The New York based designer, artist and art director creates vivid, textural colleges on his phone and merges them into physical forms
Swashes of bright and bold colours overlap, cut, bleed and grow into one another to form vivid compositions in the work of New York based designer, artist and art director, Thomas Pregiato. The images, created solely on his iPhone and iPad, explore the boundaries of the devices. Graphic illustrations and designs form on the screen beneath his fingers, working with the colours and textures of his device just as a painter would with paint upon a canvas. “While it may seem entirely digital, most of the process merges both traditional and digital practices together,” he says.
David Hockney notably made the switch to iPad paintings in 2009, producing large-scale works that make clear the interconnected parallels of his materials, from oil paints to pixels. The immediacy of the touchscreen device sets it apart from a purely physical experience, however; Pregiato, who explains that many of his works take “only two to ten minutes to create”, reinforces this. His resulting images are textured abstractions, shifting organically in the process of creation. “Some start with photographs or collages made up of past works, others from scratch. There's this loose idea I've been working with that is really built around the survival of an image. One image might spawn 20 new images that completely abandon any idea of the original.”
While it may seem entirely digital, most of the process merges both traditional and digital practices together
It was a website for Darren Aronofsky’s film, Requiem for a Dream that first harnessed his interest in design and digital art: “It had this fragmented narrative experience, and it made me question everything my juvenile mind knew about the Internet and storytelling,” he says. Part of a generation inextricably linked to the internet, Pregiato’s style and vision has been informed by an age of technology. “The dependency of it all can be frightening,” he explains of the role of technology today, “but it's also inevitable and exciting, so I'm rolling with it.”
Drawing inspiration from his surroundings, his choice and use of the digital medium allows for a unique adaptability to any given time and place, The results are manipulated images of anything from a screen-shot of a website to a photography of a pattern on a piece of clothing.
“From a maker’s standpoint, there are so many variables and levels of control. It goes back to my ideas around image survival, where things are seen for seconds before they're forgotten. This is part of the reason I'll rework a single image into a bunch of completely new works and run that same process to each of those, and so on,” he says. “I like the idea that one thing never stays the same, it evolves into something entirely different than its origin. Change feels like a natural process in any situation, so I don't try to fight it.”
I like the idea that one thing never stays the same, it evolves into something entirely different than its origin
Pregiato has also collaborated with Brett Ginsburg, Maegan Stracy and Christian Velasquez to create ‘Arena’, a speculative, multifaceted creative centre located in Kansas City. Host to an array of creative pursuits, he describes the space as one intent on crossing the lines between fabrication, direction, curation and consultation. “I'm drawn to work that questions your beliefs of what it really is or how it was made; images acting as sculpture and vice-versa. I find that trickery beautiful and important. Definition scares me, I'd rather blur lines than live on either side of them.”