“Being an artist for me means understanding the world more clearly," Fabian Oefner recently explained to us during a visit to his studio in Switzerland. With an impressive resume that boasts scientist, photographer, and artist as occupations, it's clear that Fabian's mind functions with precise strokes, able to use equal parts method and creativity to produce his work. In the video above, Oefner leads us through his creative process, a system of trial and error--not unlike that of a chemist's search for the precise formula--and how one perfect shot can often be the fruit of literally thousands of missteps.
In the past Oefner has used the basic scientific principles of centrifugal force, magnetic fields, and opposing chemical compound mixing (e.g. oil v water) to create his work. For his newest series Orchid, premiering here on The Creators Project, Oefner closes his Three or "Action Paint" cycle by focusing in on gravity's effect on paint, partially inspired by Jackson Pollock's inventive and heavily physical use of the medium.
“What I’m trying to do as a photographer, as an artist, is to bring the world of art and science together," Oefner recently stated duing a popular TED Talk. "Whether there’s an image of a soap bubble..a universe made of tiny little beads of oil paint.. or paint that is moving by centralfugal sources. I’m always trying to link these two fields together. They both respond to their surroundings in very different ways."
Utilizing the basic principles of gravity, Oefner filled a tank with several layers of different colors of liquid paint, with the top layer being either black or white. Then, a sphere was thrown into the paint. As the falling object splashed into the tank, the paint was forced upwards, shaping the individual layers of paint into a blossom-like structure (hence the name Orchid).
Similar to the other two projects in the Action Paint cycle, Black Hole and Liquid Jewel, Orchid is about preserving ephemeral beauty. Photographed with high speed devices, these images immortalize moments that appear for only a fraction of a second before disappearing entirely.
You can read more about Fabian Oefner's work below, and watch the video at the top for a live demonstration.