Ray Gropius, Metaversal Drawings
Since a long time I follow Ray Gropius via his Facebook account and since day 1 I adore his work. He calls his works Metaversal Drawings, which I think is a very good name for this new kind of artistic experiences and expressions.
A first quick look may give you the idea to walk into a freak show when you see how avatar faces are changed from perfect beauty into a web of lines and skull kind of structures. But that’s not how you should look. It is very interesting to see how Ray kind of ‘decomposes’ all objects (buildings, avatars, landscaping) into an open 3D structure. The interesting thing is, it gives a special effect of less depth (because of the see through) and more 2D than 3D looks, but in fact is very much a 3D technique and visual. It shows how all in Second Life is based on a carcass . When peeling that outer side off more or less, you see what is left. You still are able to see the characteristics of a face or structure or landscape well enough to see the differences in skin, fabrics and shape, defining their uniqueness.
As for the video’s I find Ray’s work even more interesting. They touch many things that speak to me and also are what I would call humorous, political incorrect (grins) and addictive to watch because so much to see and hear you just need more than one view to have a good idea of what it is you are looking at. He blends virtual worlds with art in an often social/political way and creates an intriguing visual experience like that. Ray makes many of his music and sounds himself, as well as the lyrics. A very versatile artist so to speak.
I do not know of another artist myself making this kind of works, so as far as I can see this all is quite new and different, which makes it unique and deserves attention and value. Therefore I decided to contact Ray via his website and Facebook account with a request for an interview. He was happy to grant me that and you can read all about it below.
Who is Ray Gropius
I quote from his website now
Ray Gropius, Netherlands, October 8, 1988.
My works, based on digital creation with experimentation in virtual environments, besides offering an unmistakable style, approaches drawing from a new position. The connection of representation methods such as photography, 3D simulation, and drawing make my work a contemporary media hybridization. The experience of representing by means of drawing, precise lines with mathematical perspective, attending to the structure of objects and people in a virtual world that happens in real time, make my work precursor and referent of what I call «Metaversal Photographs» or «Metaversal Drawings»
When and how did you become aware of your artistic talent and interests?
I believe that one becomes artist because of the need to create a particular world where to shut oneself up and survive the times. On one occasion, in the Trastevere in Rome, I found a drawing of a little mouse attributed to Albrecht Dürer. I think that piece of paper in my hands marked me for life, because of the delicacy of the drawing and the light of the white pencil. I always have it in mind when I light the Metaversal Drawings.
You call your work contemporary media hybridization. Is it essential for you to also adapt new methods in presentation like VR and AR?
You’re right. In my images many artistic disciplines gather; they seem to be drawings but are photographs, they seem to be portraits but the people and the objects exist in a virtual dimension. The artistic creation as expression is a mental representation of the human universe. Using the tools of your own time gives you the opportunity to express and show the pulsations of your own place in the most faithful and contemporary way. I am interested in VR but I understand that this is a very complex job. I hope I can do VR or AR soon.
How did your style develop into the present way of mixed presentation?
My current work is a natural evolution of my photographic and 3D creation work. While I work until exhaustion, sometimes, suddenly there is a supreme moment in which I discover that the result of my effort offers that image in which time stops and grants excellence. It is then when it happens and I recognize an evolutionary leap, a mine where to extract the diamonds I was looking for. So this happened with the metaversal drawings, while altering the configuration of the graphic card.
You use Second Life as place for inspiration. Why Second Life?
Second Life for me is a form of spirituality. Although I have had many interesting experiences, friends and artists, I am not a regular resident. I connect to Second Life to observe the world they crave. I think that what I do is an X-ray of that virtual world. I guess the way of looking is important. Everyone can look where they want. It’s the closest thing to going for a walk with a camera. I connect with the metaverse, where there are people and friends. I talk to the people I like, visit places, and take the photographs that I want to. I like to see the structure of the intentions of forms, look inside, explore what those souls are made of.
I hope someday, these metaversal drawings will be considered as snapshots, portraits, or documentary photographs of a new way of life; The life of the alters who choose a different way of representing themselves in the full renaissance of the universe, virtual.
Do you have a social or critical intention with your work?
The artist’s own activity is already a way of meaning and proclaiming yourself differently. This way of expressing showing your difference, generates empathy, also in a critical way. It is good that artists offer paradoxes making the receiver feel the need to explore and decipher.
The truth is that my work speaks of post humanism and relates human beings to the automatic life because of the predictability of their actions and movements. I think that sharing images on the net is already a political act too.
Do you like people to have their own personal interpretation of your work or do you prefer they see what you see / mean?
When I show a work, drawing, photography, video, it is already private property of the eyes that contemplate it. It is the spectator who makes the dialogue possible and like that the appearance of new dilemmas will start. In the eyes of others, the image multiplies and generates new images and thoughts.
What do you consider your best work or most distinctive work characterizing you as artist?
The videos are very successful. These audiovisual pieces I create with a lot of effort. I choose a selection of images, I write poetic texts and sometimes I also make the sound and music. People appreciate them and in a few days times after publishing they have many shares.
For me the portraits are something extraordinary because I recognize their soul. In the web page raygropius.com are all represented by categories such as chapters of a book, invisible cities, objects of desire, Alter Portraits, Virtual Eternity…
In any case, for me the most important work is the one I will do soon.
Where to find Ray Gropius?
All the pictures used in this blog have been shared with me by Ray to use for the purpose of the interview. They are however copyrighted and cannot be used without permission other than by Ray Gropius himself.