With talks of the cosmos dominating public discourse, it couldn’t be a better time to discover the work of digital sculptor and 3D artist, Adam Martinakis. With his breadth of sensuous CG-imagery, that spans as many subjects as it substrates he simulates, it's no wonder the Greek Martinakis is quickly becoming one of the more notable digital sculptors today.
Like the rest of his oeuvre, Lightbreak—an image from his most recent series—serves as an illustrative meditation on what makes us human, and the perfect introduction to Martinakis' work. We pondered with the artist about how those answers factor into the infinite wonders of our universe, and inquired on details as far as his technique. Below, our Q+A with Martinakis, alongside his own musings on why the universe makes him feel like he’s still in the womb.
The Creators Project: Would you say your pieces are more a study of the human form or the human condition? (If you had to choose, of course).
Adam Martinakis: It is true, they are studies of both but I'd say that my works are mostly about the human condition and consciousness. If you look closely you will notice that the forms of the humans that I'm using look more or less similar in the compositions and they don't hold much detail. I use those basic forms because they represent references of humans and more important to me is the story they express.
Last Kiss, 2011.
When did you discover that computer generation would be the best way to study these forms?
Everything started in the year 1999, when I had my first touch with digital content. It is ironic, but until that time, at the age of 28, I didn't know how to use the computer—had no idea even about the difference between a hard disc and software. To be honest, I was even strongly against the usage of computers in the arts because I considered hand-made artworks to be the only real artistic creation. That was because of my phobia towards them; I realized it was a new world, a different strange world which was totally unknown to me and I was quite afraid to enter it.
Since then, I spend my life playing and experimenting with my arts in this wonderful digital world. This game feels like prolonging my childhood into eternity.
What is your creative process like? How long does it take you to finish a piece from conception to finalization? What programs or processes do you sculpt with?
My working platform is Autodesk 3ds Max but I also use other software like Daz3D, Mudbox, Photoshop, After Effects and many 3ds Max plug-ins to get to those results.
I create the models that are the protagonists first--not always the humans are--thinking about their environment at the same time because their connection with it is very essential to me.
Next step is [to experiment] with the materials and the lighting design of the stage (because everything looks like a theater stage). Final part of the 3d process is to set the appropriate camera of the composition and render the image. I render with V-Ray renderer.
Depending on the complexity of the project it can take from a few hours to a few weeks. Normally it is about 2-3 full days.
"3D visions from a parallel universe" is a term you use on your Facebook page to describe your work—it certainly encapsulates it well. Can you elaborate on your definition of "parallel universe?"
Parallel universe (or multiverse) is a theory of infinite possible universes. The idea of this theory was circulating in my mind from a very early age of my life trying to answer the question: what would have happened if I had done, or not, this or that. It is a popular theory now in the science and philosophy worlds.
I use it to describe the essence of my art universe because it really feels like there are endless possibilities of creation when you work in the 3D space. Many times, even the medium itself is inspirational and guides the creation process. There, you re-create a new world with new physical laws from scratch. Everytime.
Where does that fascination for 'the cosmic' come from?
The achievements in cosmology and science are really wonderful. They open a new door of perception to answer the eternal question of what we are and what this is all about.
There is an answer to this and we are getting closer and closer to it. Humans have evolved a lot in time, our present society would look like complete science fiction or even an alien form of civilization to humans 3,000 years ago. Still, this period of time is really nothing to the cosmic time.
I look at the images from next-generation telescopes which show early designs of our universe formation and I feel like I'm still in the womb of my mother. Everything is in a perfect connection, beyond us and beyond everything.
So what can we learn from all this?
Whatever we do in our lives, it is important to stay open and receptive. We need to evolve as individuals and as a society. There are many things to correct both ways. There are many new things waiting for us to be explored.
We have entered to a new undiscovered and mysterious time. In the world of art, the digital content has offered new opportunities for expressing, understanding, sharing feelings, knowledge and emotions. I am very happy to have found such a door and I always encourage people to search for new paths in their life. All this is a wonderful adventure and we are lucky to be here in the first place.