Nanopainters, nanolandscapes and nanosculptures… all these terms are not an obvious attempt to follow the fashion, they are taken from vocabulary of follows of a new artistic trend – NanoArt. Its creator - Cris Orfescu – has shared with the “Rossiiskie nanotechnologii” his methodology and philosophy. There is no need for brushes or paints, or artistic design, but one can’t do without “his majesty” incident and a powerful microscope.
Cris, your are a researcher and an artist at the same time. How do these two persons get along together? Do they conflict or live in harmony?
– Both art and science are creative processes. Some researchers believe that the right hemisphere of the brain helps a human being to think abstractedly – for example, to practise music, to realize colors and shapes.
The left hemisphere of the brain, the so called analytic one, helps to recognize mathematical symbols, it is responsible for logic, analysis, speech. In my opinion, it is necessary to train both brain hemispheres, and I am firmly convinced of it.
You have been engaged in NanoArt for 20 years already. How was the idea born to use nanoobjects for creating images?
– I have always been interested in nanotechnology as the most state-of-the-art technology that is able to change our lives. Almost 30 years ago, during a research, I was so much amazed by a substance structure and stratagem in its tiny part that I began to investigate the nanoart process, combining science and art.
I have recently launched a new blog on nanotechnology and art, where I plan to start telling about nanoart history and to investigate depths of art, science and technology interaction. I request all artists and researchers interested in the blog extension to send me articles and interesting materials.
What has happened recently in your life of a researcher and of an artist?
– As a researcher, for the last several years, I have been carrying out investigations of new nanomaterials for batteries and condensers, which can be used in electric vehicles, as well as research of materials, which will find a use in clothes with in-built electronic devices.
Cris Orfescu, a Romanian researcher physicist and an artist, living in the US (California). Employed with a Californian company - Caleb Technology, that develops accumulators. He is considered to be the NanoArt founder. Founder and trustee of the international online nanoart contest
As an artist, I seek to make black-and-white works. I want to expose the beauty of uncultivated nanosculptures born by Nature at the atomic and molecular levels.
For some time, I was completely absorbed in promoting nanoart, which, I am unconditionally confident, is a reflection of a new technological revolution. I consider this trend in art as the most advanced way for implementing nanotechnologies and acquainting with it people who are not related to science.
As far as I know, the concept of a future picture is first born in a painter’s mind, he (she) imagines and implements it. How does a NanoArt painter create a picture? What will be the outcome – is it a secret for him (her)?
– As a rule, in painting, a concept of a future work first appears with an artist, and than he (she) puts it into life. It happens sometimes that the final outcome is different from the intended one. A nanopainter, who has the most state-of-the-art technical facilities at his (her) disposal, is able to do the same: to devise an image and than to create it, although such works are rather simple and they lack complexity products of Nature are endowed with.
I prefer to apply a somewhat “mystical” method. My artistic-scientific-technical creativity starts in a laboratory, where I create various structures, the so called nanosculptures, with the help of physical and chemical processes. Generally, the work is accomplished at molecular and atomic levels.
To this end, I often use natural structures, which I find while investigating different substances under a microscope. I call them nanolandscapes. The next step in this process is creating the image structure – visualization – the “capture” of an image. I use a scanning electron microscope to find out structures and to select the most similar to my concept, in order to create a valuable artwork.
Some of discovered images are painted and processed with the help of digital technologies, I combine real images of these structures with abstract color gammas. To paint them, I have developed a special technique in Photoshop, which I called Digital Faux.
The technique can be compared to imitation, which scenic set designers use during finishing touches, applying glaze instead of paint. Applying glaze enables to achieve the 3D effect, which would not work out when applying ordinary paint.
Likewise this imitation, Digital Faux is achieved by overlaying transparent color layers to produce depth, volume and shape. I call these layers “Digital glaze”.
The completion phase of the image creation process is printing. For printing. I use canvas or high-brightness enameled paper. After that my works can be demonstrated to the audience. Artistic images will not leave people indifferent due to their unique beauty and singularity.
The International online contest set up by you takes place every year. Has an idea ever flashed your mind to make an exhibition outside the Internet, to gather painters’ works from different countries?
– This year will face the fifth anniversary since the date when the International online NanoArt contest was set up. Besides annual arrangement of the online contest, we also carry out the National Festival of nanoart in art galleries worldwide. The first two festivals took place in Kotka (Finland) and Stuttgart (Germany). We also organize NanoArt21 exhibitions, for example, in San Sebastian (Spain), at the Festival “Passion for Knowledge” in Prague, as well as in Czechia at the Euronanoforum.
I had individual shows and group offline exhibitions in many countries of the world: in the USA, Italy, France, Finland, Korea, Great Britain, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Columbia, Greece and Israel.
Cris, what do you think about the future of nanoart?
– Researchers investigate nanoworld to fathom the mystery of the universe. Nanotechnologies will probably be able to answer this question. I think that discoveries in nanotechnologies will be the most important engineering events in the next several decades.
At the time when I founded the International online contest, there were no projects like that yet. Now, several years later, a lot of universities and scientific societies already arrange nanoart contests. To share the idea about progress of this trend in art, I shall give you the following statistics: last year, at the IV International online contest, arranged by NanoArt21, 48 painters from 15 countries of the world exhibited 154 artworks, while in 2006, 22 painters from 5 countries exhibited 71 artworks. It is important to note that the quality of work has improved significantly, and painters demonstrate better understanding of this new trend in art.
I set up NanoArt21 several years ago as the world organization for acquainting people with a new kind of art – nanoart, as well as for its promotion worldwide. At the moment, I can state that we have a very active and quickly expanding international group of painters, showing enormous interest in nanotechnologies and nanoart.