When it came down to the artwork for Roats Miguel Self-Titled EP, we were taken by uncertainty. We needed someone who could make something visually appealing but abstract enough to leave things up for interpretation. Keeping our tradition to work with up and coming artists and try and give them options to showcase their work, we went with Colombo, a friend who's just starting to give his first few steps as a digital artist.
Here's a short interview to let you know more about the man with the Emeralds:
When did you start getting into graphic art and what sparked your interest to have a go at it yourself?
To be honest I never thought about doing visual art. Since a young age I became passionate about curating and promoting other artists work. In 2006 I created a small booking agency/record label in my home town and for six years I worked with more than 100 artists from all over the world, giving them the opportunity to showcase their work.
But I always felt as a promoter/curator that something was missing, working so closely with artists, watching their creations come to life step by step, it gave me the will to create as well. Back then my role was to help them explore their ideas and promote their work.
In 2013 I moved to London and I found myself depleted of any contact with art on a professional level. Naturally, this will to create became more evident, and I started exploring technology as my vehicle to express myself. Photography was my first attempt, taking advantage of my passion for travelling I started exploring iPhone photography and the results were great. A friend of mine showed interest in using one my pictures from a trip to Iceland as a cover for his music project. I had been longing to do something with music again so I said yes straight away. From there I started to explore new alternatives of editing, not just photo editing apps, but 3D as well.
From what I understand you have a very practical and mobile-friendly approach to your work. Can you give us a bit of insight into how you create your images?
Yes, I am part of this new generation of mobile-friendly artists. I use my iPhone, and apps like mextures, union, vsco or fragment to create all my works. My process is simple, depending on what I want to create, but if I want to develop work influenced by nature or landscapes I use my travel photographs as the base and manipulate from there. If my approach is more direct, like liquid art, it's just layers of colours with water and distortion.
These technologies give me the opportunity to create on the go, allowing me to be influenced by different surroundings. As I said before, I am passionate about travelling, so for me mobility is a big win.
How did you come up with the idea for the Roats Miguel EP cover? Did you find it difficult to interpret someone else's music and try and translate it into visuals?
This artwork was very straightforward. Having in mind Roats Miguel live concept of hiding his identity, I knew that I wanted to create something with only his silhouette. My main idea was to create a cover that would try to translate the same feelings of his live shows. Something related to fantasy, a dream but in a very distorted, I'd even say very electronic way.
I consider myself fortunate to have a very cinematographic mind when it comes to music. It's very easy for me to describe emotions, images and scenes when I am listening to an album or song. I think this helps me visualising my graphic art.
What are your main influences as an artist, people who you look up to or inspire you in general?
This is a question that we could spend hours and hours talking about. But to simplify my answer I will start on what is the foundation of my structure, the decades of the 60s, 70s, 80s. The psychedelic era, of course, is really a big influence on me. Bands like Pink Floyd completely changed the way I see art or listen to music. Sun RA its another big influence that changed my perspective and introduced me to Afrofuturism and the connection with universe and jazz. Also with the beginning of the Synth era, going through the 80s, science fiction is another big influence on my works, mainly Japanese sci-fi art,like Kazumasa Nagai.
Last, my travels which allow me to explore other realities and perspectives, the people that are part of my life and the ones I meet along the way.
What other projects are you working on at the moment? Will we get to see some physical art from you anytime soon, maybe prints?
I just finished an EP cover for a French electronic producer called Obsimo. I am also in touch with a few record labels to develop some branding and artwork for their roster and yes, I am working on a series of works called ¨Portraits through Visualisations¨. This will be my first adventure with physical works; they will be available on my online store next month.
I'm also preparing a three month trip to India next year so I will be sharing different impressions from the experience.
You can find more about Colombo Emeralds' art over at his Instragram page.