We run an online magazine, so of course, we're interested in what's happening with art on the web. We invited online gallerist, founder, and curator of Digital Sweat Gallery, Christian Petersen, to write a bi-monthly column for us. Every other Wednesday he'll be selecting a Web Artist of the Week. This week Petersen profiles Belgian new media artist Eno Swinnen.
Belgian artist Eno Swinnen is a refreshing anomaly in the world of New Media art. His work uniquely blends the discipline’s tech and brand-obsessed visions with exceptional and meticulous “traditional” illustration skills. Swinnen himself is not sure where he fits in, declaring that he’s “too analogue to really be New Media but too digital or ‘weird’ to really be considered a classic animator.” I feel that his work actually represents a healthy and necessary progression of the form. Although it’s still a relatively young discipline, New Media is already overwhelmed by a number of tired aesthetic tropes and clichés. The best artists in this field create work that remains true to its philosophies but expresses them in new and unexpected ways. Eno Swinnen certainly falls into that category.
Swinnen’s main medium of expression is animated GIFs, which he was drawn to from a young age. “When I was a kid I'd often browse forums to look for cool or funny GIFs, it was just always fascinating how entrancing these short loops could be.” After two or three years at art college he “finally got comfortable enough” with his drawing skills to start experimenting with animation. His GIFs are as time consuming to make as they look, directly contradicting the transient and “disposable” image normally associated with New Media art. “A gif with 120 frames takes me about four long days” to make and that’s only “if everything goes perfectly according to plan.”
The artist’s work is most readily reminiscent of neon-future inspired, graphic art and design from the 1980s. Swinnen says his style was initially inspired by “all these user interfaces in (80s) science fiction movies” but asserts that he doesn’t “have a particular affinity for stuff” from that decade. Instead sci-fi in general informs his work, especially “cool and futuristic looking data visualization” from all eras.
We asked Swinnen to choose a selection of his personal favorites from his exceptional body of work.
(All images courtesy of Eno Swinnen)
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