Digital artwork is perhaps the most up-to-date art form right now; illustrations can be made without a pen touching paper, thanks to design software, scanners and the Internet. Chrissie Abbott’s work isn’t restricted to the digital world, but it’s the computer crafted images which appeal to me the most. The illustrations conjure up a sort of ‘nouveau-nostalgia’, the style feels too modern to be considered old, yet manages to feel out-dated, while the colours and icons have a distant familiarity as they belong the computer screens of yesterday. Collages are frequently made with older images, cut from the pages of forgotten magazines, contrastingly Abbott’s work is grounded in the digital age, composed from visual gems hidden in the depths of cyberspace and is recognisable to anyone who has used a computer during the past 20 years.
‘Home’ and ‘Inside’ encapsulate the spirit of 00s computer usage. 3D interiors are compressed into flat, 2D forms reminiscent of the basic design software from a decade ago. The vivid rainbow gradient is identical to the lurid tones of Microsoft Word Art, while the clouds in the sky creep over the scene like a Windows XP screensaver. The composition in ‘Inside’ straddles the realms of normality and surrealism, at first glance it makes sense but the perspective plays games on the eye – are the stairs upside down? Is the image of the cat becoming bigger? Even the pot of flowers floats mysteriously in a multicoloured void (or is it a floor?).
The Word Art rainbow appears again in the ‘Portals’ gif, curving into a cylinder which repeatedly swallows up a rectangle of starry sky, ad infinitum. Despite its simplistic style, the constant reputation makes it hypnotic. Abbott’s film ‘See You On The Other Side’ (screenshots featured here) is a bit grittier, with a style evocative of jerky video footage. The image of a peacock is warped so it is barely recognisable, its pixelization creating psychedelic patterns. ‘See You On The Other Side’ is the perfect phrase for Abbott’s work, she creates a parallel universe, home to all the outdated leftovers of the digital revolution.
Abbott’s work shares aesthetic qualities with the artistic subculture ‘Vaporwave’, a movement I’ve only recently discovered and have been captivated by. Vaporwave combines digital icons and graphics with vivid pinks and purples to create images which transport you to a parallel universe, or as Abbott calls it, ‘The Other Side’. These images take art one step further into to a surreal online world where things can be made with the click of a button, or lost forever by pressing delete.
All photos: http://chrissieabbott.com/