Dobu-Haishen: Digital Age Art
The world wide web is full of talent and since we've got Instagram, tumblr and Facebook it has become easier to find and even connect with the beauty and minds behind the pens, drawing boards, Adobe After Effects and Photoshops of this digital world.
Digital art is connecting people like never before and artist begin to collaborate in ways we never have seen before. Dobu-Haishen is an artist who is connecting all these dots and strings and his digital art and creative collaborations are one of a kind.
Dobu is a creative mind that is fueled by pop-culture, technical clothing and futuristic worlds. His work is constantly evolving, changing, shifting and linking up with new influences and collaborators.
To understand the way he works, the new ways the digital art world is connected right now and why there is so much ACRONYM in the feeds of digital artists worldwide I had the honor to have a little Q&A with him last week.
Who is Dobu-Haishen and what is his purpose in the digital world of fast media consumption, shares and likes?
Speaking directly, my intended purpose is to operate as an agent of change. I’m seeing our collective metabolism for content and culture embark on this trajectory of acceleration. As I consider this shifting landscape, my aspirations for what or who Dobu-Haishen is, isn’t static. What I’m producing, and how I’m producing it, is subject to intentional, periodic re-evaluation. Utilizing social media as a feedback loop to facilitate that reflexive augmentation.
In that sense it’s as simple as looking at my instagram feed. The narrative is right there for anyone to consume and interpret within their own subjective framework.
Ultimately, I have my own internal purpose, ideas, and function behind every decision. Within each moment I put forth the intention to create my own fiction; utilizing my internal experiences to craft a new, external one. So when anyone consumes that content, it affects them in a unique way. The resulting output is different in every case. Obviously I can’t fully control that aforementioned output, nor would I want to. But as a self-professed agent of change my mission is to bring visuals, concepts, and ideas to people that will challenge them. In turn, considering and evaluating the resultant responses and reactions to challenge myself.
Balance is such a continual aspiration of mine. A concept that, as I’ve grown, I’ve come to recognize as more and more pervasive. Alternatively, as you mention, the modern culture of the digital world hinges on hyper-consumption. Within this sphere one could potentially brand me as a “hyper-creative”; as a harmonizing force to contrast my own hyper-consumptive behavior.
Where and when did all of this start, and when did you find the right way to express yourself?
I don’t remember the exact date that I posted my first image to instagram; it was a little less than a year ago. And ever since then, for every step along the way, I’ve been experimenting. Staying as disciplined as possible and putting out content… Constantly adjusting, tuning every aspect of what I create to fit my own shifting target. With that in mind, I really don’t think I’ve “[found] the right way to express [myself]” quite yet; and I’m not sure that I ever will. Every venture and pursuit is a learning experience and I’m always adapting my approach to suit what’s in front of me.
From anime to other artists, where do you find your inspiration? And is there a picture perfect piece of media; an anime, film, book or anything else, that resembles your world, look, and feel?
Inspiration is everywhere. Reality is unfiltered inspiration. When you sit down and contemplate the truth of things; your ability to deconstruct minutiae magnifies. Every concept, individual, every object, and narrative is comprised of simpler component. This holds true at every stage of consideration. Reality is omnidirectionally infinite. What we understand as up, down, left, right… nothing is absolute. There is no shortage of novelty in any location of your experience. And this infinity, that so casually resides around us every day, is the source of my excitement, inspiration, and engagement in my creative pursuits.
To think of everything as a building block is to view reality as a sandbox. So far as we’re currently aware; your conscious mind is the most powerful object in the universe. An act of creativity is the apex of what’s possible... focused intention used to re-configure aspects of what you are and what you’ve experienced.
There is no picture-perfect example of what I’m trying to create. If there was; there would be no underlying purpose in my creative output. There’s no measureable value in saying what’s already been said. There is no one who has come before me or will come after me; that has to offer this world, what I have to offer. Creative action is manipulation, incorporation, and reconfiguration… if there existed media that already encapsulated what I had to offer; my contribution would be redundant and obsolete.
Could you please name 5 of your favourite animes or mangas, and tell us why?
- Ghost in the Shell
- Spirited Away
- Princess Mononoke
To do each of these works their proper justice; explaining why each have influenced me in the way they have, would be a herculean effort.
Generalizing; each of the aforementioned works are masterful instances of world-building. Their characters, aesthetic, concepts, narrative, and technical execution remain unparalleled. Each, on this list, came to me at a time when their potential to inspire was at it’s zenith; perfection in fate’s choreography, viewed in retrospect.
I recently read an article about how Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat joined forces to create some outstanding work, and started wondering about aspects of creative collaboration. Since you work a lot on a collaborative level, how would you describe the advantages of a collaboration? And do you think the digital age will push and motivate even more people to connect creatively?
The society and culture we currently enjoy has been built on the contributions and collaboration of millions and millions of humans throughout history.
Every human is born into a world bursting at the seams with information. From the moment we open our eyes for the first time our little brains begin downloading. With the advent of the internet; the aggregate of the ultimate collaboration: collective human understanding, is at our fingertips. So even outside of an intentional viewpoint; as social creatures by nature, every single thing we do is collaboration.
