INVERSE TOPOLOGIES

Harry Appleyard’s engraving-like 3D images rise streaked with hued reflections to show an “unassumingly crucial underside to an otherwise unmarred look at the world.” In today’s article, Harry discusses his inspirations that led him to his creative process that resembles a digital archaeology.

How would you describe the process of creating your artworks, from the idea to its realization, or in terms of technical execution?

My process usually involves reviewing masses of collected pieces of symbology, scratches and marks found on objects; to me they have historical potential and can be played with in terms of origin and outcome. I use blender a lot to make my work, and often just start with inspiration from the fragments I collect, I like to give them a space to develop, and a kick in one direction or another, to get things rolling.

What technique do you use in your artworks the most? The pictures are 3D, but look like pressed forms with animal-like creatures underneath.

As for the metallic bas relief-looking renders, they are set up with other objects and lights around them, providing something similar to what an HDRI does, but with its own fictitious space that can subtly influence the object and our perception of it. I also look at everyday objects (who doesn’t), the sometimes-inconspicuous parts of whose architecture can be traced to actions or emotions that have been forgotten now in everything but the material, and we can see clues of, around us, if we look closely enough. tend to sculpt them using reference images of various animals, objects, etc. (3D sculpting is a lot more like drawing than it is like IRL sculpting, so I use that a lot, as I’m a keen mark maker and note taker before a lot of things). Once I get started it’s a bit more chaotic, just really pulling from nowhere, or perhaps from a certain fixation with mythology, language, and the supernatural.

 Finally I suppose, in my animated works I do a lot of sound, which I think helps to ground the things I make visually. I use often field recordings, my own voice, musical instruments, and foly sound, which is like what they use in films, eg, a jolly sounding coconut for horse hoof trample SFX.

Are there any particular stories behind the animal mutations in your artworks? If yes, can you tell us some details?

The mutation of the relief animals runs in concrescence with the imagined histories recorded in dents and scratches that lie on their surfaces, and exist in imaginary spaces as realities built through degradation, marking and scratching, but also adorning with lights that illuminate, and uneven polished surfaces which reflect the strewn pieces of an unknown world … these facets evade and form a language by which things sprout and bloom in the dark of the imaginary space, which too, refracts a fragmented and fantastical account of the hidden nature, pieced together like so many augmented limbs, teeth, and heads. They exist on the borders of depiction, demonstrate a possibility of the all-in-one, the 3-4-1, the past, the future, the present, and the so-on (and I like chimeras).

Do you feel your style is developing? Who are your favorite artists that you look up to and what influence do they have on you?

I take a lot of inspiration from fictional lore, and historical movie sets. But really anything that invokes magic and mysticism and fun/cute/evil thoughts. I always loved the mysterious and ethereal paintings of Leonora Carrington, or the occult fantasy nightmares of Kenneth Anger. Surrealism will always have a place in my heart, and I am a huge fan of its contemporary comeback. I should think some of my favourite artists these days are my friends, and increasingly I look to people I know for guidance and understanding of practice, as normal people tend to get it more.

Are your artworks somehow linked to archaeological themes or some particular symbolism?

The symbolism I use comes more often than not from collected inconsistencies, gashes, scorch marks, cracks, splatters, prints, folds and creases, cuts, bruises, stains, the unassumingly crucial underside to an otherwise unmarred look at the world. These things fictionalise material and are a kind of wholly unwanted and overlooked symbology. They make up the other world, they draw dark life from the map, they make a certain archaeology, one of obscurity. But also I love the idea of digging up something unknown and witnessing it – before the inevitable layers of cultural meaning have been applied to it out of respect for some account of history or another – just to see what it holds. I want my very own stone tape à la nigel kneale.

Are you currently preparing any exhibitions or projects we can look forward to?

Yep, among other things I’m making work right now for a group show called POTENTIALS curated by Arthur Poujois-Chretien (@arthurpoujois), date and location TBC, but it will be in central London and in probably late Feb, with six other wonderful artists.

And finally, a question coming from our current theme “Who Let the Dogs Out”, what animal would you like to have as a lifetime companion, realistic or fantastic?

A big moth!

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Bio

Harry Appleyard / digital artist focused on 3D visuals.

Credits

Harry Appleyard @sweat_litle_angle

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