Upon stumbling across these comical digital creations, perhaps you’d be surprised to hear that Person918x has a name. He, in fact, goes by the title of Daniel Euphrat – “I don’t expend a lot of effort by keeping myself anonymous or getting my name out to the public,” he tells It’s Nice That. Daniel continues to explain how the number 918 is also a variation that he’s used online for quite some time now, and is something that he’s continued to use since childhood when he thought he had a premonition about the date September 18th. “Note that nothing interesting has happened to me on any September 18th since,” he says, “and it has become a fairly arbitrary designation for myself.”
Looking back to his youth, Daniel was always encouraged creatively but art and design wasn’t something he turned towards until later on in life. “I never showed proficiency for drawing or painting,” he tells us, “so my first pursuits were music and writing.” Having grown frustrated with the fact that his music and writing didn’t reach much of an audience, he soon realised that he himself was quite unlikely to “click through a random music link or read a giant wall of text.” It was down to technology that he therefore discovered visual art, a path he found through the internet and its ability to transcend imagery into a sphere of immediate viewing and clicks. “You can see an image and you can instantly determine if it’s something you care about or not,” he adds, commenting how, at the same time, free software like Blender and GIMP had enabled digital art to become much easier than before. “I looked at what media I enjoyed consuming and set out to create more of that.”
Daniel is inspired by a number of artists, including the likes of Tumblr blogger and musician Angel Marcloid who he refers to as his introduction into the world of web and Vaporwave art. Elsewhere, he cites David O’Reilly’s animations as his gateway into 3D rendering, “beyond the Hollywood and Pixar mould”, and looks to his own experiences to fuel his influences. “Occasionally, I’m lucky enough to have a dream that gives me an idea, but most of the time I have to find inspiration in the real world, whether from somewhere in the image refuse pile in the Imgur’s usersub, or corporate logos or waiting rooms. Basically anything that resonates with me in some way,” he explains. “I am often drawn to things that give me a feeling of alienation – or perhaps make my exiting feelings of alienation more concrete.”
Despite these concrete references, Daniel explains that he spends a “good part” of his daily process waiting for inspiration, which he feels can be very frustrating. Then once the moment strikes, he will search the internet for free 3D models to illustrate his idea. “The final product will end up being some interaction between my initial idea and the limitations of the software and what 3D models I can find,” he adds on the matter. It’s the limitations in his process that he finds most interesting, where he tends to actively seek these barriers in the tools in order to “invigorate the process” and surprise him with an end result “that’s actually more interesting” than what he first set out to make.
Putting thoughts into practice, one of his most recent images, titled Heaven [above], takes much of its context from a 1970s book about the “psychology of dreaming”. Daniel looks at these narrative-led series as being similar to comics, which explains the text at the top and the scenic moment. “The book includes a list of common daydreams,” he continues. “As an atheist and materialist who was raised Christian, I find the concepts of heaven and hell very interesting. In this comic, I was thinking about how common conceptions of heaven represent simple, culturally specific material desires.” Thus, he landed on an image of someone entering into their “eternal reward” without having to receive any sort of “higher understanding or wisdom”.
As a whole, Daniel’s work is deceptively deep and instantly appealing. His main goal is to create works that he would appreciate himself if he were to stumble across it while browsing the internet: “If I’m growing the internet, it’s because I’m trying to escape boredom,” he concludes. And let’s be honest, his works are far from dull.