Interview at Yoho! Magazine

Interview at Yoho Magazine

 
I am happy to announce that next month Yoho! Magazine, the biggest street culture & design magazine in Shanghai, will publish a full-colour double-page interview about my experiments, including many images of mutant artists to illustrate the text. Below you can find the English version of the interview for those of you who do not speak Chinese (:

 

 

Please introduce yourself to the readers first?

My name is Dr Case, I am specialised in digital surgery.

 

What are you mainly doing in your art career?

I create mutants using image-retouching software.

The first step in my experiments is to capture the subjects in their natural habitat using a digital camera. I am especially interested in artistic specimen: street artists, graffiti writers, painters, calligraphers, tattoo artists, fashion designers...

Once the subjects have been captured, I use highly-advanced digital techniques to fuse them with their own creations. The result is a symbiotic creature, a combination of the artist and his work, a magical creature that unites the creator and his or her creation.

 

What are you busy with recently?

I am looking for subjects who want to take part in my experiments voluntarily to create new mutants for my next exhibition.

 

Where does your creative inspiration come from?

From the artists themselves, their work and their personal world. All the subjects who took part in this experiment are artist I admire and love, whose work deserves to be documented.

 

Why did you do such a project as artists with character?

I started making these photocompositions to censor street artist and graffiti writers who were worried about the exposure of their faces on the Internet in pictures taken while they were committing acts of vandalism. Not only the artists were happy with the result, but also graffiti lovers and street art enthusiasts truly enjoyed these digital collages; and both encouraged me to make more.

So I started travelling to the artists' studios and workplaces to take portrait pictures of them in their natural habitat, surrounded by their tools and weapons, and making more elaborate compositions to deeply integrate them with their characters.

I started with my friends, then friends of friends, and finally artists I had never met before but whose work I also admired.

 

What steps you generally do to make a picture of an artist?

First I contact the artist, normally through Internet, and send him or her a link to the website www.symbi0sis.net so he or she can see what the project is about. This experiment can sound quite strange if you try to explain it with words, so checking the website is the best way of understanding it.

Then, if I get a positive response, we set up a meeting, normally at the artist house, studio or workplace. We always talk about different ideas and things we could do before starting taking pictures. Some artists have a really clear idea of what they want, some others are really open to try whatever I want, even sexual favours. The process is different with each person, but normally we choose a character (from a painting, illustration, sculpture, doll, toy, etc.) and then the subject poses for me trying to replicate the posture of the chosen character. I always try to take pictures of the artist and his or her character the same day, at the same place, with the same light and using the same camera, like that the resulting composition looks natural. If it is not possible it takes more work to make a good photocomposition because you need to make more adjustments to the images. I normally take many pictures in one session to choose the best one later.

Finally, I create the mutant creature using Photoshop. I always send the result to the captured subject to receive his feedback before publishing the picture on the Internet or showing it on a gallery exhibition. It is important for me to know that the artist his happy with the result, and some of them give me great ideas to make them look even better.

 

Can you tell a story that happened while taking one photo?

When I met Mr Kern we decided to take some pictures on a dirty street with his tag on a glass behind him. When he started tagging the glass with a red marker, a guy came and told us that glass was the window of his house. The guy was very pissed off, so I told him that we were just “decorating” the glass to take some pictures, that Mr Kern was a famous artist, and that after taking the pictures we could clean his window if he gave us a wet cloth. The guy looked at me without saying a word, but just seeing his face I knew he was thinking “Do you really think I'm going to believe all that shit?!?!” After that he just left. Probably that guy will never know that all I was saying was truth...

 

Who's your favourite artist?

There are many artists I love; it would be really hard to choose just one. One of my favourite painters is Mark Ryden, one of my favourite photographers is David Lachapelle, one of my favourite 3D artists is Ray Caesar, one of my favourite illustrators is Liberatore, one of my favourite musicians is Amon Tobin...

 

 

Testimonies of mutant artists
This is what the subjects who underwent digital surgery have to say about the outcome!

Dave in progess

 
It is important for me to know that the artists are happy with their portraits, so I always show them the final photocomposition before publishing it on the Internerd (or anywhere else) in order to receive feedback, suggestions for improving the virtual collage, and/or exaggerated compliments.

This is what some of the subjects replied when seeing the symbiotic creature for the first time:

 
 

Fantastic MAN!!!!
Royal

Awesome. I love it.
Dave

Fuck yeah! Nice collaboration!
I hope you make many more!

Spok

I love it! Thank you doctorrrr
Animalito Land

I'm not photogenic at all,
but you made me look great!

Lusesita

Fucking brilliant.
Andrea Luschi

Great! I look like a concrete android!!
E1000

You're a Photoshop master mate!
Dyox

The photo-composition looks fine--fun!
I like the background and the pose!

Martha Cooper

I really like it because
that's the way I see myself!

