For Found in Adobe Stock, It’s Nice That has commissioned two creatives to explore the world of Adobe Stock’s 3D collection to make a series of works using their individual discoveries. Starting from the same jumping off point, the project follows the journey each creative took as their paths diverged into the strange and wondrous depths of the huge collection, and how they used what they found to make beautiful and hypnotic final pieces.
Eva Papamargariti, a Greek-born artist, designer and Royal College of Art graduate, works in the digital realm distorting the every day with her manipulative artworks. Crafting a practice with particular focus on time-based media, the length of time one of Eva’s pieces holds differs from looping, seconds-long gifs to unravelling short films – and everyone from Kenzo to Tate Britain tunes in to watch.
No matter the stretch of time her work elongates over, Eva transports you into a new digitally distorted world. Yet, familiar objects always crop up, challenging the user’s perception and perspective. Creating works that are both synthetic and sincere, Eva’s practice builds a digital landscape from a diverse collection of objects. In doing so, the artist demonstrates the vast creative possibilities of digitally-led work, a task she recently delved into in her series Organic Dynamics, using Adobe Stock’s 3D collection.
To craft her ideas into a cohesive concept for the series, Eva began by scrolling through Adobe’s limitless 3D collection. In the process, she discovered that many 3D objects were similar, but through “unexpected, uncanny qualities,” she tells It’s Nice That.
Most of these were digital replicas of items from the natural world; rocks, plants, tentacles and glass, for instance. But while being objects Eva recognised, their aesthetic “seemed a bit like they were extracted from an artificial imaginary landscape,” she continues. This landscape was one she decided to craft, thinking of her chosen stock objects “as small individual fragments/extracts of landscapes”.
As “some are of them are quite abstract and some have very distinctive form, texture and function,” Eva’s job was to combine each with a movement and aesthetic so it made cohesive sense under the umbrella term of Organic Dynamics. “My intention,” the artist explains, “was to combine both aspects and create interactions between those two systems that can provoke an expected feeling.”
The result is five animated sequences showing fluid motion by combining organic objects and structures animated with simulated physics parameters such as wind and gravity. The final selection is not a group of objects you’d ever expect to be woven together in a series, and they’re chosen for exactly that reason.
The first animation in the series is centred around a stock image of a rose and its movement. Where most artists would depict a rose wilting, Eva’s instead melts as if “dissolving inside the folding surface,” she describes.
Selecting a piece of shattered glass as a secondary stock image to pair with the rose, a contrast between the two should be obvious. However, due to Eva’s chosen animation style, they instead merge together “almost like its disappearing and rebuilding itself again,” she points out. This motion is then extenuated by her addition of rose petals, “to give a slightly mesmerising effect”.
In Eva’s second animation her elements become more abstract. Beginning with the central element of a rock, even though a mermaid’s tail that sits on top undoubtedly draws the viewer’s eye.
This is due to the artist’s animation technique pairing the two, but only having the rock move up and down and therefore forcing the mermaid’s tail to jump around in reaction. “My intention was to have these very simple but distinct objects interacting with each other in an unusual way, creating a paradoxical situation,” the artist explains. “The object that usually stands inanimate, the rock, here is becoming the motion force that makes the tail move up and down; it feels like they are linked together in a way, while the leaves falling create an otherworldly, soothing sensation.”
By carefully selecting both the object and the animated movement which would distort it, Eva’s animations also differ in tone. Where some distort “in a more playful or regular way, like the rocks exploding and hovering,” in others, the artist purposefully chose “to bring a weirder or more irregular vibe to the motion".
This use of animation allows the individual gifs to come together as a sequence, thanks to Eva’s creative aesthetic too. “In my practice, a very fundamental process is creating textures and experimenting with intense and diverse colour palettes,” she explains on the topic. “I wanted to create an eerie feeling for these small landscapes, especially because many of the objects I chose are very distinctive in form and function.” To subvert the viewer into understanding her chosen natural objects as a new artificial entity, Eva manipulated each 3D stock object into something “irregular or otherworldly”. In turn, expanding on the artificial quality of the objects that first attracted her to use them in the first place.
Eva’s third piece showcases how you can use the most unassuming assets in the Adobe Stock collection with mammoth effect, and is made of rocks and boulders moving to reveal a shell. However Eva amplifies their stock state with pattern and digital licks of paint, wanting “to create this dreamy sense of rocks of hovering and shattering in a void that feels like space,” she explains.
Possibly the most organic objects Eva’s chosen in the project, her digital manipulation of them is purposeful, wrapping each in “these synthetic and kind of shiny textures for the objects to contradict their very organic nature,” she explains. In turn, by breaking apart one after the other the viewer can take in the altered appearance of each rock individually.
Eva’s next animation combines three elements from the Adobe Stock collection, merging together a leafless tree, a chain and a beetroot rooted from the ground, designed on top of a reflective floor.
Placed together paradoxically – as many of Eva’s animations have been – here the contradictory animated quirk is that the beetroots “fall from the tree instead of growing in the ground,” the artist explains.
By playing with how the viewer perceives these home-grown objects, Eva purposefully creates “this eerie feeling in the animation,” she explains.
This is enhanced by the further objects added, as the tree appears to look as though it’s trying to escape from the clings of the chain that surrounds it, animated to appear as if bending back and forth “and at the same time leans towards its own reflection on the mirror”.
The final addition to Eva’s animations manipulates another unlikely object, a loose tentacle that looks like its cut loose from an octopus or flailing from a creature you’d see in a sci-fi film. Choosing objects from the ‘splash’ 3D selection in the Adobe Stock collection, the artist paired it with frozen waves splashing in orange, and the alien-like herb – cloudberries.
“I wanted to create something that looks a bit like a creature and a small landscape at the same time,” Eva explains to us. By using a “fractured way motion” when animating the splashes, the tentacles zoom in and out as if growing, while the cloudberries hop up and down. As a result, the artist creates her very own “twisted seascape,” she suggests.
Working with the Adobe Stock collection in such a conceptually driven way wasn’t a new experience for Eva, as stock imagery has multiple effective qualities within her practice. Sometimes, it helps spur on the initial phase of her project in order “to visualise ideas in many different ways,” she explains. At other times, it’s useful further into a project, if she wants “to accomplish specific concepts.”
Well versed in what to look for and how to operate a stock collection, working with Adobe was particularly useful for Eva when developing the project’s conceptual stance. “The diversity of the objects and their textures encouraged me to experiment again on creating more surreal combinations of materials and object interactions on the animations,” actually something the artist hadn’t experimented with in a while too.
Now with the five animations individually finished and Organic Dynamics completed, the process of embedding visually recognisable elements is an approach Eva hopes to take though to her wider work. Hoping to build upon “this impulsive or playful aspect of creating unexpected relationships between digital objects and their surrounding environment.”
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