Digital Hell: Tech Tips for the Deceased

...And other bone-chilling art from Lynn Nguyen.

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Jun 9 2016, 8:50pm

GIFs and images courtesy of the artist

Though heavy line work with manga stylings, the Sydney-based artist Lynn Nguyen has developed a distinctive body of work. She combines internet culture with anime and Victorian-era vampires in black-and-white schemes with bold splashes of bloody red. "For the most part, I really enjoy making beautiful and detailed drawings—and then finding various ways to murder them," Nguyen tells The Creators Project. "In fact, corrupting files is one of my favorite therapeutic pastimes." And so begins the process behind the creation of her series of dark illustrations and GIFs. 

She uses a mix of approaches for each piece, sometimes starting with ink on paper and other times using digital programs like Manga Studio 5 or Photoshop—whichever feels right. Then, she takes those illustrations and mangles them in various ways for added effect. One method involves hacking an image’s binary data with a program like Hex Edit Pro, resulting in interesting glitches. To capture them in real time, she'll often take screen caps of the work to create her final images, or even snap them with her camera phone. An approach she takes for paper drawings involves abusing her scanner.  

"I think low-res images can be charming," says Nguyen, who also goes by the alias, Teething. "Taking a picture of my screen will create this glowing, romantic vignette around the artwork that I really like."

At first, she was just uploading regular sketches done with charcoal on butcher's paper to LiveJournal and Facebook. But the act of blogging crept into the work itself and changed her style. "That was how I learned about digital art. I started talking to other digital artists and became really interested in tech and internet culture. I wanted to make art that combined those two things I understood and enjoyed—technology and drawing."

Technology has a direct influence on her work, alongside horror and the occult. "Many of my ideas come from memes, comics, reblogged articles on Tumblr, and just observing online behavior," she explains. "I get a lot of weird thoughts around 4 AM in the morning, when I'm way past tired, scrolling through random GIF image posts, and my YouTube playlist has gone totally off track." In addition to internet wormholes, she's also inspired by fashion, religious iconography, and 19th century paintings.

But translating that digital art into physical work brings her back into the real world. For one exhibit, she displayed her GIFs on tablets in ornate gold. Vinyl transfer prints onto clothing is another new area of exploration as well. This weekend, she's releasing her first zine for the zine fair at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Check out more of her work below:

See more of Lynn Nguyen's work on her website.

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