a love letter to the exploration of identity in digital spaces, character creation tools, and how avatars can help us to understand just who we are and who we want to be.
note: this was originally written for Twitter, but documented here for future reference. in the interest of preservation, the tokenID is 1 and the contract number is as follows: 0xc90552531557b5e559e2c148cd0b5a41fda9d2c3
creating art with 80s tech, it’s nearly impossible to move at the light-speed pace of the 2020s. retro tech forces you to log off, slow down, and reflect.
born when y2k and p2p were part of daily life, I’ve been walking the line between digital and analog my whole life. I’ve come to treasure those moments when the flow of time seemingly stops and I’m transported to somewhere else entirely to ponder.
my art style is built around following this feeling. my use of retro screen tech powered by cutting-edge computers is a representation of the future imagined by the past.
while working with tech from the 20th century, I’ve been thinking a lot about how 21st century tech shaped my identity.
when I was a kid, the first videogame I fell in love with was Pokemon Sapphire. when given the choice between the two avatars that could represent me as the player character, I chose May, the girl. I didn’t know why, or care really. it just felt right.
around 2008 I started hanging around gaming forums. I have fond memories of the Pokemon modding scene, where it was common practice to edit or mash up ripped game sprites to make original avatars and characters.
as I got older, games started to ship with much more complex character creation. I wish I still had screenshots of the avatars I created then. my first Saint’s Row 3 character was a goth baddie that looked remarkably similar to my current appearance irl.
through these experiences with the fluidity of identity in virtual spaces, both online and offline, I came to understand how I see myself and why that didn’t line up with what I saw in the mirror as a kid.
I learned that appearance and identity as others perceive you is supposed to reflect personal tastes and the way you see yourself, not exist perpetually in conflict.
this piece intends to capture these experiences as I make the last steps into that person I always was inside. it’s like breaking the final seal of self-actualization; my sense of self has never been more sure and I’ve never felt more connected to those around me.
I’ve gone from discovering myself as a person to channeling the collective consciousness of a hyperconnected society in just a few years.
this piece is the culmination of my past. the same way character creation screens are usually the introduction to a video game, this is the introduction to a new era.
some process stuff: this piece consists of 31 different videos of screens from around 1982 between the oscilloscope vector art and other graphical elements captured from an amber terminal monitor.
any 3D portions are done in Blender, then either converted to vectors for oscilloscope with OsciStudio or sent directly to the analog circuits for glitch work. the text is generated with a 1991 VHS titlemaker.
all of the visual elements are recorded with a mirrorless camera at 30fps to reduce flicker, and then collaged to match the sketch in After Effects and make a 5-second loop that works seamlessly.
the synthwave score uses VST recreations of iconic 80s drum machines and synthesizers, from the 808 to the DX-7, as well as a spacey sliding bassline I wrote and recorded live on an electric bass guitar.