Arthur Machado is a Brazilian new media artist who is better known pseudonymously as Tù.úk’z and አርተር ጥቁ. Machado’s earliest experiments with digital art were through glitch art and that hyperactive influence can still be seen throughout his work. Machado’s digital collages of found materials deftly walk the line between lush beauty and informational anarchy. In a way, these artworks are like paintings, with programs standing in for brushes and the internet itself as the paint. Absorbing varied obsessions of net art culture, Machado’s work transcends these influences to feel like a fresh and natural progression of the form.
Christian Petersen: Your Facebook name makes it hard to find any information about you. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Arthur Machado: My name is Arthur Machado, I’m a 25-year-old Brazilian, based in Belém, Pará (Amazonia, Brazil). I live in a small apartment with my mother ♥, my wife (who is pregnant ♥), and my brother ♥.
CP: Why have you chosen to create a mysterious digital persona? I saw one of your works said: “I don’t know why people are so keen to put the details of their private life in public, they forget that invisibility is a superpower.” Is that why it’s important to you?
AM: Well, I enjoy being anonymous. I think it’s important to me because when I started learning about Glitch Art, at that time in my social media network, there were few anonymous accounts—one of them was Od Niwr—and those mysterious accounts always inspired me. I guess I’m subversive. I don’t like things as they are—I like to question them. To question my own perception all the time.
CP: What is the difference between አርተር ጥቁ and Tù.úk’z?
AM: አርተር ጥቁ is just a fake account to control my artistic page Tù.úk'z and to post/interact on Facebook Communities about digital arts and such. And to keep seeing what my digital friends are doing, of course. I learn almost everything from them. I used to have an older account but Facebook removed it and I don’t really know why. So I don’t care thaaaat much about Facebook anymore. They kind of pissed on me.
CP: How does your digital life relate to you “real” life?
AM: Yea… they kinda relate! In my real life, I work as a clerk in an electronic store, and I often work at parties or festivals doing VJ or DJ stuff, where they also know me as Tù.úk'z. In my digital life I’m just someone that keeps posting crazy imagery.
And I actually have affection for the friends I’ve made from 2013 till now in the digital world. Facebook can delete profiles, but they can’t remove friendships. I’m really proud of my friends and for the communities of digital arts on Facebook.
CP: What were your first experiences of using a computer creatively?
AM: Obviously using Glitch Art techniques to disrupt files, and Photoshop to create visual content. Really, there were lots of different techniques I’ve passed through. I actually gave few workshops, in places like Zagreb, about Glitch Art techniques and my own process.
CP: When did you decide to focus on digital art? Why did that interest you more than other creative disciplines?
AM: I focused on it because it was fast, it was dynamic, it was impressive to me! Glitch Art really caught me. I used to do freehand drawing, I used to paint, but when I encountered glitch and digital arts I just left everything behind for a moment. I don’t really know why yet, but it really caught me. I got really immersed in the digital arts world in 2013 and I haven’t stopped yet.
I just love it because in the Digital World you can be everything; there are no limitations like the limitations of a real life, in the real world. Like the body for example. In the digital world, in social media, in the screen, you can be and do as you please. You can express yourself as you want, even if nobody even cares or sees. The internet is just like an empty space that people fill with their interests, emotions, feelings, etc.
CP: What does social media mean to you as an artist and what impact do you think it’s had on art generally?
AM: Well, social media is all about visualization: to see and to be seen. And obviously there will be interaction. The impact of it? Tremendous! Social media is a powerful catalyst. You can build a web, a network, from zero and from nowhere. If people react positively or not to what you are doing it will echo to other networks. There are some cases of isolation as well. Facebook is a good example of a social media that isolates their participants. If you are not good enough to be on the top, maybe you get a little bored.
CP: Your work almost feels like you are painting with digital objects and artifacts. Can you talk a little about the process of making your work?
