Digital artist and coder Zach Lieberman has collaborated with WeTransfer’s creative studio on Color Push, an online painting experience offering users a creative break while waiting for files to travel through the ether. The in-browser platform offers its wallpaper as a blank canvas along with a set of brushes with various functions, and gives the user 90 seconds to create their artwork – expressing themselves and taking a moment for reflection in the process.
“The collaboration was very open-ended,” Lieberman tells It’s Nice That of the project’s conception. “We came up with five or six ideas and settled on something that was a meditative experience. They (WeTransfer) don’t want you to be on their site for too long, you transfer a file and go on your way. So the idea was to make that a moment of creativity.”
“It came out of these experiments I’ve been doing on my Instagram, which is something I love doing,” he continues. “We wondered how we could make that into a gestural tool. The concept centred on this question of ‘what would it look like if you throw a rock into a pool of water?’”
The experience is therefore designed to replicate the behaviour of watercolour paint, with each of the six buttons / brushes applying different textures and effects on the canvas. One applies solid colour, another more watery, another fuzzy, one slows the movement and another shifts and blurs the canvas itself. It’s hoped users will play with the brushes and experiment with their effects in an intuitively artistic way, helping them to zone out from day-to-day tasks. Then after 90 seconds, they can download and share their unique creation with the hashtag #colorpush to a growing online gallery.
“I often develop and collaborate through software,” Lieberman explains. “This is soft, malleable software. The parameters are the brushes, and you can add more or less visual noise and chaos. You’re painting and pushing colour at the same time, and the creation is informing the change. Some of the presets are more chaotic, some are more organised. There’s a range of brush sizes, colours and how they’re applied. A bit like how a painter would use wide or wispy lines.”
“I think part of it is getting to a point where making and sharing work is very natural. You shouldn’t put a lot of pressure on what you’re doing,” he adds in a statement. “There’s a part of your brain which is full of negative voices, but you need to listen to the other part that is more about intuition and play. We need to reduce the friction between having an idea and putting it out into the world.”
Mikey Casalaina, front-end developer at WeTransfer, adds that the project started with the canvas of the WeTransfer background, which has a history of being used for great artwork, and using brand colours and shapes developed “a back-and-forth play experiment, a moment of zen”.