Chrome Destroyer’s work is at first, confusing. His photographic and digital compositions consist of cryptic objects thrown together in still life scenes; warped portraits; debris floating in space, sucking you into a vortex of absurdity. Some look like dystopian social media marketing strategy images that a stylist has conscientiously arranged, but instead of artisan beauty products the objects are a rubber hand grenade, a chrome Greek bust and an early Nokia phone. It’s no wonder that Chrome Destroyer’s imagination was employed to create the visuals for Owake Records.
The ethereal artwork and typography that he produced for Charity’s Metal Boy album is contrastingly beautiful and delicate, mirroring her sounds and vocals. It looks like a genuine ’80s record sleeve of a synth masterpiece plucked from a vinyl bargain bucket.
It’s a talent to be able to make visuals that fit with the sound, but Chrome Destroyer does just that and he does it well. We were lucky enough to find a spot in his busy schedule to find out which tunes fire up his imagination, his work with Owake Records and a penchant 17th Century Dutch art. Hold tight…
What is the drive behind you making your work, why is it you do what you do?
I’ve been making art my whole life, even in my earliest childhood memories I remember being passionate about creation and the artistic process. For the bulk of my life this came in the form of painting, drawing, and working in more traditional mediums, so the artistic drive has always been there. I started to transition into digital art into 2010, but only really started making strides in it within the past few years.
Does symbolism come into play when you’re composing the objects that go into your obscure still life shots?
Symbolism definitely comes into play in my work. A lot of times it may be more subtle, or symbolism that speaks specifically to me or someone in my life. The symbolic value of an object isn’t always the most important thing to me though. I feel a lot of the time I am able to connect with an object, and have it really work in the space purely because it helps boost the mood, or is just simply an interesting form. A lot of times when I’m picking objects or compositions I am inspired by the Vanitas, which is a style of still life painting popularised in the Netherlands in the 17th Century. If you were to google Vanitas right now, and go to images I’m sure you would almost immediately recognise the style, and even see some similarities in my own work. As a whole the Vanitas works are about the fragility of life, and the inevitability of an end, as a means to appreciate the little things, and not take life for granted.
What sort of work do you do with Owake records…
My work for Owake Records is purely visual. I do not produce music, but it is something I am very passionate about and drives me to create. I’ve done a lot of work with them over the past two years ranging from album art, to promotional material, to set visuals, music video work, etc. I pride myself on my ability to work over a number of platforms and mediums and the Owake team has given me a lot of opportunities to stretch myself further and grow as an artist.
What do you read, watch, listen to or consume that informs the way you think and makes you want to produce imagery?
There is never really one go to answer for creative inspiration in my process. If there was a constant I would have to say it is music. What I’m listening to usually sets the mood for what, and how I create. The rest just sort of comes from my mind. I’m always listening listening to quite a lot of music, digging deep through Spotify, Soundcloud etc. Mostly Rap, Metal, Electronica and the myriad of sub genres that come with those. A few of the standout names I’m listening to right now are Danger Incorporated, Suicideyear, ‘Lil Ugly Mane, Shlohmo, and Lapalux; very moody, electronic stuff. I’ve had these artists in my listening rotation for a while now and I find they are really great at pushing me into a creative space when I need a little help.
Aside from that, I’m always looking at what my peers are creating online – so that is definitely another strong influence in my work.
Do you have any advice for anybody who is starting their career path as a digital artist?
There are countless sources online and in the physical world that have been made readily available for those interested in art. Figure out what you’re into, then start doing research, watching tutorials or listening to podcasts – there’s so much out there. Its might take a while before you start making work that you are really happy with, but in the beginning it is important to just grind it out. Make as much art as you can. It doesn’t have to be great, it just has to happen. Take inspiration from artists you admire but do you best to be inventive and twist things as well.
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