Check out these Pollock-inspired paint explosions

An old photo of Jackson Pollock set photographer and artist Fabian Oefner off on an epic paint-manipulation experiment – no CGI allowed.

Fabian Oefner describes himself as a curious investigator, whose work treads the line between art and science. A recent project saw him explore the effects of pneumatic force on paint, resulting in a mesmerising series of images - one that graced the cover of a recent issue of Computer Arts.

Tell us a little bit about this project...

"The images of the Liquid Jewel series are part of a cycle about manipulating paint by different natural forces. I often use scientific phenomena to create my images. In this case, I used pneumatic force to create these colourful structures, but other series explore the effects of gravity and centrifugal force."

What was your inspiration?

"The idea for the entire cycle came to me when I was looking at an image of Jackson Pollock standing on top of a canvas, just about to pour paint onto it. So I said to myself, I would like to know what exactly happens in that moment where the paint falls onto the canvas. One could say that I was more interested in the action than the painting. That’s what made me start experimenting with different techniques of manipulating paint."

How did you create the images?

"Let me start by saying that there is no CGI involved. The image you are looking at is more or less the image that I saw on the back of the camera. The concept sounds fairly simple: take a balloon, cover it with paint and then pierce it, and photograph that exact millisecond where the paint starts to go in all different directions. But I can assure you that the execution of this simple concept was a real pain. Although this series consists of only five images, I did literally hundreds of explosions until I got the right result. But I still feel like it was worth it."

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever been inspired by?

"Scottish whisky, but not in the sense that you’re probably thinking of. I mean it in a more literal sense - I used it for an upcoming project..."

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 220.

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