Gutless Wonder is waiting in line to occupy up the window-front spot at Wieden+Kennedy’s Brick Lane branch. Over the last few months, the ad agency has been hosting a Makers’ Residency. Curated by the inimitable Maisie Willoughby, Wieden+Kennedy has invited a stellar list creatives to take up short-term residencies on the ground floor of their London office, culminating in a string of exhibitions in the space. So far, Makers include Daniel David Freeman, who exhibited customised kimonos and military wear, and Kyle Platts, who expanded on the Xerox posters he started in Australia earlier this year. Next, there’s tattoo artist Martha Smith, hatter Curro Coronel, and mixed media artist Gutless Wonder. “Gutless wonder felt like a contemporary addition to the curation given her use of modern technique,” Maisie told us. “She is the optima of modern craft, exactly what Wieden+Kennedy hope to celebrate through Makers’ Residency.”
Where each of the other creatives involved in the project produce tangible, physicalised work, Gutless Wonder’s output is a little hard to explain, residing “between dimensions searching for answers and leaving marks along the way.” Gutless Wonder themselves is equally nebulous, identifying as a genderless “new world explorer who exists between the realm of pixels and the physical world”.
After being awarded a distinction in their art foundation at Falmouth, Gutless Wonder studied fine art and became “increasingly fascinated by the possibility of the computer as a tool for creating artworks”. Next up was an MA in 3D Computer Animation “where they developed sculpting and painting skills using 3D Computer softwares”, followed by a place at the Pictoplasma Academy in Berlin “where they were immersed in a series of intense workshops on developing characters”.
“I come from a fine art background with broad training in painting, printmaking, sculpture and photography,” they say. “All of this experience informs my practice in the digital space. Since completing a Masters degree in 3D computer animation I approach my computer as another tool with which to sculpt, paint, light and photograph my work. The possibilities created by digital technology never cease to amaze and delight me. The digital space provides endless access to different materials. Of course the first one I had to start playing with was gold – free, limitless gold! Who could resist?”
These days, Gutless Wonder uses imaginary characters rendered with the help of ZBrush and Cinema 4D, Photoshop, Illustrator, Blender” and when using a PC – Autodesk Softimage and Mari” to communicate “fine art concepts”. “There are a huge amount of tools, techniques and outputs available when you work with 3D software,” Gutless Wonder explains. “I’m constantly exploring new spaces to push my work from renders to animations and 3D printed sculptures or jewellery. I even do some digital embroidery when I find the time. I’m just coming to the end of a residency at the Machines Room in Bethnal Green where I’ve been exploring the potential of 3D printed plates for intaglio printing and, at the same time, building robots for an app which will introduce kids to 3D printing. I’m keen to work on more games. Building a whole world is amazing and the idea that people can explore and interact with my creations is wonderful to me.”
That is not to say that Gutless Wonder’s work is exclusively made digitally however: they are also a keen sculptor, sketcher, photographer, screen printed and knitter. Their work has explored happiness, an Atlanta strip club called Magic City, a reimagined Mickey Mouse and nuclear warfare using a cast of kawaii pastel-coloured characters.
As for the inspiration behind their multi-coloured, highly-patterned work, Gutless Wonder says: “my inspiration comes from exploring themes of spirituality, community and aspects of modern society through the lens of playful 3D sculpted characters, patterns and scenarios. I try to make work that is relentlessly positive to encourage others to think of the love, kindness and fun around them in the world. It’s a reminder to myself as much as anyone else. Positivity is one of the most powerful tools freely available at every persons disposal. My work seeks to encourage people to smile and remember the power of their positivity.”