AM: I could not agree more! First, my wife and I, we navigate through the internet gathering images that we are interested in and that we think might work well together. After that I collage and paint it into Photoshop, blending it in different ways. After that I use a software called Texture Maker that my good friend and one of the best artists I have ever known, Mitch Posada gave me. I use Texture Maker to distort the image and to apply effects. Sometimes I enjoy using 3D Scenarios and Objects. I often use Cinema 4D, Zbrush, and Daz3D. I love to do that. I have influences including abstract art and Surrealism. But for real, I’m really inspired by the work of Don Elektro, Mitch Posada, Donnie Fredericks, Helin Sahin, Motorola Beeper, Gergő Kovács, and many others.
CP: Your work also often uses collage. Is that something you experimented with in its physical form (as in paper) before you began to do it digitally?
AM: I’d never done collage before and I actually don’t have any interest in doing it on paper. My stuff is on the screen.
CP: There is usually a lot going on in your images—a visual overload. Why is that, and does it reflect your personality?
AM: Yes, its true. A lot of information.., I think it reflects two things: first, the internet—the internet is kind of an overload—and second, my persona. As I said before, I’m subversive, and really kind of confused sometimes. So many thoughts and issues are going in my head… So yeah, maybe my art is a reflection of who I am, or who I’m trying to be.
CP: Would you describe your work as psychedelic? Is that something you are interested in?
AM: Definitely! I really enjoy psychedelic arts in it many forms. I actually believe the use of psychedelic substances such as LSD and mushrooms may help many people to get out from traumas and other marks from childhood. I’m not saying to use drugs—I’m just saying that using it, for some people, with the right guidance, could help.
CP: You also make music how does your music relate to your visual art? Do you explore similar ideas and themes in both?
AM: Yep! My music is still developing, so I cannot say if it really relates with my visual work. I think the use of electronic elements mixed with organic sounds, all in a slow ritualistic vibe, is the right description for my sounds.
CP: Japanese culture is referenced a lot in your work. Can you talk about your interest in that and its influence on your work?
AM: I’m in love with Japanese culture and so is my wife. One of my biggest dreams is to visit Japan. I just enjoy everything too much that comes out from over there: all the arts, all the culture, the anime, everything!
CP: Would you describe your work as political?
AM: I think everything is political. Even if it is saying it’s not, it is! I don’t have any intention to describe my work as such, but my work refers a lot to subversive cultures and anarchy maybe. I’m not real sure about that. I didn’t study politics so much.
CP: Is science fiction an influence on your work?
AM: Obviously. As I said, I was born in the sea of information. Science fiction is nothing more than the next days of our lives, our children’s lives, and so on. What do we expect to happen in the next ten years? Does it sound science fiction? I think it does.
CP: What does the internet mean to you?
AM: The internet is the huge web we are inserted into. It is a social network full of information. My work is based in the internet. Without it, we wouldn’t be here now. I’m a child from the internet. To me, it means everything, but we need to stay aware. There are people with power using the internet to manipulate the masses. I think we should do everything we can to hide in our own spaces, to hack everything we can (not in bad way), to do our own internet. Not the big and corporate financial web we are in. We need a free and open source space. Maybe it is just utopia, but I might fight for that dream.
CP: What does “post-internet” mean to you?
AM: Post-Internet is something that is happening to describe or even to analyze the behavior of the internet from the past years. Based on that, we can project the future. It is maybe the arts and technologies that people are using, creating, and developing without a technical guide. It is a huge experiment, using software and ideas as they are not meant to be used. This is a concept I call Arthacktivism.
CP: What does success as an artist mean to you?
AM: To make the difference in the scenario I’m in with knowledge. Even if you don’t have money or visibility, you can be successful. Success does not depends on status, nor on money… It depends on how much you can help others have success. This is success to me.
CP: Anything else you want to say?
AM: I would like to thank everyone that was with me from the beginning and also the new fellows that just arrived. My work means nothing without every one of you. And I’m just starting—there are a lot of things still to happen. Special thanks to Mitch Posada, Don Elektro, and Lloyd Newell. And to the Glitch Artists Collective, to the SPAMM (SuPer Art Modern Museum), to the Gallery T. and to The Wrong.
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 selects a Web Artist of the Week.
(All images: Courtesy of the artist)