Five years of digital illustration artwork on display

Mikal Carter and Gem Farrell check out Digital Distractions, on display at the Square Edge.
David Unwin/Fairfax NZ

Mikal Carter and Gem Farrell check out Digital Distractions, on display at the Square Edge.

Viewers can glimpse into other worlds at an exhibition of digital illustration by UCOL students.

The exhibition, Digital Distractions, represented the "cream of the crop" from five years of digital illustration projects by students studying a Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging, lecturer Steve Leurink said.

The works cover a range of styles and subjects, including portraiture, landscapes, fantasy, science fiction, art deco, posters and commercial pieces.

"Everything here has been digitally finished - there is an echo of traditional [illustration], it lays down a foundation for digital, you've got to have a solid foundation," Leurink said.

Digital artists create their work on a computer using a wacon - a digital pencil - and manipulate, layer and add with computer programmes. The medium allows vivid, detailed, and intensely coloured work.

"All of these students have been able to open their minds to new ideas."

"If we all draw the same way it would be quite dull and boring. It's about the talent of creativity, and the thinking and ideas behind it that really makes amazing and unique work."

Leurink chose a mix of work by graduates, senior students and new students, including a portrait that was the first digital work of one of his students.

Digital illustration classes begin in second year, after a first year of traditional illustration. Watching as students explored the medium, try new things, and mature artistically to develop their own individual style is very satisfying as a teacher, Leurink said.

Work by graduate Mikal Carter is in the exhibition. He now works as a sculptor and tattoo artist under the name Swiftmantis.

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"It does pose a different way of looking at image-making. It opens up a new world, it's a whole new world of possibilities," Carter said.

"Illustration was kind of where I launched my creative journey, I learned to take a drawing into the digital world, layer it up, and I learned colour theory that helped with tattooing later on."

Work is also on display by fellow graduate Gem Farrell, aka Gembol who also works in tattooing and paints murals.

"For me the digital process is how I think through how I'm going to actually create the picture," she said.

"I use it for the conceptual process and then people appreciate all the possibilities - it's how I think right through the process and then apply it."

The exhibition is on now at Square Edge in Palmerston North and will finish on October 25.

 - Stuff

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