Dominic Elvin creates a wide variety of artworks inspired by science and science fiction.
How did you get started doing what you do?
When I was 13 my father gave me Isaac asimov’s I robot, The rest of the robots, and foundation series to read, I have been fascinated and obsessed with technology, space and robots ever since. Also at 13 I was given a stereo/tape cassette recorder, I took it apart to see how it worked, my mother wasn’t very pleased but I made a robot head out of the pieces to try and replicate one of Asimov’s robots
I’ve always been creative and made or constructed things I wanted or needed.
In 1995 after doing a few projects like some window displays in Soho and getting involved with a friend’s club doing the décor I decided I wanted to be this creative always and looked at how I could be an artist professionally, I never studied art and had no connections. I started by making futuristic lighter designs and selling them in shops, Then later got into the club stall circuit (Garage and Megatripolis at Heaven, Trancenation at Adrenalin Village, Fridge) and various dance parties and events
After getting established for making the best lighters and jewellery on the scene I got a stall at Camden Lock and took on commissions and whole sale orders, After three years in the club scene and Camden market I moved to Spitalfields market. By this time I was doing installations and shop design for Cyberdog primarily but moving into other areas in fashion industry, club scene and interior design.
As I started to evolve I did my own exhibitions and develop a style I was recognised for what was then called Cyber art.
You have a connection with trance and that sort of music
I think... aside of some of your things being available
at Cyberdog. Do you get inspiration from that side of
music or is it more the people that are connected with it?
Or not at all?!
I’ve always loved music, doing robotics dancing in 1983/84 listening to electro, I was right there from Acid house, hardcore, rave, hard house, so yes music is a big part of what influences me, I listen to dance music when I work on pieces but also listen to modern classical, Steve Reich, Phillip glass, Natasha Atlas. Usually if I’m deconstructing or working with power tools I love anything hard and loud but listen to classic or chillout music when I’m working on details or finishing, I tend to go with the flow of how I’m feeling like most artists I think.
On your site you talk about the excitement of science and
evolution. Do you have a vision of where this is leading?
The future isn’t set yet, we will make it what it will become as history, I love this idea. The main thing that has evolved us as a species is our awareness of our environment and how we can manipulate it to our advantage. Up to now we haven’t done such a good job, I hope frontier sciences and technology will help us correct our mistakes. I’m very much an optimist despite current affairs of irreversible climate change and warring nations threatening to blow us all into extinction. I hope we can get past the next 100 years and evolve into a better species and realise our potential which I feel will be a hybrid of genetic engineering and cyborgism ( technological implants replacing mobile phones and PC’s) and maybe even colonising the solar system which can only happen with a genetically modified version of what we are now, at least then humans will have opened more options to diversify and continue where as now all our eggs are in one global basket which is making us very paranoid about extinction.
Some of your things might look a bit scary to some people.
Are the ideas behind your aesthetic mostly scientific?
My work has been accused of being post apocalyptic in nature, that wasn’t my intention, it evolved like this from recycling old hardware and industrial materials from building sites etc in the early days when I was always broke and used what I could find. When I looked at an object I always saw something else first that would make a good component for an Idea I had in my head at the time
In the last few years as I’ve progressed and become more confident as an artist I’m refining my techniques and ideas to appeal to a wider audience while keeping the integrity of my ideas and influences which is no easy feat. Frontier sciences by their nature are pushing the boundaries of social ethics and morals to their limits (stem cell therapies, robotics taking over peoples jobs) the list is endless. Many people are technophobic on a deeper level, I always had the idea that I could naively help build a bridge to make people more aware that science isn’t so scary and is usually used to help us by using art as a medium to communicate. Most people that see my stuff are stimulated in some way whether It’s shock, amazement or horror, it’s all good in my books if it invokes thought processes to think more.
Some of them look almost organic. Do you mostly have a clear idea beforehand of what you're going to make or do some of them just grow?
I usually have some Idea beforehand what I want to do, some pieces evolve like you recognised, some are very well thought out but I also like what I call flash art where I have random objects around and just create and go with the flow, this kind of free forming is great fun and helps to keep me thinking outside the box.
As I said previously I’ve been refining my techniques and much more focused on how to interpret my science influences. I guess my work has been called figurative if I was to label it where as now I’m going more towards conceptual and surrealist or maybe a fusion of all of them
What are you working on now?
At present I’m working on an exhibition called ‘Organic Mechanic’ which I plan to put on in the summer. It’s based around the relationship of nature and technology, how they interact, keywords would be: fusion, interaction, symbiosis, modification. It’s the first time I feel developed and confident enough as an artist to tackle something like this with a small degree of intelligence.
There are some amazing artists around but unfortunately I think many mainstream artists pander to the art industry and what is expected and accepted as art. I would like to be more mainstream but without losing the edginess that comes from underground level
I’m also working on another exhibition called ‘Headflux’ which is more complex based around quantum theories and sciences, this will need more time and funding, also I’m busily busting a few brain cells doing lots of research trying to understand multi-dimensional concepts and how I can interpret them in three dimensional form.. wish me luck
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