We chatted with Maria Gudjohnsen to learn more about her artistic practice, her speculations for the world in 2121, and how she thinks the virtual will start bleeding into reality, and vise versa. Check out her thoughts in the interview below and view her collection on Portion!
Hi Maria! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and your work? What is the philosophy and inspiration behind your creations?
Hey! I am an Icelandic 3D artist recently based in NYC. My work is about exploring possibilities, usually the potentials of reality and virtuality. To do that, I like to experiment with different new media, which usually results in some sort of speculation of the world that we already know. I like to experiment and switch it up, very much with a childlike approach. I like to consider myself as a jack of all trades, master of them all.
What brought you to create digital art as a 3D generalist? What messages are you trying to express with your style and how has your style evolved over the years?
I have a background in Graphic Design and photography but it never resided with me. I knew I was creative but it took me some time to find my path. Around 2016, my brother pushed me to learn Cinema 4D. Ever since I have yet to take my hand off the mouse. I do not like to draw, and that has always been a restricting factor to getting my ideas and aesthetics out of my brain. 3D was perfect! I am able to develop visualizations without restrictions.
For the generalist part, I like being able to do everything. Not that I need to control everything, I just have a really scattered brain that requires me to be able to pull off all kinds of different stuff. If I dive for too long into the same thing I eventually get bored and discouraged.
People describe me as boisterous and rambunctious. I think my art generally reflects that energy. I try to express a certain attitude, one that doesn't take the world too seriously. My style has definitely evolved over the years as I've gained more skills, yet I still look back to my early days and I see very similar things to what I am doing now. The consistency is quite surprising to me, since my dominant trait is extremely chaotic. I still use the same line and forms, same color palettes and same attitude. Just gained some skills along the way.
You have minted “R+E+ALT+Y” and “Marbendill 2.0” on Portion for the Digital Futures event. Can you please speak on the significance of these pieces? What was the creative process like and what was it about these pieces that made them the right fit for Portion’s Digital Futures Month?
“Marbendill 2.0” is a futuristic depiction of Icelandic mythological creatures that live along the coastlines of the country. They are mysterious, wise and do not like to be disturbed. With it, I am reflecting on how culture and the preservation of culture will develop through the years. When technology has become a certain factor in our lives for some time, will we tell tales of the olden days including robots as mythological creatures? Acting as an acceptance of the technology.
“R+E+ALT+Y” is about consuming reality in a virtual setting. Right now we are occupied with bridging and integrating the virtual into reality. In a hundred years, I think we might shift the focus on integrating and bridging reality inside virtuality. Not the final stage but the final dimension of the simulacrum.
There are so many immersive spaces taking shape in the realm of NFTs—whether through metaverse environments, online gallery spaces, and even digital homes. How do you think NFTs might affect the future of architecture?
When technology is not a factor anymore, when we have ”perfected” virtual reality, I don't see why virtual architecture should be any less important than real architecture. I am particularly interested in seeing how our brains will deal with memories from virtual spaces. I don't think our brains can distinguish the spaces. We have knowledge of the difference between reality and virtuality, but I am not sure that our brains can actually distinguish it from a perception point. I am definitely excited for what is ahead in terms of obtaining complete virtuality.
Your work depicts utopian speculations of potential realities. Is this what you believe the future will look like? How would you define the future of digital?
I like to propose solutions without presenting problems. I like to speculate new worlds and solutions and propose them as alternatives, to ultimately challenge the way we perceive and think about things. I try to always work from a positive standpoint, I feel like it is easier to convey a message when it has a positive connotation. The future of digital is already the present, and exponentially growing. I just hope that the relationship between humans and machines will flourish. I am extremely excited about the times that we live in and the times to come!
Lastly, is there something you wish more people understood about your art?
"I hope people fall in love with my mind and not necessarily my medium."