Home Magazine article Visions & Virtuosity – Culture City :: Article from SRQ magazine by Phil Lederer

Visions & Virtuosity – Culture City :: Article from SRQ magazine by Phil Lederer



It looks like a portal to another world, the central star widening and eclipsed by prismatic crystalline structures giving way to layers of pseudo-topographic network and shadow. On the one hand, the effect is cosmic, evoking vast infinitudes, emergence. On the other hand, it feels almost intimate and intrusive, as if the viewer is placed in another’s eyeball, looking outward and stealing that fleeting moment from within. It hangs on the wall of the house of its creator, digital artist Diana de Avila.

“I woke up at 2 am with a vision and did so in a fit of sleeplessness,” she says casually, and one thing immediately becomes clear: 400 years ago, they would have it. burnt at the stake. Since 2017, de Avila has been blessed with what she calls an ‘artistic gift’, manifested not only in visions, but also in the creative compulsion she nurtures with the hundreds of programs and the thousands of equations and the growing repository of code she uses to create it. art. “It just happened by magic,” she continues with a mischievous smile, not helping her case with the frightened Puritan population at all. “So completely sudden.”

But there is no dark magic or devilry involved here. No witchcraft or cursed compact. On the contrary, de Avila suffers from what is known as Acquired Scientist Syndrome, an extremely rare condition in which traumatic brain injury or illness leads to the emergence of extraordinary skill. In de Avila’s case, it was both a motorcycle crash with a helmet shattering while serving in the military and a multi-year relapse of multiple sclerosis that ultimately resulted in synesthesia and artistic awakening. She can’t quite explain where her visions and ideas come from, but neither can science.

All she can do is follow them. Create when images appear and compulsion strikes. And where other artists turn to oil and acrylic, pastels or pencils, de Avila turns to one of his many devices – computers, iPad – and the limitless expanse of a canvas. digital where she can indulge in her wonder.

De Avila had never heard of fractals before he woke up, but now they dominate his brain space, appearing before his eyes of their own accord and burning their imprints on his gray matter, tattooed on his thoughts. She finds them bewitching, losing herself in their endless permutations, the appealing depth of their self-similarity that speaks of a paradox of both infinite complexity and sublime simplicity.

And so when one appears to her, de Avila has no choice but to continue – to start some of the hundreds of computer programs she has learned to navigate and manipulate since receiving her gift (a intuitive understanding and enthusiasm for these labyrinthine programs and systems being another side effect of his scholarlyism) and rediscovering, in a sense, this fractal image. She might not be wielding a paintbrush, but by entering equations and adjusting variables, she sets the parameters of her digital creation and commands the artificial intelligence that calculates the countless curves, colors, lines and shapes, building the picture piece by piece.

But above all, de Avila is not a prisoner of the fractal image. Although his art begins from a starting point so calculated, mapped and plotted by a mathematical axiom, limited by the limits of artificial intelligence, it quickly becomes a playground for de Avila’s artistic intuition. In this digital space, the laws of trigonometry become as malleable as any paint or pigment, and de Avila, from his position as an artist, begins to manipulate the expression of mathematical truth into something, in his eyes. , even more perfect. “I’m trying to take what’s going on in front of my face and turn it into reality,” she says.

The resulting fractal manipulations vary from trippy Travel with Morpheus, created in part through more than 30,000 individual Bézier quadratic curves, drawn and superimposed to create this topographic effect, with an impressionistic aspect Tree of life and even the almost photorealistic clouds and shore of Simple things. The only devil is in the details, where de Avila’s digital brushstrokes can be seen in countless arcs and curves.

Although sudden learned scholar syndrome remains rare, experts identify three stages, roughly speaking, that artistic scholars go through as they explore their latent talents: imitation, improvisation, and creation. For her part, de Avila finds that this rings true. His early works and his first exhibition, an open call to the Sarasota Art Center, had a distinctly Mondrian flavor, followed by forays into the abstract that belied a moving artist, always in search. And she remembers when she found her voice at the end of 2019. “I became my own artistic self,” she says.

There hadn’t been a big dramatic moment or culminating achievement, no fanfare to announce his arrival, but rather the stealthy confidence that comes only from getting the job done and embracing the artist within. “I learned to do with it,” says de Avila. “I trust my intuition and I trust the process.”

De Avila’s latest series, a quartet of fractal manipulations based on the physics of a breaking wave and imprinted on textured metal, is on display in this month’s ‘Shifting Perceptions’ exhibition at SPAACES, where de Avila will be exhibiting alongside artist Julie Kanapaux.