If most of your childhood was spent playing Sims, “motherloding” your way to the lushest mansion Pleasantview has to offer, then join the club. For most of us the obsessive Sims-days led to little more than stunted social skills. For digital artist Claudia Maté, however, playing video games was what inspired her creative pursuits. “When I was ten years old, I spent all my savings on a computer. At first I only used it to play video games. But after a few years, I started experimenting with all its various creative possibilities like photoshop and 2D animation. By 17 I started making money from it,” the Paris-based artist tells It’s Nice That.
Claudia’s practice now spans a huge range of media, including programming, 3D, video, video games, VR, gifs and sound design. Her immaculate attention to detail and carefully considered renderings have attracted a long list of famous clients like Gucci, Dazed and MTV. Claudia’s latest project – a music video for Kelela’s song Frontline – imagines a Sims-like version of the musician breaking up with her fictional boyfriend before driving off in a convertible.
Frontline, which was a collaboration between Claudia, Kelela and the musician’s creative director Mischa Notcutt, required an alternative creative process to Claudia’s previous work; the digital artist usually conceptualises her projects alone. Kelela, Claudia explains, played a major part in producing the Frontline’s storyboard. “Kelela wanted to tell a very specific story through this video and Sims-like characters felt like the best way to do it. It was perfect because I love telling stories and I love the Sims. It was very funny reading the video’s comments. Kelela’s fans keep asking for her avatar’s wigs and outfits. You can’t find them on the video game though; we created everything from scratch.”
Claudia’s accomplished portfolio is a rabbit hole of bizarre and fantastical artworks. An earlier project saw her recreating David Bowie’s eye as a levitating, blinking globule. Another video depicts a digitally rendered female bodybuilder from the inside out. Claudia’s personal favourite, she says, is the ongoing project Cloaque.org, an online collaborative patchwork of digital images. “I started the website with Carlos Saez in 2012 and it’s still going strong. We have spent these past few years creating content and connecting with other creatives through this online art project. Cloaque has allowed us to travel and meet a lot of amazing artists but I still feel we have a lot more to do on it.” The “digital landfill” is a prime example of the artist’s forward-thinking and innovative approach to art. Her willingness to experiment with every tool available to her allows for transgressive and thought-provoking instances of self-expression.
It is the infinite expressive and creative possibilities that digital platforms offer that intrigue Claudia, who is always looking to learn and grow with the rapid rate at which technology is advancing. “Maybe one day I will get focus on something more specific. But until I discover what I want to spend the rest of my life doing, I will keep learning, exploring and cultivating my mind through new technological developments.”
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