Anthony Samaniego is an American artist who creates vivid video clips that possess a larger than life quality through their visual richness. His work swirls and twirls on itself, transporting viewers into its own digital reality. Each piece is so detailed that experiencing its art becomes a mesmerizing affair; one reminiscent of the generative, code-based art practices that have become a major trend in the broader new media genre. However, the term “reminiscence” is essential here, because the artist does not choose to place his practice in this particular framework. He tells STIR, “I wouldn’t say the techniques I use are generative processes. I think of generative art as creating something from code. I do not do it. Instead, I physically photograph areas and objects, derive a point cloud, animate and distort that point cloud through simulations, and finally animate camera movement. It’s an arduous process that depends a lot on me. I wouldn’t consider this generative, but again, it’s all generated from our minds, right? »
The visual artist goes on to explain his creative process and admits that mathematics does indeed play a part in it. “I use math mainly to create loops. Sometimes I use math for something a little more complex, like setting up specific particle sizes or creating an equation that changes particle size based on distance traveled from its point of origin . For loops, I mainly calculate the distance from the camera and equate it to the start position of the room. Sometimes I involve a d = rt (distance = rate*time) simplicity formula. It’s really about making sure all the numbers match,” he says.
After reading Samaniego discussing his creative methodology, one will no doubt find it odd that he does not call such an arithmetically complex process “generative”. Perhaps this can be explained by the knowledge inheritance paradigm that characterizes the path of many digital practitioners? So much of the code or formula that goes into these works is free to be acquired and modified, that it would make sense for some creatives like him to see their craft as more about bringing in those smaller and more techniques of digital art and blockchain. technology together in the captivating way they do. And to be sure, the artist in question produces work that is nothing short of captivating. Take breathing space for example: Samaniego’s piece takes us on a journey through a misty forest that is being created before our eyes. It’s almost spiritual, and lingers on the mind, like a good feeling found in the lap of nature.
Samaniego had an interesting creative journey, given that the artist didn’t consider himself a creative at all to begin with. He tells STIR, “I’m from Los Angeles, California, and I don’t have any formal art training. Regarding education, I have a bachelor of arts degree in economics. I started taking pictures around 2009. In the beginning, I only took pictures for fun and to kill time. Eventually, I developed a love for photography. That love ventured into videography, which eventually saw me spending most of my time making cinemagraphs and GIFs. He explains that he finds a deep beauty in the subtlety and timeless nature of the photographic medium. His fascination for photography, then for the moving image, opened up amazing creative avenues for him: Samaniego found work with various brands, including Apple, Coachella and Toyota. The artist continues, reminiscing about that time in his practice, and says, “It was during a period of 2012-16. In 2016, I started experimenting with photogrammetry. At the time, I didn’t know what to do with point clouds. I just knew I wanted to animate them somehow. This led me to 3D, but down a different path rather than photogrammetry. Anyway, I revisited photogrammetry during the pandemic, as circumstances led me to be cooped up indoors, photographing plants all day. In a world of unknown chaos, I found a way to create artistic value from how I spent my time. What emerged was a creative practice that calls on all my skills, from photography to videography, including photogrammetry and 3D animation as well.
The artist’s work is surprisingly clear, which gives the impression that one is invited to observe the movements of each individual pixel. Samaniego finds this interesting and says, “I strive to strike a balance between impressionism and pointillism in terms of aesthetics. I never thought about the feeling of being able to see every particle. Come to think of it, he; I used to take a lot of photos at night that had a strong bokeh influence. Now it’s almost as if the bokeh has become a 3D object. In conceptual terms, I like the science that all matter is made up of atoms. In a sense, they are 3D interpretations of reality, but made up of particles or atoms.”
Lately, Samaniego has entered the non-fungible token space through Makerspace, the crypto art market and community, and is now uploading all of his current work to Art Republic Global and SuperRare. “At first, I was reluctant. NFTs seemed too good to be true and artists actually having market power was something I was not used to… It was liberating. I am part of a few groups that will become more public in the near future. Let’s see how it goes,” he said. He ends his interview with a reflection on the direction in which he would like to see his practice develop. For Samaniego, it’s all about scale now: he wants to create bigger and bigger installations, in order to better immerse his audience in them. He is right to recognize the enchanting quality of his work, and it will be fascinating to see the pieces Samaniego will develop in the years to come. Perhaps we’ll soon see massive visualizers showcasing his work, as well as an exploration of augmented reality capabilities. The latter sounds the most exciting, but no matter what the artist chooses to focus on, his work will undoubtedly remain wonderful and valuable.