Polish-born, Athens-based artist Adam Martinakis was first attracted to experimenting with his trademark digital 3D style because of the medium’s flexible format and endless range for creative potential. Having scooped a host of international art prizes over the last twelve years, we talk to Martinakis about the human body, the effect of the current Greek crisis and looking to the future of 3D art.
Much of your work touches on universal human themes like sadness and childhood. Do you think that art should always be relatable to the viewer in that way?
The key word is ‘universal’, as you call it. I'm very interested in the common feelings and situations that we all go through. Childhood, for instance, is a common period of our lives, but as the time goes by it looks more like a dream. Sadness and love are feelings that change and move us strongly. We are recreated by those situations as unique persons, and for me, working on those matters is an important way to understand them more effectively. It isn’t necessary for art to always be relatable in that way, but such universal matters are always present and alive, regardless if you’re standing before art as a viewer or a creator.
Love For Light
Similarly, a lot of your work explores human physicality – what is it about the image of the body that inspires you?
Our body is the only home that we really have, and the most expressive tool we’ve got. Even when we don't use it, like when we sleep or just sit and think, we always imagine ourselves in our bodies. I use it as a symbol of human presence. Sometimes, you can get a lot more information from perceiving a body than by listening to someone's speech; there’s huge difference between saying to somebody, "I love you" or " I hate you", than from showing it with your body.
Baptised by Fire – Prometheus
Some of your pieces have titles like, 'Re(al) Creation of Adam', and 'Baptised by Fire – Prometheus'. Would you say that you’re interested in classical subjects?
I’m interested in everything that holds an exciting story. Classical subjects contain timeless morals. Sometimes, an ancient myth contains valuable information for the confrontation of the current issues, and we can learn a lot from them. Take now, for instance; the fire of Prometheus is again needed for the humanity to go on...
The Divisions of Pleasure
A lot of media is utilising 3D imagery now – at some point, would you like to extend your work into a totally immersive 3D experience (in the same way that people can view 3D TV through 3D glasses)?
We are using 3D technology to recreate new possibilities of perception of our environment, and get closer to other dimensions. I have implemented some of my images into stereoscopic view to offer a more 3D, ‘real’ feeling by using the red/cyan glasses, and will extend artworks into real 3D more in the future – but right now, it’s not the most important issue for me. Perhaps I will experiment more with hologram technology, so that I can deliver real 3D digital sculptures for the audience.
A World In Tears
You’ve taught at several different art institutions. What's it like to teach art in Athens right now (not least with the strict austerity measures currently in place)?
Everything has been affected by the Crisis, from the psychology of the people to their quality of life. The art scene and education didn’t escape, because there are cuts everywhere. I have decided to quit my current institution for personal reasons, but have already started Internet courses which probably will expand more in time.
Till Time Tear Us Apart
Having worked as a digital artist for twelve years now, what's the most important thing you've learned over the course of your career?
The fact that there is no end to inspiration, innovation, learning and self improvement. Continuing to experiment is a virtue, and in my mind, there is no such thing as better or worse art. There is art which echoes the internal voice of more people, and finds more hearts to inspire, and there can be art which penetrates the soul of fewer persons but in a deeper sense.
Pax-Humana (The New Era)
Digital artistry has also evolved a lot over the years – are you excited by the new developments? What do you predict for digital art in the future?
Digital art is the artistic form which will benefit most from changes and developments. Everything in our lives is getting more and more digital, because new technologies open new doors to experience and creation. I can’t imagine my life without the Internet any more; ten years ago I could. This is not a matter of addiction, it is a matter of evolution. I'm very excited by all the advancements in my field, but choose only those that are appropriate to my personal theories and practicies – but I follow as many as I can as a viewer. We will continue to be impressed and surprised by the potentials of art forms created digitally.
All That Glitters Wants To Be Gold
Are there ever any drawbacks to working with digital mediums, over non-digital ones?
With digital, your body doesn’t take part as much during the creative process. With painting, for example, the whole body can be a participant, especially if you work on bigger outputs. I miss the smell of the paints, the feeling of the materials and generally the usage of all your senses during the time of creation. However, at the end of the day, I share Heidegger's views, that art has a mostly spiritual status.
Adam’s new work for international art collective slashTHREE will be revealed in the next couple of weeks – stay tuned at adamakis.blogspot.co.uk.