Neil James is currently exhibiting his complex glass sculptures in DegreeArt’s Post Digital exhibition. We chat to the sculptor about what Post Digital means to him, and how he creates his unique art works.
So you are currently exhibiting your sculptures in the Post Digital- Are We There Yet show at DegreeArt, tell me – what does the term ‘Post Digital’ mean to you – and do you think we’re there yet?
I suppose to me, it’s a time when the digital is commonplace and accepted, rather than something exciting and new. I think digital technology is here to stay and not be replaced in anyway but used as a tool in helping and moulding new styles of artworks. For me I think we’re most definitely there. I’m not impressed by computer-generated forms of artwork anymore, that time has passed. It doesn’t feel new or look real and the viewer wants more.
Your sculptures are really interesting, how did you come to work in this way?
I’m interested in movement and how it can be portrayed in an intriguing and abstract way. To evolve something from a very real form into an almost disfigured entity excites me and plays tricks with me, and hopefully the viewer. My sculptures could very easily have been digital printed artworks but needed to have more of a concept of space. Therefore the multi-layered technique created that sense of mystery and almost confusion.
There are so many layers to the pieces you create, how to you design what the finished image will look like once all the layers of glass are in place?
The finished design is carefully planned prior to any imagery going on the glass or plexiglass. Each image for each layer is painted and tweaked several times on a model until the 3D image works perfectly.
What do you base the images you create during the process on?
They’re all dancers.
What inspired you to work in this way?
I did my degree in Architectural Glass, so the medium of glass is always at the forefront of my thinking when designing. Most of my work throughout my study was 2D so I found it very interesting exploring 3D techniques and breaking away from the stereotypical glass artist.
How do you feel your work relates to the notion of “Post Digital”?
My work is half digital processes and half traditional techniques. The artwork could have been portrayed with images of the results from the animation but instead I wanted to create something that didn’t marvel in the digital but celebrate the hand-made. But with the essential input of the digital.
Are there any artists, old or new, that inspire you?
Xia Xiaowan’s works really opened my eyes to how 2D images can be built up to form such powerful 3D artworks. He has certainly inspired me in my recent 3D works. The German stained glass artists of the 20th Century such as Johannes Schreiter and Ludwig Schaffrath will continue to influence my work in some form. I adore the wondrous lead line and always think and initially design in a stained glass cartoon style.
Add to the Post Digital discussion here: www.postdigitalart.co.uk.