When I’m not a digital Designer I’m a digital Artist

Here Abi talks about the light-bulb moment, which led her to adding 'digital artist' to her skill-set.. From going to PC World to print some holiday snaps, to smashing computers to create unique images. This is about discovering a new form of digital art that is both fun and does not involve UX... 

You guys know the merits of digital art, but back in Suffolk in the Dark ages of 2019 it was akin to blasphemy. All the same, my light-bulb moment came courtesy of PC World, when, late one December armed with my linux drive full of holiday snaps, I went down to transfer the files to my PC laptop. But £50 and one phone call later I was informed that they couldn’t transfer the files and that my hard drive was corrupted - this was worse than when Boots slapped 'Warning!' Stickers on my artful portraiture!

I probably spent too much time during that no mans period between Christmas and New year staring at the shapes where my snaps used to be, but I started to see patterns and relics of the original. Bringing them into photoshop and using a weird set of tools, the ‘smudge, dodge, burn type tools, I created an abstract landscape.

Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 12.24.00.png

Then I created some more, I showed them to friends, shared them on instagram until one friend said 'yeahhhhhh… but you're not a real artist until you have a show….'

Now there’s a challenge!! But my problems here were two fold:

  1. I didn't want to be hung for blasphemy.

  2. I didn’t know how to recreate the mess that PC World made.

So, I called upon my friend who was  a tinkerer, and after selecting some strategic tools we fished through his “spare hardware” box and got to work. Quite some hours and a few ciders later we managed to corrupt the files, but there is a fine line between “distressed” and “completely buggered”.

Smashing Computers to make Art

With the knowledge that I could recreate the process I set about looking for a gallery outside the clutches of the Coastal Water Colour Mafia and, I did it, I had a show! Then an exhibition, commissions, events, art fairs, and all the while the artworld was getting more receptive to digital art, with the printing and finishes getting more and more exciting. It was Fun! And that was the point really. Infact, no, more to the point was that no UX was involved…

My side project made from Incompetence, Obsession and Random Tinkering was the antithesis to UX. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it was the Antichrist to the UX Religion. But it got me thinking,... what about the woman who gave me the information to begin with? What about mother nature, didn't she have a say?

Live Weather Feed created with processing to animate the clouds.

So with processing, and a little more help from my friend, I used a live weather feed to influence the moment of the leaves, clouds and time of day… (this is pre-recorded - you can’t rely on the British Weather!)

But UX wouldn’t let it lie “Antichrist, Antichrist it’s not all about screens!"... It had a point! So I started recording the sound of the landscapes where I took the pictures, but being a designer, I couldn’t get past the beauty of the structure of the actual soundwaves and how they, too, reflected the landscapes. 

Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 13.39.28.png

My next project is going to be with 3D  printing and a little more help from my friend, in order to create sound sculptures. But for now I’m out of time, thanks for reading. I’m Abi.

Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 13.51.38.png
Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 13.53.04.png


If you are interested in discussing a speaking opportunity please get in touch.