BY TAYA PHOENIX
Emerson Lomond is a 24-year-old artist living in Perth. Often seen sporting paint-splotched jeans and a leather jacket, he is nothing short of your stereotypical art student. However, his work, which struck me as unusual, unique and refreshing, says otherwise. Emerson describes his work as surrealist, a theme of art that explores the dream world and subconscious but also dabbles in digital media art. This technology-art mix results in “deep dream” videos unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. The use of transitioning images and sound really add to the art, making it come alive by creating a unique and immersive atmosphere.
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview Emerson and gain a deeper understanding of his work, it’s complexity and meaning behind each piece, as well as him as a person and what it means to be an artist…
What made you decide art was something you wanted to pursue?
I’ve been drawing since I was a child, but I think the most important events that lead to my pursuing art would be discovering how to paint in high school and realising that I really enjoyed what I made.
What’s your background?
I had issues with dyslexia and ADHD throughout high school, which in some sense could be seen as a challenge, but in another it pushed me to use art as a medium that was easier for me to excel at. In the years since I’ve found that in an academic context things that were impairments are an advantage in my art. The support of friends and family is pretty important and I’ve been lucky enough to have friends in the art scene I can rely on to get feedback and advice.
How do you go about starting a new piece?
There are a few different methodologies that I’ve found work for different types of artworks. Generally, it helps to have a pretty good idea of what you are trying to achieve, with paintings my preferred method is to muck around in Photoshop and by using collage, create a composition or framework. For some works its good to make a really polished and complex digital version, but for others, all you need is something to help you keep things in proportion when you paint. For 3d digital artwork, I find I have more success just experimenting with whatever the 3d engine can do, trying out different textures, shaders, physics, etc.
What work do you most enjoy doing and do you have a favourite piece?
At the moment I’m playing around with neural networks similar to the Google deep dream code, I enjoy challenging myself, so teaching myself python and experimenting with the potential that this new code has for art is probably the most enjoyable for me right now.
How would you describe your style of art?
I’d describe my paintings as surrealist, but I’m spending most of my time working digitally right now, so I guess media art. The problem with making art with bleeding edge technology is that there isn’t established frameworks for how to categorise artworks except by their medium, so I would say that some of my stuff is art games (different concept to conventional computer games) and some is AI art.
Are there any artist that have inspired you? Do you look at other people’s art for ideas?
My paintings influenced most by Zdzislaw Brzezniak, a Polish painter, photographer and sculptor, specializing in the field of dystopian surrealism, but there are quite a few artists out there that I take inspiration from, Perth artist Rebecca Bauman, and the Melbourne artist Tom Penny, to just name two.
What is an artistic outlook on life?
Finding the beauty in both the complexity of the material world and also the absurdity of existence.