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Mark Constantine Inducil is a Filipino-Australian digital artist who uses his considerable technical skill to create vibrantly surreal, three-dimensional dreamscapes. The vivid, sensory hues, satisfyingly tactile textures and floating, fluid abstract forms show Surrealist influences, an art form with roots in psychology and the exploration of the unconscious mind - subjects which clearly lie at the heart of Mark's work. Working across an array of applications like Cinema 4D, Octane, Photoshop and Adobe After Effects, Mark's impressive skill-set comes from a formal education in graphic design, cinematography and over twenty years working in the design and film industries. It's clear to see the influence of his past life as a cinematographer in how skilfully he applies motion and the principles of lighting, composition and design to his striking pieces.
When we first laid eyes on Marks' work, we were so impressed we just knew we had to feature him (go and check out his Instagram page now - it's a feast for the eyes!). It's been a great pleasure working with him on this interview - he's also just a really nice guy - and a real privilege to pick his brain about his creative practice, NFT's, and his personal journey towards becoming a successful digital artist.
Tell us a bit about your background and how you came to have such a wonderfully vivid and prolific imagination. How did visual art become your vocation?
I grew up in the Philippines and I remember being bored and lonely most of the time and I always felt that was how I developed my imagination. I also had a collection of comic books so as a kid I would keep reading them but mostly look at the art.
I must admit ... that I was a bit sceptical when I first heard about NFTs but it has been a life changer....- Mark Constantine Inducil
I was the only son in my family so by default it was me who was supposed to continue the family business but I never had any interest in it. I’ve always been drawn to visual arts; drawing, painting, photography were early interests then I studied graphic design, film and cinematography. I guess I just followed what was interesting to me and made the most of the opportunities that came my way.
NFTs have rocked the digital art world this year, with many conversations being had around NFTs being the future of fine art collecting. What has been your experience like selling your digitally produced art as NFTs? What in your opinion are the benefits and the potential pitfalls involved for the artist?
My experience has been pretty good so far. I must admit though that I was a bit sceptical when I first heard about NFTs but it has been a life changer. I understand a lot of people are sceptical but I think that’s a typical human response to something that is threatening to change an established way of doing things. I think it’s still important to be careful and vigilant while maintaining an open mind to the possibilities it could bring.
I think most digital artists earn their living through client work and that usually involves using your skills to communicate other people’s message but because of NFTs, it’s now entirely possible for digital artists to earn a living creating artworks for themselves. That to me is very liberating and it affords me to keep pushing my work.
As for the potential pitfalls for the artist, I think the biggest one concerns our mental health. It’s easy to compare ourselves with others and when you can actually see how much more likes or sales other artists get, it’s easy to get a little anxious or even depressed. I just think it’s important to remember not to dwell on things you can’t control and stay focused on your own journey.
What has led you to work primarily in digital over any other medium?
I just kind of fell into it. It started more as a necessity to learn for client work and it just evolved from there. Also, I like that there’s an undo command. You can’t undo a brush stroke on a traditional painting.
It’s easy to see your work is inspired by psychology and philosophy by how beautifully they portray the vastness and complexity of the inner psyche. What drives you to use these themes in your work? Does your work reflect your own inner journeys?
Yes, definitely. I had a personal crisis a few years ago and that experience made me reflect on a lot of things. It made me face my demons and made me aware that I can work to rise above them. A lot of my work comes from the emotions I feel whenever I remember certain people, events or even dreams and it’s an attempt to share that feeling through the art.
Lack of self-confidence, creative block, poor time management, impostor syndrome; some, if not most artists seem to have their own unique roadblock when it comes to the creative process. What was your own struggle with creativity, and what did you do to overcome it?
I have definitely experienced all of those and some I still go through to this day. I had a lack of self-confidence ever since I can remember and it really prevented me from discovering my own voice. Also growing up in a country where conformity is embraced was not very helpful in pushing your boundaries. I was also a terrible procrastinator and I relied heavily on my mood to carry me through my work. I was looking to improve myself by searching for a magic bullet that I thought once I possessed would instantly make me a better artist. It was a terribly frustrating cycle to be in and there was a lot of delusion of why things weren’t working out.
After I went through my crisis, I decided to start again and try to remember why I love creating art in the first place. I wanted to be honest with myself in every aspect. I realised that I was avoiding the grind of being a professional artist. I wanted to be great and I finally realised that there’s only one way to get there, so I developed a routine that I still follow today. I show up everyday and practice with focus and understand that it’s not supposed to be fun all the time. The journey is filled with frustrations but the discoveries and breakthroughs you can have make it worthwhile.
Digitally created art can be so easily reproduced and a copy is in all aspects identical to the original, which has always affected its perceived value. How would you go about convincing a potential buyer of the value of digital art and its rightful place in the art world?
This is actually the great thing about NFTs and the blockchain. By minting a piece of digital art, your piece now has a proof of ownership and authenticity, like a deed. This deed lives on a blockchain—a tamper-resistant digital public ledger accessible anywhere in the world.
Many people have said “but I can just download the image and it’s mine now.” This is partly true; anyone can own a copy of the image but it is of no value as there was no digital signature from the artist. Similarly, a digital file or canvas print of the Mona Lisa will not be worth millions of dollars as it is not the original signed piece.
Walk us through your creative process. Does each work start as a fully formed concept or feeling you strive to express as accurately as possible, or does the process itself dictate the finished piece?
I start thinking about a theme or a subject matter in the morning while working out and then I start work after lunch around 1pm and usually finish between 11pm to 2am. The story behind the piece usually doesn’t change but the manner on how it’s going to be portrayed is a bit unpredictable. It’s good when everything you wanted to do turns out great but if it’s not working, then I’m always ready to adjust and sometimes that shift can lead to new discoveries.
How does your love of cinema play into how you create your compositions?
Film has been a constant source of inspiration for me and has been a great source of learning. I love films that are visually driven with a rich atmosphere and a purposeful colour palette. DPs like Gordon Willis and Bradford Young made a huge impact on how I approach lighting in my work and Stanley Kubrick’s visually multi-layered films greatly influence how I compose my work.
Do you have any advice for beginners wanting to make 3D art but don’t know where to start? Would you say it’s possible to teach yourself or do you recommend taking professional courses?
It’s very possible and very easy to teach yourself nowadays. There are heaps of courses and video tutorials online if you want to learn a specific software. I think they should try both and see which one fits them. I tried online courses but I excelled better at experimentation. In saying that, I think that even if you learn all the software, it still goes back to your understanding of the fundamentals on what makes something visually intriguing.
What’s next on the horizon for your art practice? Do you have any exciting projects or exhibitions in the works for 2021?
I have an upcoming NFT exhibit in Melbourne along with 2 other Australian artists some time this month. I have also been invited to represent the Philippines and Australia in the largest contemporary art festival in Moscow this coming September.
As for my practice, I have a lot of things that I wanted to experiment with but I definitely want to do more animations this year. My long term goal though is to direct a feature film one day.