Los Angeles-based visual artist Jhovany Quiroz warped retinas last year with his exploding virtual topographies, using common imaging apps like iPhone Camera and Photo Editor, Mextures, and Glitché. Instead of completely ditching these techniques and moving on, he’s proven once again that he can ring all sorts of psychedelic beauty out of them.
For his latest series, Windows, Quiroz wanted to conceptually riff off the old adage, “The eyes are the windows to the soul.” Aiming to create moody and inspiring portraits that only focused on the eye—he didn’t want total mind-melting abstraction—he wanted his images to represent the subjects. The source material itself came through direct messages on his Instagram account after he put out a call for eyeballs.
And the results are beautiful digital reimaginings of the human eye. Quiroz takes his flat, two-dimensional source images and creates an optical illusion that gives them 3D depth, as well as that psychedelic quality that gives everyday objects their otherworldly vibrant glow and texture.
Quiroz tells The Creators Project that the process of creating these images starts with the cropping of images. Once done, Quiroz ports the images to Mextures and colorizes them. This enhances the color of the lines. It also helps Quiroz give the photos the initial image depth. Quiroz then runs it through what he calls the “lines filter,” where he gives it the right balance of highlights and shadows so that the images are properly contoured for the 3D effect.
“It took a long time to decide what the correct amount of distortion was needed for the portrait to be effective,” Quiroz says. “Because the images came in varying quality, I had to work with those constraints which is what makes some of the images sharper and others more simple and flat. This was actually really great because it kept me on my feet as far as process.”
Once complete, Quiroz ran the images back through Mextures and added a subtle filter to increase depth. He also tweaked colors to make the images pop.
In the future, Quiroz would like to use this process for a series on lips, as well as one on nudes. He’s also considered using the technique to produce sculptures and structures.
“I’ve been more interested in environmental art and creating sublime experiences that the viewer has to work hard to find and witness,” he says. “Pilgrimages to see something unordinary that will not be there very long.”