Digital artist Daniel Brown has created a beautiful, interactive Valentine’s artwork for Mulberry visitors to send to their sweethearts.
We spoke to Daniel to find out about his inspirations, ideas and plans for the future.
How did you get into the field of digital, interactive art?
There are two sides to this – my father was actually a pioneer in the field of digital imaging. He set up one of Europe’s first computer graphics companies, making animation and producing special effects for television and film. However he, like me, was also enthusiastically interested in using technology as an art form. So I certainly inherited that passion, but ironically I got my break working as an apprentice at a digital media company. When the web took off in the late 90s I was doing research for them and realised that the web was a phenomenal interactive medium in its own right.
What influences you and your creations?
For the most part digital media trends to reference a certain graphic, clean and high-tech aesthetic. I’ve always been more interested in seeing what happens when the technology is applied to more organic and textured media; photography, fashion and nature. I like to create things that have the paradox of looking very natural and first glance, but in reality are very high-tech.
Describe a particular moment that influenced your career.
I have been working on my flower series ‘On Growth and Form’ for around 10 years now, but ironically the first example was actually created simply to demonstrate a mathematical principle. However, the piece ended up being far more popular than I ever expected, in particular appealing to people who weren’t interested in technology. I realised then that being high-tech for the sake of it can be a misnomer, and that in fact often what people see in things is far more subtle; colour, emotion and mood. I was always more interested in the ‘organic’ look of fractals and the like, and then in 2000 my work came very much to the public view, and, slightly surprisingly to me, it was the organic and natural looking work that people picked up on.
The flowers you designed for Mulberry’s Love Blossoms project seem delicate and romantic: what inspired you to fuse this aesthetic with cutting-edge, high-tech principles?
Specifically in regards to my flower work I do like the idea of ‘metaphorical genetic engineering’. If you look at the history of botanical exploration there are wonderful stories of people travelling the world to discover plants, breeding new species, all in the name of creating new variety. I like the idea that in the future we could all design our own real plants and flowers.
How would you like to see digital, generative and interactive art used in the future?
Modern high-tech production methods combined with rapid prototyping mean that we are nearing the point where every product that we purchase – whether it be a garment, a piece of furniture or a mobile phone – will be literally made to order. We can then start thinking about how we can make every item unique to the owner. In that space, it will be vital for brands to be able to accommodate their consumers’ tastes while still having a recognisable aesthetic identity. I think interactive generative design offers the solution.