One of my recent endeavours involves surreal digital collage, which currently has its own, rejuvanated, underground movement. In my search for inspiration I came across a talented artist, _meta_ (“Kim” in real world). At the time Kim happened to only publish his works for his followers on Instagram, so few people has seen his works. The biggest surprise for me was that Kim’s artwork doesn’t come to life via Photoshop or The Gimp, but via an iPhone 4s. Modern collage works require quite some cutting precision, so I found this fascinating-enough to ask Kim to walk us through his creation process.
1. How did you get into digital collage? What are your influences?
Kim: I started editing images in 2008 with Photoshop because I had grown tired of drawing, and I was never a good painter, but I loved making my own pictures. Editing digitally gave me a new way to express myself. It was more of a creative thing I didn’t really share much. I just never imagined anyone being interested in it. I would show my work mainly to my girlfriend and that’s pretty much it. But once I started using mobile apps on my iPhone 4s I learned that the capabilities were almost endless. My editing dock was now in my pocket. So I pretty much went editing crazy trying to design all that came to my mind. I built a huge image bank for my collages and let my fingers do the rest. I have been hooked ever since. The reason I choose to edit on my phone now is because it’s faster, mobile and simply, a whole lot of fun. I like seeing how far I can push this little thing.
My influences are all over the place. Quick things that come to mind are cultures, history, and time travel. But I would have to say old movies inspire me immensely and maybe most. I was a latchkey kid growing up, and dubbed movies on VHS formed a better half of my imagination. I was a total comic head as well, pretty much anything fantasy always intrigued me. I think these things have made an imprint within me somewhere, and they tend to reveal themselves in my art.
2. Please describe the process and tools used to create your collages.
Kim: The process I use for my collages is actually very simple. Just as you would cut and paste from a magazine, I do the same, but with digital images. Many images I take myself with my iPhone, especially landscapes. Then I cut out the parts I want to use and save them. Then I cut out images of people, animals, objects or whatever it is I need for that particular design from my stock photo bank. Once I have all my images ready to load I go to my #1 app, “Juxtaposer.” This app makes all my work possible. Here, I load all my layers and get the design balanced. Then I run that same image through other apps like PicFx for filters, Art Studio for fine tuning, and Snapseed for pretty much anything else. I basically make my own version of Photoshop by utilizing multiple editing applications at the same time. Though, before anything is done I have the design already in my head so I can bring it to life by bouncing it back and forth, app to app, until it appears. everything is done on the iPhone screen. My thumbs and index fingers do all the dirty work. I never imagined I would have a chance to make art in this medium. I am just thankful to have the opportunity. The future is here, and it’s pretty awesome!
3. Each of your recent surreal works usually features a transportation method, is there a significance behind it?
Kim: Yes, you are absolutely correct. The vision is, people have been time traveling for centuries. Planet hopping, settling, communicating, vacationing, adventuring and so on. I like to create images that might lend some light to that idea, maybe supply a narrative. Along with social messages of a possible “promise land,” and praising things like love, relationships and family, I try to push the idea of people, going further. And I try to use transportation methods to represent that.