“Porcelain-looking 3D babes in dreamy environments partying to Eurodance in transparent latex outfits,” says Stacie Ant when asked to describe her work. The Russian-Canadian new media artist and curator, currently based in Berlin, creates cinematic 3D work that’s riddled with digital influences – as well as these fashionable characters that look as if they’ve travelled back in time from the future.
Although graduating with a BFA in Integrated Media from Ontario College of Art and Design University, Toronto, Stacie more or less self-taught herself the skills that she hones today. “I’ve always been interested in 3D (probably from playing so much Sims as a kid), but I never thought of myself as a technical person – so I shied away from it for a while,” she tells It’s Nice That. “Then, one day, I decided to just sit down in front of my laptop and watch hours of YouTube tutorials to teach myself 3D animation.” Now, her experimental work has been published across the board, including Coeval Magazine, Feltzine, Vice, and Azucar Magazine, and has been shown at numerous exhibitions across New York, Paris, Rome, Toronto and Berlin.
Drawn in by the sheer freedom that the 3D world provides, Stacie left her previous performance and video installation studies and decided to continue making artwork in the digital realm. “I really love working in this medium because it gives me more creative freedom than I had before,” she says. “I can create my own actors, my own clothing and my own sets; in real life it would cost me so much to hire a team or lighting and camera technicians, and it would take forever to convince my friends to come to my house and film some sort of ridiculous video – which we used to do a lot of. But with 3D, you can just make whatever you want, so long as you’re willing to learn how to do it.”
The work that Stacie produces draws from the cinematic. Influenced by the fact that she used to create video art and wanted to be a director, her scenes are therefore colourfully decorated with intricate details, shiny textures and storylines that are open to the viewer’s interpretation. “I personally really enjoy seeing strong female protagonists in film and I’m sad to say that, although we have great progressive cinema developing, the majority of work is still very two-dimensional and male dominated,” she explains. Although it seems that her female-led creations and femme protagonists are a conscious or political decision, it is in fact quite the opposite. “In my mind, there is nothing particularly political about making the protagonist a woman – unfortunately, in today’s age, it is less common for characters to go about their lives who just so happen to be women. So the work inevitably becomes political in itself.”
Stacie’s latest project, Libra Season, was aptly released at the beginning of the Libra season on 23 September. With an aim to make jest of horoscopes and to comment on how much these (predictable) snips of the future have become part of everyday life – as well as being a Libra herself – Stacie shines light onto the worst characteristics that are associated with the zodiac. “The beginning of Libra season also happens to be around the time that Pumpkin Spice Lattes are re-introduced on the menu of most corporate coffeeshops, so the animation is also about the commercial association and commodification of the zodiac.” She goes on to explain how the piece even takes you inside a Starbucks cup, until you’re greeted with Themis, the goddess of justice – “she is crying, like the Virgin Mary, and drowning in Pumpkin Spice Latter fluids.”
With characters dressed in sci-fi high-fashion garments, it comes to no surprise to hear that Stacie’s future plans will evolve around working in fashion and collaborating with designers. As the real-life world becomes even more so intertwined with tech, digital runways and campaigns are therefore becoming the norm. For Stacie, she already feels like a stylist, “having to create the models, dress them up, choose their hair and makeup – and this is just a small part of creating an entire video!” She adds: “I really enjoy this side of my work so moving into fashion design projects would be very exciting for me.”