This story is over 5 years old.


Your Eyes Won't Believe These Ferrofluid Photos

Philip Overbuary's space-age abstracts blend digital aesthetic with analog materials.
Ferrofluids on a compact disc. Images courtesy the artist

Usually CGI is used to fake reality, but Copenhagen-based artist Philip Overbuary uses reality to fake digital images, using magnets and magnetic ferrofluid for an experimental photo series called Ferro. "I wanted to create something that didn’t look like photography," Overbuary tells The Creators Project. "I wanted to do something people wouldn’t believe was actually real. Like a dream, or a psychedelic trip—but it actually happened and could be captured."


Ferro stems from Overbuary's work as commercial photographer where an overwhelming number of his commissions request heavily Photoshopped and 3D-rendered images. He enjoys using analog technology, like oscilloscopes and TVs with antennas, so it's immensely satisfying for the artist to use mediums like ferrofluids to create images that look computer-generated but aren't. We've seen experiments with NASA-invented material before like of Fabian Oefner's abstracts and the liquid clock, but Overbuary's skill at mixing colors and materials is remarkable. His sets range from black plexiglass to CDs, with oil, water, soap, contact lenses, paint, tinfoil, and in one photo, caviar, added in to make the textures and colors unique.

One experiment went awry, though, when he tried pouring the fluid directly onto the magnet. "The magnet turned into a black ball that skidded all over my set. It was like air hockey with a wet ball. It was mind-boggeling to hold a wet object that was both a solid and a not-solid liquid. I took it to the sink a tried to wash the magnet, but it remained an intact, black ball. I remember thinking, 'How do I get this stuff off the magnet?' The trick was a dry cloth." His more successful experiments resulted in luscious reds, rusty oranges, deep blues, and unbelievable pearlescents. You can check out two photos from Ferro in The Censored Exhibition at this week's Copenhagen Photo Festival, or see the full set below.


See more of Philip Overbuary's work on his website.


It Doesn't Get More Metal Than Ferrofluid Skulls

A Chemist Cooks Up A Ferrofluid Font

Look at These Ferrofluids Go