Ad Mag

Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

A Chat with Dawid Michalczyk

In Art, Feature, Interview on June 28, 2009 at 7:06 am


“Cosmic Shores of the Subconscious”


Max Eternity – As far as I know, it was the career of Andy Warhol that put into perspective the coexistence of graphic art and fine art.  For a decade or more Warhol had reigned as one of the most sought out illustrative graphic designers in New York; being known particularly for his sophisticated yet whimsical renderings of women’s shoes and the many illustrations he provided for children’s books, including “The Little Red Hen.”

Pre-Warhol, historically speaking, with rare exception, it was virtually unheard of for an illustrator to be considered a fine art, visual artist.   Sure, there were always great illustrators, Erté was one of my favorites. and Maxfield Parrish was successful (to an extent) in melding commercial and fine art.  Still, essentially no matter how talented, a great graphic artist could pretty much count on being pigeon-holed; forever regulated to the world of ephemera.

Enter the digital, and the art scene has been forever changed.  All has shifted, and career fields that were once polarized — programming and painting — sculpture and automation — fashion and algorithms — are now permanently fused.  With the work of Dawid Michalczyk and others, how we see art is changed forever.

Art is art…end of story.



“Dimension Unknown”


Hi Dawid, welcome to AD Mag

Thanks, glad to be part of it.

I first saw your work on an artist community web portal, ImageKind.  Then I followed a link to your personal webpage.  How long have you been online?

I first started using the internet in 1994 and have had a website since 1996.

So that leads to the question, how long have you been an artist?

Well, in 1993 I started doing my first digital images. That was on Amiga computers and it was all done in 2D by placing pixels next to each other – one at a time. 32 colors was the maximum amount of colors one could use and the resolution was obviously pretty low – typically something like 320×240.

Are you also a web page designer?

Although I designed my own website to make it as simple to maintain as possible, I don’t do professional website design.

On your Art of Dawid Michalczyk site you refer to yourself as a freelance illustrator and artist, but I notice you also write and you have video on your site.  But let’s start with the art and illustration, how do you decided which will be “art” and the other “illustration?”

Any personal work, that is work not done for a client but for myself is art. Everything else falls under the illustration category. That’s the way I like to look at it. Although these days, illustration is often called art and vice versa. It’s a matter of definition. The videos I have are small promotional videos which I post on Youtube and my site. As for writing, I have a lot of interests so I write about the matters that interest me.

Dawid Vid

“Between Horizons” multi-media video

And then there’s the work you do creating environments for video games, what about that?

Traditionally one could call that illustration as well, although these days new terms are used for that. But the main reason why I call myself a “freelance illustrator and an artist” is to avoid calling myself a 3D artist and a concept artist and a texture artist and a 2D artist and a skybox artist, etc. “Freelance illustrator and an artist” is much shorter and covers all that.


“Drifting Planes”

I’d like to focus on a few specific pieces of your work.  You have some images with  block formations.  A work entitled “Drifting Planes” has tumbling clusters of blocks, as does “Kinetic Elements.”  What’s the story there?


“Kinetic Elements”

Well, there is no real story as such, other than me getting ideas and exploring them. Usually I write a caption for every new image, which can be my interpretation of it, a bit about the creation process or something entirely different. I like to vary my abstract work a lot, otherwise it would start to look the same. So I do my abstracts in different ways, using different techniques and tools.

You also work with circles and orbs.  I see this in the planetary formations of you space pieces.  What’s the interest there?

Nothing besides the obvious.

Science Fiction and Outer Space seem to be themes that run through your work.  Has it always been that way?

Yes, I actually started with science fiction and space art and later gradually expanded to other genres. But Sci-Fi has been with me the longest. Ever since I saw Star Wars as a kid in the early 80s I got totally hooked.


“Light Splitters”

“Light Splitters” is interesting as is the piece called “Endless Opposites.”  The extreme, high-contrast landscapes, the never-ending horizons and weightless spatial contrasts are nicely executed.


“Endless Opposites”

I like having visual contrasts in my artwork; not only in terms of lighting, but also color and composition. If done well it can make the visual impression richer, more interesting and help convey the idea better.

I also like “Liquid Forms.”  There’s a lot of feeling there.


