Illustrator, designer, and typographer Alex Trochut has invented a technique for printing two separate images on the same surface. One image is visible in the light and the other in the dark—it's a two-for-one kinda deal, and one you don't want to miss.
Collaborating with some of the biggest names in today's electronic music industry, Trochut explores the person behind the turntable in his new portrait series Binary Prints. The idea behind the project arose out of his interest in representing duality on a single sheet of paper, and the dual persona of the DJ made for the perfect subject. James Murphy, Four Tet, Damian Lazarus, John Talabot, and many others came into Trochut's studio to have their nocturnal portraits printed.
The ongoing project was recently launched at Sonar Music Festival in Barcelona and will travel to other music festivals, art fairs, and galleries around the world. We fired off a few questions to Trochut to find out a bit more about the technique.
The Creators Project: Can you describe how the printing technique works?
Alex Trochut: This patented technique is a simple procedure that consists in arranging two images in separate grid spaces that merge with each other without overlapping. In a nutshell: these two grids arrange like a chessboard, black ink sits in the black squares and the glow in the dark is placed in the white squares.
How does the ability to display two images on one surface change the nature and future of portraiture?
People are always a multifaceted polygon with many sides, Binary Prints shows us at least two sides. Working on the duality and covering the two extremes of any spectrum creates a sequence, a change, a short narrative and hidden side that reveals what is not obvious behind the surface. I'm looking forward to seeing what is the next use of binary prints, I think it's a medium that can translate into many ideas.
What makes a good portrait?
I think a good portrait is able to present you with the soul of a person in a non-obvious way, creating an intimate moment with the viewer.
How is your art inspired by technology?
I consider myself a digital craftsman.
The portraits in Binary Prints have a lot of personality—do you see a relationship between the very personal, human side of the series and the more technological side?
The aim of these portraits was to describe the person through his music, in this case [it was] electronic music DJs and producers who have a close relationship with technology, but it's never the tool that's making the art. I see it as a technological gaze, a consequence of the "how," but focusing on the "who" and "what."
What was it like to work with some of the biggest names in today’s electronic music industry?
I feel extremely grateful to them, it was like a dream come true to be able to express myself through the artists that have fueled my imagination countless times. Some connections were made in clubs, just by passing my cell phone to the DJ booth with a text on the screen saying: "Hi, my name is Alex, I'd like to invite you to a personal project, can I get your email?". Others, like in the case of Damian Lazarus, were almost prophetic: I wanted to contact him for the project and I wasn't sure which way to approach him, [then] suddenly on his "Lazpod 25" he used one of my artworks for the cover of the podcast, so I wrote him an email and he quickly answered. I was very lucky to have been in California at the time so I went to meet him at the Get Lost party in LA and presented the project to him in person.
Do you intend to continue working primarily with musicians, or artists of all kinds?
I'm so open to anything right now, and I would love to work on new series of people and concepts, I feel I learned a lot during the process of this first series, but I certainly feel I have a lot more to learn and explore.
Have you ever considered doing a self-portrait?
For now I prefer to look outside rather than inside.