Lolo

Looks fabulous... : )
Andreas Englund

My most sincere congratulations.
Isaac Malakkai

That's killer!
El Niño de las Pinturas

I need to see it bigger...
Sent from my iPhone.
Landry

Magnífico!!
Mathew Curran

You fucker, this rocks!!!
David Monrós

Thank you so much!!!
I think it's the best photo of me ever
.
Dilka Bear

Yo! I'm speechless!!
Andrea Michaelsson

The most faithful portrait of me
ever made :)
Congratulations!
Marco Noris

Fucking hilarious!
Inocuo

I can't wait to show it to everyone!!!!
El Hombre Sapo

Fucking brilliant! I turn myself on!
Carles Gomila

I like it because this is how I am,
trying no to be too serious...

Nicolas Barrome

It’s an honour to be part
of your Symbiosis troupe.

Tutzó

Hahahahaah
Amaia Arrazola

The more I loook at it,
the more I like it!

Ivana Flores

 

 

Pictures of the opening party at Miscelanea!
Banner
 
Here you have a few images of the opening party at Miscelanea gallery; including various photos in which you can observe the real appearance of some mutant artists who came by to enjoy the freak show. The event was a great success as usual: no sales at all, but we all got drunk and had fun together. Who needs money when you can get some beers for free at the event?

 

Calm before the storm
Daddy!
Two Generations
Two Generations
     
The Real Marga
Dr Juan Carlos & Mr Royal
Camera man
     
Old School
New School
Trough the Glass
Old School
     
Insiders
Outsiders
All Together Now
Insiders
Outsiders
All Together Now
     
Watching the watchers
Beers & Flyers
Take care
Watching the Watchers
Beers & Flyers
     
Party People
 
 
Late Night Stayers
 
 
Thanks everyone for coming and special thanks to Troballola, Heidi & Uncle Elías for the beautiful pictures!

 

First symbiotic solo show!
Miscelanea, the famous multidisciplinary arts space in Barcelona, will proudly host
the first symbiotic freak show ever seen!

 

After many years of arduous work and research, travelling to the natural habitat of different creative species to capture their anatomy and document their environment, I am proud to announce the first compendium exhibition of the Symbiosis project; in which the audience will be able to appreciate the results of the digital surgery and discover some magnificent specimen.

A selected group of mutant creators (including some new subjects never seen before!) will be on display for everyone's enjoyment from the 28th of March until the 22nd of April 2012 at Miscelanea, one of the most prestigious art laboratories in the city of Barcelona; which can be found at C/ Guardia, 10 (Raval district).

The project presentation will take place on Wednesday the 28th of March 2012 at 20.00h. The audience will be offered fresh malt beverages without charge; and those who may be interested will be able to acquire large format photographs of the mutated creators printed on canvas (limited editions of 15 with certificate of authenticity).

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the artists who took part in this experiment, who bravely allowed me to alter their features and distort their anatomy to create these hybrid creatures, including those that could not be included in the exhibition due to space constraints.

 

Symbiosis Show Flyer

 

Become a digital surgeon!
Photoshop workshop at Miscelanea!

Inocuo in progess

 
Many people have asked me what kind of software/process do I use to create these digital mutants. I do not believe in artistic secrecy, I think that sharing techniques (and basically anything else) is a great idea. All the symbiotic creatures you can see in this digital freak show have been created using the magic of Photoshop.

So with the help of the lovely people at Miscelanea, we have organised a Photoshop workshop for all those people who may be interested in acquiring the digital skills required to create this kind of digital collages, and many other things. Besides photocomposition, the students will also learn how to improve the levels and contrast of digital images, correct photographs with imperfections, remove unwanted elements, colour black and white pictures, download and use freeware fonts, and much more. So, if you live in Barcelona and want to start using Photoshop or improve your image-processing skills, all you need is a laptop with the aforementioned program installed to enjoy twelve hours of deep photoshopping for just 60€! You will never find a cheaper Photoshop workshop in town with such a marvellous teacher!

You can find more information on the Miscelanea website, and register for the workshop directly at Miscelanea (C/ Guardia, 10, Raval).

 

 

Menorcan artist for group show in Menorca!
Cross-gender mutation and sexual arousal in the Balearic Island!

 

The digitally modified portrait of Menorcan artist Carles Gomila has been selected for the Print the Fabric group show at Galería
Sa Fábrica in Menorca.

It is the only symbiotic portrait in which you can see both the mutant artist and the photographer. This Velazquesque composition was totally unplanned; the mirror was already there when I entered the artist studio, and I discovered my reflection while selecting one of the photos before starting the digital surgery.

This portrait is also the only one in which a female face was used for a male artists, which worked fine, as the artist himself loudly expressed when seeing it for the first time: "Fucking brilliant, I turn myself on!" This project includes some other cross-gender mutants, like Sakristan, but the other way around (male face on female artists), which also worked fine, but did not cause any kind of sexual arousal on the subject.

Below you can see some pictures of the opening party (courtesy of Oskar Perez), in which you can appreciate the general excitement among those present.*

 

 

Carles Gomila

Opening Sa Fabrica Wanna Drink?
DJ Tutzo
     
Happy Girls Sexy Girls
Usual Suspects
* The fact that there were two huge panels with explicit-nudity-three-dimensional images installed on the gallery front door (and alcohol abuse) might have helped increase the level of general excitement.

