For Found in Adobe Stock, It’s Nice That has commissioned two creatives to explore the world of Adobe Stock, and 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 image, video and 3D library, and how they used what they found to make beautiful and hypnotic final pieces.
Natalia Stuyk is first and foremost a video artist, known for her surrealist digital landscapes and super saturated hues. Her commissioned work often comes from the fashion industry, for which she creates films and immersive worlds to add a unique edge to a label’s latest wares. This aspect of her portfolio, however, stems from the work she creates off her own back. “It’s a good calling card,” she explains of her passion projects. “The more personal work I do, the more commissions come in.” That way, she guides her commercial practice in whatever fantastical directions she’d like it to go.
With every project she tries something new, taking an element of a previous project that intrigued her most, and running with it in another direction. “It’s an iterative process,” she explains. “This way I’m always adding another tool to my palette.” Rather than letting a project evolve from the start, Natalia prefers to set herself a challenge and then work out how to achieve that aesthetic. “I envisage something and try to get to that point, like puzzle-solving,” she says. This is how she approached the Found in Adobe Stock brief, setting out with the idea to investigate the physical qualities of minerals.
“I analysed my usual work, and broke it down to three themes: abstract shapes, manipulated landscapes, and portraits. These are made into warping loops and organic, fluid motions. I started to have a look through Adobe Stock – they have millions of images so it took a while! I proposed a few ideas, but the one I was most excited about was looking at minerals. I’m interested in contrasting textures, colours and shapes, and my work often ends up being a study of the motion of these things. I always find myself imagining how still things would move.”
Historically, Natalia would be inclined to develop a series using the same manipulation process for every image. For Found in Adobe Stock, however, there was no fixed theme and the variety of what she discovered in Adobe Stock’s library inspired the artist to apply different techniques to each image. “I ended up extruding and layering them in different ways, using the same mineral basis,” she says. “I mixed and matched images I liked. There were so many mineral images – people like shiny things! I had to stop myself going for typical gems and crystals, so the majority of what I ended up using was agate – they have contour lines going through them that I could use for my images. I was looking for anything that I could instantly visualise moving.”
Natalia separated the imagery into groups, and made moodboards to designate them into categories for each final piece. Each image is softened to give the series an illustrated look, and each piece has its own individual source of inspiration. One piece saw her make a tile out of a Stock image, cutting into the tile where the mineral’s contour lines fell and replacing sections of the image with other textures. In another, the artist says she interpreted the image more loosely. “I saw the lines of the mineral like the contour lines over a bird’s eye map of a mountain. Though the shapes are my own. I liked the tonal variation of those images.” For this piece, Natalia stacked and repeated the images using Creative Cloud over 300 layers.
One image was inspired by the negative space in gemstones; this, in contrast to the previous image, only featured three layers. One plays with surrealist perspectives, with clouds in the background, alluding to other dimensions; while another refers to time-lapse images of microscopic cells growing.
Natalia’s favourite, though, is image one. “This reflects my work the most,” she says. “It resembles my existing personal work, as I usually work with organic textures and colours, not geometric shapes. It was my challenge in this project to use rigid forms and animate them in my way. But one is the most organic and fluid.” It also saw her return to a process she hadn’t used for years, layering 2D objects. “It was interesting to revisit an old way of working,” she enthuses. “This project has been interesting for that exploration of process, taking old techniques and applying them to new ones. It’s exciting because I think it will open up a new way for my work to evolve.”
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