10 Questions with Self-Taught 3D Artist & Graphic Designer AKUA Visuals

AKUA Visuals has quite a distinctive artistic style which teeters between the ethereal and tangible. The contrast places this South African artist in an otherworldly denomination of digital art. Remaining fairly mysterious to their audience, AKUA answered 10 questions to give us a better insight into their practice.

1) As a self-taught 3D artist and graphic designer, how did you gain the knowledge to create such an impressive body of work?

I started out reading a lot of articles from experts in the VFX industry and incorporating their techniques into my workflow. Watching some tutorials gave me the confidence to just play around. Reading software documentation gave me a better understanding of the inner workings.

2) Your art is ethereal and otherworldly: what or who inspires this?

My work heavily relies on the music I listen to, sometimes the projects I work on determine what music I listen to. There is definitely a symbiotic relationship. As far as other influences are concerned, it ranges from Yoji Shinkawa to the works of Orphan Drift.

3) Tell us a bit about your background: where are you from, how old are you and where are you based?

I don’t think it’s of any importance.

4) Which project was your favorite to work on and why?

Last year I had the opportunity to work on the promotional material for CLM’s (Club Late Music) ‘Emergence’ EP. They gave me complete creative freedom to bring their vision to life. I enjoyed the process and being able to contribute to the advancement of open source collaborative art was all the incentive I needed.

5) What exciting things do you have in store for 2020?

Increase in the scale of the projects I take on, for sure.

6) If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

Syd Mead or Vaughan Oliver.

7) ‘AKUA Visuals’ is an interesting name, tell us about its origin and why you use it.

I’m not sure, to be honest. I’ve just picked AKUA as the name for my ‘digital self’, perhaps there is subconscious reasoning.

8) You speak a bit about creating environments for your audiences, as well as making art for self-expression; what do you hope your audience will feel when they see your work?

When working on a project I don’t have the intention of evoking an immediate emotion. I wish to create a digital world be it a single album cover or an animation with which the audience can derive any meaning. If I wanted people to feel something I’d be a propaganda artist.

9) How long have you been practicing and did you ever wish to study art/design? 

I’ve been educating myself for five years and have only started doing freelance work in the last three years. I did a four-year illustration course in high school. I had planned on pursuing animation or design but things didn’t go as planned.

10) How do you maintain motivation, inspiration and drive to create? Do you find this comes intuitively, or do you have to push yourself?

To create becomes a necessity, I believe remaining productive is an essential part of the well-being. In pursuing a creative outlet consistently, it certainly can give one a sense of purpose. Maintaining motivation is a constant struggle many people deal with, however, the biggest mistake one can make is thinking that you need to be in a better space before you can create.

Written by Grace Crooks.

Between 10 and 5