Marpi Studio, based in America, is a digital design studio that creates art that defies definition. There's a little Virtual Reality, a little Augmented Reality and a little bit strange. You really need to experience their work to understand it. This week I got the chance to grill Marpi himself and find out what it takes to create some of these weird and wonderful works of art.
Desert © Marpi Studio
Here's what he had to say:
Q: Your digital art seemingly defies explanation. How would you categorize it?
A: Haha. I don't really think I have any reason to categorize it and I personally try to avoid narrow definitions. I can see how it might be temporarily helpful, especially when certain technology or type of expression gets popular, but when the cycle passes, I wouldn't want to get defined by it.
"what if we do to art what Minecraft did to games?"
Q: What do you want people to feel when they experience your work?
A: I like sharing getting lost in the flow state. When I create, I'm trying to make it an open environment with enough control given to people experiencing it that they can build their own interactions or small narratives. Like, "what if we do to art what Minecraft did to games?" -- democratize creation.
Wave First © Marpi Studio
Q: What is the design process like?
A: I think all of this comes together. The programming languages, tools and engines are getting simpler, allowing more organic creation. To help with an easy start to new projects, I have templates I built and updated over time that let me start without much planning. That allows me to capture the fleeting moments, random ideas, and just lets me play a bit and see "what if?".
As I'm experimenting with different forms or interactions, at some point during testing I get kind of lost in it -- that usually means there's something there. At that point, I bring it to my roommates and without saying much, I ask them what they see and what they think -- and if they're curious too, it becomes a real project.
Sleeping © Marpi Studio
Q: Do you work alone or with others?
A: My projects are a mix of back and forth. I value my time alone, and I really enjoy going really deep into a complex system, but also it's just so much more fun to share. We're currently experimenting within our small collective, trying to find a way to work together without the typical company structure.
Q: How do you find the balance between color, form and sound?
Character in Motion © Marpi Studio
Q: Which piece are you most proud of?
A: It's a bit less specific, projects come and go and there's always a next one. To be completely honest, I'm really happy I was able to go independent and just make art with friends. It's still incredibly risky and who knows how it's going to go, but well, why not try? So far, so worth it 🙂
"my first projects...were technically just glitches, but they looked cool."
Q: What's your background?
A: I grew up in Poland, I was exposed to computers from a really young age, and as they developed it was clear to me that it's something worth playing with. I studied 3 years at the Academy of Fine Arts, but I've learned most of my skills from open-source projects, digging into code examples, using them as building blocks to build my first projects, which were technically just glitches, but they looked cool.
Looking Glass Algae © Marpi Studio
Q: What inspires you?
A: It's really hard to pinpoint a specific thing. I could maybe divide it:
I get inspired by everything that happened in my life, pieces of it flow into what I create and now from the perspective I see art has been an outlet for me, through both good and bad times.
For the core ideas, I recently found my childhood doodles that really resemble my current large scale interactive doodles.
Aroha © Marpi Studio
Q: What can we expect from you in the future?
A: Haha. We're working on a couple fun things I could tease a bit. Somewhere in between holograms and haptics, electric motorcycles and robots, and a new art space in Bay Area. Some of it is coming open-source really soon.
Q: Where can I find more of your work?
A: You can find us on most of the platforms, but we keep the main hub on our website.
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