Studio Waow’s “Interactive Space” is a seductive fantasy-land of 3D landscapes in which the hyper-digital interacts unapologetically with the archaic. Interestingly, the human form moves fluidly between these two realms, embodying both the sharp minimalist ideals of a futuristic imaginary and the classical archetypes of Greco-Roman sculpture. In these compositions, like in the temples and sanctuaries of the Golden Age, the human bust is not merely representational but instead acts as an architectural component, interacting with the physical space around it and infusing it with godlike presence. Studio Woaw’s founder and graphic designer talks to us about the cross-pollination of influences in his latest series, and how he juggles a range of creative media in his personal and commercial design work.
” I would define my work as cross disciplinary contemporary Neoclassicistic Futurisme.”
“Cross disciplinary because I work and think in 2- and 3D. Contemporary because it’s established in the present. Neoclassicistic Futurisme because it’s a combination of elements from both art periods influenced by the Vaporwave movement.
I don’t know if this is 100% correct, I’m not an art critic.
I am the artist so I can call it whatever I want.
I use a lot of elements from Neoclassicism such as Greek and Roman sculptures, sockets, architecture and ornaments and I combine these with futuristic, fast, electronic and high-tech technologies and elements.”
“I came in touch with art at the age of fifteen when I started studying architecture. I had a very sweet, airy-fairy and a bit hazy female art history teacher who made me very passionate about art and its history. I always felt a bit numbed or paralyzed during her lessons just because there was so much interesting information. We were flooded by her waves of descriptions, stories and images. Now, almost 10 years later, I still get inspired by artists and elements I saw in those classes. For example, the neon tubes used in the work of Mario Merz, Joseph Kosuth and Dan Flavin definitely influenced my use of neon in my own 2- and 3D work. Also the use of compositions is something I learned during these classes. I remember the painting “The Descent from the Cross” by Peter-Paul Rubens where he used a very clear diagonal ax that made the painting very dynamic and created the feeling of movement although it’s just a still. Maybe I just got brainwashed, but since then I can’t imagine life without creativity, art or design.”
After secondary school, I started studying graphic design and I obtained my master degree in it. The creation of my own graphic design studio quickly followed: Studio Waow.
It is where I mainly do freelance work for clients in the cultural sector. I have made logo’s, illustrations, posters and designs for fashion companies, artists and a modelling agency from city’ s around the world such as Brussels, Paris, London and New York, but also in my hometown, Hasselt. Meanwhile, I started studying ceramics at an Art college to get more skilled in the development of 3D objects and installations. It’s actually an Art education but I approach it more from a design way of thinking. The things I create are somewhere between function, design, art and sculpture. I try to combine and mix my work as a graphic designer with my current education. To give you some idea, I am currently creating 3D render images I make with 3D computer programs that I’m going to translate in real life installations or environments.
The idea of the 3D objects and installations I make, are derived from a last years exercise called “interactive space”. I did some research and one of the things I came up with was that a side table could function as an interactive space as well. First of all, it’s a surface where elements come together and interact: food, drinks, glasses, cigarettes, ashtrays,… Secondly, a side table is mostly a part of a living room, café, … and these are places where you can find people interacting with each other. So in my opinion the side table, as an object, could resemble the space of interaction. If it is a special kind of side table or a very beautiful and aesthetic side table, the table itself is also an element of interaction because the people surrounding it, speak about the table itself and what they like or dislike. From my perspective, beauty or aestheticism was an element that can spark interaction between people. This is the reason why I wanted to continue experimenting with it.
I started sketching and creating environments that would be spoken about by people entering the installation. A part of the render images I make and post on social media are sketches of possible installations. By posting these on social media I can experiment which ones are most liked or find most beautiful through the activity and interaction by people on social media. Assuming these will also generate the most interactivity with people and visitors in the real life installations. I have already noticed that even the image itself becomes an element of interaction because it communicates just by being itself. It communicates my vision of beauty, perfection and fantasy and people get inspired and fascinated by them. They share them with each other and talk about them. So it has been a very interesting experiment so far!”