 

Rallito X chooses symbiotic portrait to represent himself on West Berlin Gallery website!
The Berlin-based Spanish artist decides to use his mutated portrait
when German gallery asks for self-representative image!
 
Rallito X, a Spanish street artist who recently moved to Berlin, decided to use his symbiotic portrait when the people from the West Berlin Gallery asked him to send them a self-representative image for their website.

Rallito has never revealed his real identity and never allows anyone to take pictures of his face. So this digitally modified portrait was the perfect solution to show himself to the world preserving his anonymity.

Rallto X at WBG site  

 

Symbiotic origins
Rudimentary censorship to preserve the anonymity of vandals
While reviewing old photographs during my idle time, I came across some archaic images which can prove helpful to show the origins of my research. As explained in the About section, Symbiosis was not conceived as an artistic project; originally, it was merely a practical way of censoring the faces of subjects captured while committing acts of vandalism, misdemeanours, street furniture spoilage, and/or other pseudo artistic mischief.

Even though the digital surgery skills I had at that time were quite rudimentary, and the images you are about to see are clearly obsolete, I consider it apropriate to show these photographs to explain the background of the project:

       
Olivia with namebelt
This foreshortening portrait is one of the oldest symbiotic mutants ever created. As you can easily appreciate, it contains an abusive amount of vectorial shapes used to trace the original photograph; the only real element in it is the shiny old-school namebelt with embedded bling.

The portrayed subject is not committing any act of vandalism, but being a well-known law-breaker it was advisable to mask her real features.

As anyone can easily guess by comparing the vectorial flow and observing the superior style, the head was designed by the artist herself.

Olivia with namebelt - 25th of August 2006
 
 
Sonos, Sosaku, Lolo, Btoy & Dr Case
This group portrait includes some of the artists who participated in DJs Against Hunger 2006, an electronic music and visual arts festival to raise funds to develop social initiatives against hunger.

I was asked to censor the faces before publishing the photograph on the event website photo gallery. It was the first occasion in which I had to censor myself, and also my first mutant group portrait.

The metamorphosed subjects were satisfied with the result even though my digital surgery skills were pretty limited at that time. As anyone can easily observe, the integration between the heads and the bodies is nonexistent.

 
 
Sonos, Sosaku, Lolo, Btoy & Dr Case - 14th of October 2006
   
 
Olivia Rollergirl
Coolture, Oliva & Dr Case
Dr Case
 
 

These stills were captured on the 26th of October 2006 during a Sunday collective mural session with Olivia, Coolture & Btoy. Unfortunately, Btoy is not depicted because someone had to take the pictures.

 
 
Fragil in action
This snapshot was captured during the Difusor Stencil Meeting that took place in the city of Barcelona in June 2007.

The artist requested to be censored before publishing the photograph on the Internerd. As you can observe, the technique used to maintain the subject anonymity at that time was very elemental, consisting basically on a copy/paste operation quickly done using image-retouching software without much consideration of the angle, lighting, and integration.

 
 
Fragil in action - 29th of June 2007
   
 
Fragil
The organisers of the MurMurs festival in Menorca decided it was advisable to cut a stencil to make a pattern for the background of the bus-station mural. As many artists with different styles were participating, we all agreed that with a common background the whole wall would have a more uniform look.

However, there was an issue no one took into account after drinking too many beers while painting the wall: if you store a sticky piece of plastic covered in paint in a box with the rest of the necessary material when the night arrives, the next morning the result can be disastrous.

I asked Fragil to hold the stencil to document the catastrophe and used his monster character to alter his face in a way that represents the disappointment of the find.

 
 
Fragil - 19th of March 2008
   
 
Sakristan & Dr Case
This still was captured during a psychotropic night in Menorca after the opening of the MurMurs collective exhibition at Galería Sa Fabrica.

Alcohol abuse makes it impossible to remember who actually took the picture, however I am able to recall it was taken because we felt highly identified with the paint company slogan "dejamos huella" (we leave our mark).

 
 
Sakristan & Dr Case - 21st of March 2008
   
  Dede
Ilia Mayer
Joana Brabo  
 
Joana Brabo - 21st of March 2008
 
 

At the end of the MurMurs festival, I asked all the participating artists to pose for me to make an individual mutated portrait of each one to use it on the initial credits of the event video:

This series of metamorphic artist portraits was the starting point of the Symbiosis project. Some of them worked so well that were included on the site Gallery unchanged; others were later remastered to create more evolved mutant types. The hilarious reaction and positive feedback of this first group of portrayed subjects encouraged me to continue with my research and look for additional specimens to create more symbiotic mutants.

Finally we have reached the end of this retroactive trip, thank you for travelling back in time with me, I hope you enjoyed the journey.

 
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Dr Case Royal Rotor Andrea Michaelsson Olivia Boris Hoppek Andrea Luschi Escif Suso33 Marga López Inocuo Noaz Mr Kern