At its worst, digital art offers highly manipulated images with little artistic merit. But at its best, as seen in the work of Ferdi Rizkiyanto, digital art pushes the limits of what we consider possible in image-making.
Jakarta-based Rizkiyanto, also known as Pepey, makes hyper-detailed digital paintings of surreal dreamscapes that will make you do a double-take. His childlike imagination turns everyday objects into fantastical narratives. In Uncharted, what first looks like a mere melting candle is also, on closer inspection, a group of tiny sculpted explorers scaling the sides of a flaming glacier.
Gravity comes undone on a suburban block in Loading, where houses, bicycles, and sofas float into the sky. Journey turns blue paint squeezed from a tube into a pirate ship, using software to play with the texture of paint in a way that would likely impossible to do with real physical paint.
Ritzkiyanto, who works as a freelance art director by day, has won the Gold Stellar Art Award by Digital Arts California for his series Colors, featuring faces made from airborne splashes of rainbow paint.
While in high school in Jakarta, Ritzkiyanto was introduced to Photoshop by his older brother. In college, he fell in love with 3-D software like Poser and Bryce. In an interview with graphic designer Roberto Blake, Ritzkiyanto cites science fiction and horror films and superhero stories as inspiration for his work, and also praises the work of Piotr Jaworowski. His most valuable resource as a designer? "The Internet," he says. "It’s the never-ending resource of knowledge and inspiration, from the most basic design tutorials to ‘out of [this] world’ inspiration."