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

A recent talk I did at the fantastic Reasons.to Conference, a place to Find inspiration and innovation.

Intro Slide

£50 and a phone call later...

You guys know the merits of digital art but back in Suffolk in the Dark ages of 2009 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 a phone call later I was informed they couldn’t transfer the files and my hard drive was corrupted - this was worse than when Boots slapped "Warning!" stickers on my artful portraiture.

Slide 2

Smudge, dodge, burn

I probably spent too much time during that no man's 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 that weird set of tools the ‘smudge, dodge, burn' type tool I created an abstract landscape.

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.
Dan the man. Friend/Tinkerer/Business Partner

Dan the man. Friend/Tinkerer/Business Partner

A fine line

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”.


But 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!

It was Fun! And that was the point

Then an exhibition, commissions, events, art fairs, and all the while the art world was getting more receptive to digital art, and the printing and finishes were getting more and more exciting. It was Fun! And that was the point really. 

My Art: Incompetence, Obsession, Random Tinkering. UX: Complete understanding, Obsession, Methodology.

My Art: Incompetence, Obsession, Random Tinkering. UX: Complete understanding, Obsession, Methodology.

What about mother nature

In fact, 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 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?

"antichrist, antichrist, it's not all about screens"

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

But UX - 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 sound waves and how they too reflected the landscapes.

On the horizon

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


To see the full set of slides click here.

Or YouTube movie coming soon.


I am a digital abstract artist based in Suffolk.
Have a look at my gallery.