This is the reason why I enjoy collaborating so much… it's the interaction of trying to deduce what makes an individual artist tick. This pursuit fascinates me; to see how other creatives, that I respect, approach their work and achieve the results that they do. Meticulously analyzing their methodology, and when all's said and done, to take that knowledge, creating a hybrid. Which results in something that truly encapsulates our essences. That’s transcendent.
Some physicists say that every aspect of what we see is a downstream result of disturbances in the quantum field. Similarly, collaboration is the overlay of intersecting ripples; concurrent streams of interlocking complexity. A multi-dimensional, infinitely complex Venn diagram that transcends perspective, time, and space.
Could you please tell us something about your work [DUALITY OF MAN / DISSOLUTION OF EGO] and “Quest” where you merged xxxtentation and Frank Ocean into your world?
As many are; I am obsessed with pop culture. Constantly dissecting, over-analyzing, then contextualizing. These are examples of two instances where that interpretation has directly translated to my output.
Xxxtentacion has been a lightning-rod of criticism and hype ever since he entered the collective consciousness… The narrative of his rise to the fore, and the methodology of what he creates ultimately add up to one of the more fascinating touchstones of recent pop-culture. I felt that I had something to add to the conversation; an angle on his story that contributed perspective yet explored. I did my best to present that perspective through [Duality of Man / Dissolution of Ego].
Alternatively, “Quest” is diametrically opposed in its origins. The Xxxtentacion art was entirely spawned from a conceptual angle; the imagery lending itself as a tool to perpetuate my very specific ideas. On the other hand, “Quest” was entirely visual… for reasons I can’t elucidate with the utmost clarity; I saw Frank’s video for “Swim Good”, and was absolutely mesmerized. Pervading throughout was an enigmatic feeling that left me inspired to create something referential; albeit obliquely.
Is there a difference between the music you listen to while working on your projects and afterward?
What I’m listening to on any given day is -highly- variable. I haven’t quite pinned down what causes this exactly; I imagine it partially being the variance that comes with anything…
As for a difference between what I listen to whilst working versus other moments… I think the primary observable difference would be lyrics. I trend toward listening to music that has little to no lyrics while I work. It’s easier for my mind to enter that elusive flow state, I find, if intelligible words are absent. Thus freeing my consciousness to roam free among the planes of creativity toward actualization; direct line of sight, unobstructed.
By looking at you and Jor Diros’ work [JET SET ULTRA / CYBORG VIGILANTE] I see a lot of techwear/ACRONYM references. What does this brand, and especially this way of functional dressing mean to you? And why do you think that the digital art and illustration scene is so in love with technical clothing?
It means a lot to me… I’ll confess that my fascination is purely intellectual, for the most part. Retrospectively; however, I can pinpoint a moment in time of first coming across Acronym. It was a such a sequential thing; while searching for artistic reference, to discover that rich, textured underground-community surrounding the ethos it embodies. Prior to this exposure; the concept of hyper-functional clothes wasn’t something I had even conceived of.
I vividly recall how rewarding it was to wade ever-deeper into the nuances of techwear culture. I have always been a zealous disciple of “form follows function”, and this was the ultimate realization of that idea.
In this modern era; all of us are cyborgs. In light of that, the concept that clothing is both art, and functional accomplice to the actualization of kinetic, proprioceptive goals is enrapturing. I’ve heard it said that beauty is truth, and truth, beauty. The way in which Errolson, and everyone pushing techwear forward, approaches this ideology of clothing expands in concert with technological advancement. All this, ensuring the horizon of what’s possible, in this lane, continually recedes.
As for why the international art scene is seemingly so obsessed… from where I’m standing, it's the aesthetic. The matrix to Deus Ex; there’s a rich foundation of characters embodying that style. Whether it’s pure causality; or a reflexive ouroboros of cyclical influence, I couldn’t tell you with any degree of certainty. But when the rubber hits the road; I think the simplest answer is: It just looks really damn cool.
In a world where you can create only one piece of art every year. What would you do for 2017?
As I mentioned previously, my personal relationship with art is such an incremental, evolutionary experience… it would almost be impossible to truly distill my desired contribution, for a full year, into a single piece.
Perhaps to combat this limitation; and seeming dissonance between my own personal philosophy and the hypothetical constraints of the inquiry, I would make an incredibly rich, complex, and detailed illustration that I worked on, incrementally, every day… The ultimate expression of my experience and what I would want to contribute for that entire year. 2017 isn’t even half over, the narrative is still unfolding for myself and countless others...
Biancissimo is always about good food as well! So what kind of food temporarily boosts your dopamine and serotonin?
I absolutely wouldn’t consider myself a food connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination, but that doesn’t necessarily preclude me from absolutely loving food. I would probably be happiest to see an authentic Wagyu steak in front of me.
Less fantastically, my diet contains a truly absurd amount of locally-sourced, pasture-raised eggs and dark chocolate.
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists on how to find their own way inside this endless jungle of inspiration?
Stay curious. Stay voracious for novelty and new experiences, perspectives, and information. The beauty and tragedy of life itself is the foundation of any creative output that is truly meaningful. Constantly absorb and share ideas. Stay confident! But flexible enough to incorporate new content that resonates with you. Pursue authenticity to ignite passion. The world needs creatives who are disciplined and composed toward their respective visions above all.