects in the CGI.” Infinitely detailed and hugely varied, these surfaces form the bedrock of Bysanz’s work, giving both his physical creations and the virtual environments in which they reside their decidedly alien feel.
For Bysanz, these textures enable his garments to transform their wearers into the “strange, futuristic creatures” which gather in these virtual gardens of unearthly delights. In his most recent project, A Better Feeling: Metamorphosis, we see the transformative capacity of Bysanz’s creations in all its glory. A beautiful yet creepy exploration of our increasingly cyborgian dependence on technology, A Better Feeling: Metamorphosis takes its inspiration from the changing bodies of insects – such as a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly – and applies it to the fleshy form of the human body. In a series of images where body and clothing become one, we are asked to consider how our “reliance on all things non-human to aid us through our daily lives makes machines a naturalised extension of our human form.”
“Models are styled in graphic prints and matrix glasses, offset by industrial packs and electrical cables. Layers of silver curby grips crown the model’s head, while eccentric platform shoes and futuristic head braces add a layer of fantasy. Here, technological items are not just accessories but parts of the body,” Bysanz says, unpacking the elements of the images’ construction. He continues: “These images not only challenge social media’s role in overly-scrutinising our body’s shapes – to the point of seeing them as parasitic – but confronts the idea that technology’s ever-evolving sophistication could alter the way our human forms evolve over the next generations. This is our dystopian future and our bodies will have to ‘metamorphise’ to survive.”