“Liquid Forms”

Liquid Forms was an experiment of sorts. I wanted to see if I could do abstract work in Bryce without making it look like Bryce. And it all worked out very well in the end. There is a lot of depth in form and color in a way that strongly attracts attention.

Do you have any thoughts or predictions about art in our digital future?

Digital art tools will continue to get easier and easier to use while providing higher and higher quality. Soon we’ll approach a level when creating a new high-quality work will take minutes rather than days. It will be a matter of selecting from endless prefabricated assets and refining them according to your needs.  Needless to say, there will be a flood of auto-generated “art” and most of it will be free or very cheap. Art as a whole will suffer, becoming more devalued than it already is.

But, there is always a flip side. People will realize that all this auto-generated “art” is the equivalent of fast food – quick, easy and cheap. When you want real art done, you go to a real artist; just like you go to a real restaurant to enjoy really good food, cooked by [chefs] real cooks.

Dawid, it was a great chat.  Thanks for your time.

Thanks for the interview Max.


“Edge of Perception”


See more art in the AD Mag Artist Galleries, and be sure to visit Dawid’s website by clicking here.

- Max Eternity

Don Relyea : Digital Graffiti

In Art, Feature, News on June 14, 2009 at 3:35 pm


– “Generative Flowers III 003451” by Don Relyea –



– “Generative Flowers 003124” by Don Relyea –


Generative Flowers III @ Digital Graffiti 2009

by Don Relyea


I’ve just returned from a fabulous outdoor arts festival held at Alys Beach, Florida.  The festival, called Digital Graffiti, is an annual event created as the world’s first outdoor projection art festival.  Still in its infancy, it’s now in its second year.

The arts festival is situated in the environmentally friendly, master-planned resort community or Alys; a place where the buildings are white; echoing the beautifully, white sands of North Florida’s “Panhandle.”  The white-walled architecture of the town lends itself perfectly to a big outdoor video festival, where video projections are cast on the sides of buildings like graffiti.

The Digital Graffiti festival encompasses most of the Alys beach community, and is set up so that you can follow a general path through the town, ending up at the Caliza pool; the epicenter of the party.  About every 50 ft. there’s a new piece projected up on the walls.  Mixed in with the visual art, a variety of DJ’s and music could be heard playing.

Generative Flowers III is a computational ensemble that I created for the Digital Graffiti festival.  This series is intended to be a celebration of life. It draws flowers from grey scale alpha channels and then feeds back on itself. Environmentalist Mark Charneski, who works for the EPA, contributed the magnificent flower photos and scans, from which the alpha channels were extracted.

The Generative Flowers III algorithm creates a mathematical variant of the Cantor Set. Though, flowers are innate, naturally occurring mathematical expressions, which work very well with the Cantor Set effect. The geometric progression of the Cantor Set is symbolic to me of the natural progression of life.


– “Generative Flowers III 002879” by Don Relyea –

Digital Graffiti featured a fine selection of artist, like John Daniel, the creator of “JD’s Funhouse.”  Tucked into a niche on the entrance path, this installation was one of my favorites   I heard it was programmed on a Mac and included interactive fire, laser and fun house mirror effects that the viewer could interact with in real time.  JD’s Funhouse was a delightful piece that my kids spent a lot of time playing with.  And not surprisingly, it won the “Audience Favorite” prize of the show.

Another piece of note is “Afterburner” created by Gwen Vanhee.  It seems I had seen Gwen’s work somewhere else before, but the “Afterburner” projection piece took on a different dimension once spashed against a multi-storied, big white building.  Shantell Martin, the festival’s featured VJ, was another favorite. She draws on a tablet syncopated with live music.  Her style is spontaneous, fun and quirky.  She melted the heart of my 4 year old Ryan, who now wants to Shantell to be his wife.

As far as video festivals go, this one was by far the most engaging and fun shows I’ve ever attended.  I expect Digital Graffiti at Alys Beach to continue to grow each year, and I definitely plan to enter my work again next time around.

Here is a link to Wired Magazine’s coverage of the event and below are some additional links of interest:

Afterburner by Gwen Vanhee

JD’s Funhouse

Shantell Martin

Press photos of Alys Beach – 2008

Digital Graffiti website

Good background post on how it all started


AD Mag thanks Don for sharing his Digital Graffiti experience.  View more of Don’s artwork in our Artist Galleries and on his official homepage.