Who are you?
Hi, I’m Poppel, ex-biologist, now GIS technician, writer/journalist who is interested in computer culturescape and art.
When did you start making art?
Besides the limited and inattentive art training from the obligatory education system I grew up under, I started making art I enjoy when I was about 10. One of my older cousins was fascinated by the Castlevania games, and he started to draw dungeons, labyrinths and castles on literally every piece of writing paper he could get hold of. I hadn’t played those games until years later but I was fascinated by his drawings, and started to draw similar stuff myself.
So yeah I drew many dungeons and labyrinths filled with monsters and traps in my pre-teen years, and I would say that was the very beginning of me making art. I’d also count photography with 35mm film I started a bit more than 10 years ago as another starting point of my art making journey.
What inspires your artworks?
As described above, video games inspire me a lot, as do films and fiction novels. Sometimes a random sentence or merely a term I read can also magically inspire me to make art surrounding them.
Why did you start making NFTs?
Earlier this year I started to hear all the buzz about NFT. My curiosity led me to investigate the NFT scene because I found many reportages about NFT to be very vague. They say things ARE HERE, but they don’t tell you exactly WHERE, nor HOW.
I wanted to understand it, and thus produce some of my own reportage articles surrounding this subject. I didn’t own any crypto assets before that, so I learned how to set up a wallet, how to conduct a transaction, how to mint tokens etc. Then I thought: Well now I’m at the doorstep already, why not just step in, put up some of the GIFs I made for fun on sale as NFT, and earn some of these exciting crypto coins?
So you can say it’s the greed for both knowledge and wealth that led me to it.
What is the process for creating a piece?
In short: Come up with an idea, get the idea interpreted by hand (computer) work, output the result.
The hardest part is forming an idea for a piece. Metaphorically saying I’m not afraid to walk long straight roads but twisted and winding alleys. Not having an idea is like being trapped and lost in those alleys, it grinds down my soul and makes me groan in pain.
Besides thinking hard, to come up with an idea, I usually doodle a bit on paper, and then draw some simple lines in drawing softwares, or modify some code written before to create some “anomalies”. And gradually the visual cues would merge with thoughts in my head, and then a clear imagery would start to form up. After that it’s just walking the long and straight road to the end of it, happily with a bit of hardworkingship.
What do you want someone to feel when they look at your work?
I want my works to trigger something, a smile, a frown, a gush of excitement in the arteries, a wave of nostalgia in the veins, etc. As long as they trigger something in the viewers, then I think it’s good. Everyone is free to perceive my works however they like. But I would appreciate it if people could see the messages or read the stories told in or behind the work. And I’m very glad to know people sometimes do see and/or read them.
How long does it take to create one of your artworks?
It really depends since I make many different works and rarely count the time spent, but in general I would say it takes a large chunk of my spare time (and sometimes sleep time) to create. Some works may take very short time, like a couple of hours to make, but that is only because they inherit the methods developed when creating older works, which could have taken hours, days and weeks to formulate.
Do you have any creations that stand out the most to you?
Oh, it’s hard to pick.
Wormsign over Baltic Sea and The Future Rerun #1999 are both mixed media works, 35mm photography mixed with generative art, and pixel art mixed with gen art, respectively. I’ve studied different majors in natural science and worked various jobs, and have always had the opportunity to apply the knowledge and experience I accumulated from one field to another. Such mixing sometimes brings unexpected but pleasing results. So you can say my works of mixed media represent how I do things in life.
Process-wise, the above mentioned two works were both results of me trying to create something new with existing material and already familiar, if not mastered, methods. Both pieces were done in very crude ways before I improved my method to properly arrange animated frames, and just like this a new process was born.
Content-wise, they both show the same melancholic imagery with a feeling of, I would say, “wonderfully desolated”, with a tint of weirdness and absurdity, things I’m a sucker for.
Do you have any quotes or pieces of advice you think people should hear?
Well, nothing special. To creators, I would just say don’t stop making new things. Living in the digital era, we have all the tools and resources at our hands and we should make the best use of them, make things that you won’t regret when you view them 5 or 10 years later. And of course, enjoy yourselves on the way, which is more important than creating for the sake of creating.
Are there any artists or collectors you want to shoutout?
It’s basically @FornaxVoid and @annaxmalina, two of the artists I’ve known and admired for years, who introduced the wonderful HEN to me. And I want to thank them. They both make beautiful works, with different vibes, in different formats. Fornax’s stuff are like a warm, mysterious digital ocean waving on a CRT display, while Anna’s stuff are like forgotten dreams and moments you feel nostalgic to but have never lived.
“Agar Plate” by @computerevryday is a series I appreciate a lot. The subject is fun and resonates with me. The sense of asymmetry in nature is wonderfully interpreted in the works.
Though I’ve been making gen-art and pixel stuff mainly, I have a soft spot for non-abstract and trad stuff, and there are many such works on HEN, some were drawn with brushes, some were largely assisted by computers, but all fabulous. Here are some examples:
Dark and otherworldly creatures and scenes by @seherkis.
“Ariel Institute” series “capturing” those fun, in-between facial expressions by @EllieHedden.
Gopnik and Eastern Bloc lifestyle series by @IllGrd .
Collage in animated GIF format by @brubi_v.
Weird and fun worlds presented in glowing GIFs by @Limbouniverse.
Animated illustrations of mysterious and cosmic women by @maxvorax.
Mesmerising, altered realities by @natehillphoto, my only collab on HEN till today was done with his amazing technique.
Dreamy and strange landscapes “generated” from experimental photography by @celad00r.
One of the first amazing things I discovered on HEN, those crazy hectic little creatures by @bjorncalleja.
As well as many other artists that I collected from (350+). They all good!
All of you! Thank you for collecting my stuff, it means a lot to me!
Thank you for the opportunity to let me express myself!