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This 16-Year-Old Rising Digital Arts Star Is Making Art History (2.0)

The Creators Project Content Partner, Intel iQ

David Marinos is a sixteen-year-old artist of Greek-Ukrainian heritage. Living between Greece and Bulgaria, the youngin’ has already spent years honing in on his aesthetic, undoubtedly the result of the heritage he shares with the art-historical canon. Unlike the ancient Greeks, however, Marinos sculpts his figures with the slice tool, and paints them in glitched-out neon.

Beyond his personal practice, Marinos keeps up with numerous side-projects. Recently, he has collaborated on a streetwear line called Icey, in which signature designs are screen printed onto cotton basics. The designs are sophisticated and precocious, and sometimes, even morbid. And the models? Straight-up teenage.

Marinos is also the founder of Lucent Kids, a collective of young digital artists who share the digi-minimalist aesthetic that has come to be synonymous with the Tumblr platform. With a selective process for accepting new artists into the collective, Marinos proves that he not only has a talent for creation, but also an eye for curation.

Beyond his prodigious talent, Marinos has an advanced understanding of himself as well as the world around him. His awareness is evident in the way he juxtaposes natural subjects with computerized textures, surreal colors with basic lines, and Classical figures with modern icons. The subjects may be referential, but the execution is always forward-thinking.  

We spoke to the young artist about his life, his practice, and his budding wealth of collaborations: 

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The Creators Project: Your artwork combines bold colors, natural and computerized textures, and strikingly unique ways of layering them together. You have found your ‘style’ rather early, for someone of your age. Can you describe the process of starting to work in a digital medium and how you found your aesthetic?

David Marinos: When I work in a digital medium, the things I look out for are composition, emotion, color, & more. Working in a digital medium is very flat and 2D, so you really need to go a long way to make the work interesting and eye-catching. I don’t believe that I have fully found my signature look yet, but I’m always pursuing different ways of capturing my focus and imagination. Experimentalism is key to my work.

What is your process for creating usually like, from start to finish?

Well, first I always do some research on whatever I want to portray in my work and then scale my images to very big measurements. After that I start adding different layers and textures that will give the image a unique appeal. Then I use color to my advantage & place it in the areas that need it the most. Sometimes I leave the work very open and spacious, & at other times I like to add lots of details and experiment with my work. My goal is to never have same outcome when working with my process.

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In your mind, what makes your process different from that of other artists?

My process is fast yet experimental. I go through so many visual styles and preparation before I start a group of work. I love using lateral action in my process, because I can stop at one stage of my process and then totally change to another path. I always try to keep it interesting for myself and the viewer, otherwise there is no point. Most artists or designers I know go through the same process for such a long time, and then they wonder why they are stuck in the same place. My process helps me see where I’m going with my work and then I can understand where to go next.

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What software do you use? Are there any special programs or even hardware technologies that have become integral to your creative process?

I have gone through them all! I have been using glitch programs, scanners, 3D and cinematic programs, but the two primary programs I use are Photoshop and Illustrator. Since 5th grade, I have always had a deep understanding of computer software, especially Photoshop. I always combine different tools from different programs and try to create something strange or visually pleasing. The programs and tools are infinite; it’s all about knowing how to combine them properly.

Your compositions express an awareness of the human form. How do you see its role within digital art? 

Infinite. There are endless ways to layer emotions and vibes with digital art, which is one of the great things about this medium. The body can be interpreted in many styles and that is what I’m always trying to find with my work. Imagery and digital mediums are powerful tools, and when they are combined with the human body, beautiful things happen.  By bringing awareness to other components in an artwork, you can express a strong new view of the human body.

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What is the role of Classical imagery within your work? Does your Ukrainian-Greek heritage influence your use of motifs like marble sculptures?

Yes! I love digging into my nationality— only then I can understand the image and begin to experiment with it. Greek statues, architecture, & poetry are my favorite to research and work with. Classical imagery always works with new mediums of today, and there is always something unique to be found in the process.

Let’s talk fashion. You co-created the streetwear line, Icey. Why did you decide to make your artwork wearable? How do you choose which designs to print on clothing?

Art has always played a big role in fashion, and I have always wanted to work with my designs and my style. Unfortunately I hadn’t had much experience in fashion until the summer of 2013 when one of my best friends came to me with a clothing company he was starting called Icey. Since then we have put in a lot effort and work into our designs. The A/artwork we choose to print comes from our understanding of art and how it will affect others. We always ask ourselves questions and try to go deeper into the design.

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You just unveiled a collaboration with another young artist, Youp Wehnes. Can you tell me how this collaboration started, and what you’re working on together?

Awhile back, one of my friends showed me Youp’s work and I was amazed at his aesthetic and vibrant style. We got together to work on a collaboration aiming more towards the fashion world and the beauty of fashion. We work in our own styles and then we send each other the ideas and imagery. He is a very good critic when it comes to exchanging imagery and thoughts. I’m very grateful for that, because I like people who can get to the point and give me feedback.

You are also the founder of Lucent Kids, a collective of artists on Tumblr. What are you looking for when you judge applicants? 

Lucent Kids Collective is all about style. When judging applicants, I want to be interested in their posts and theme. Applicants need to understand that Lucent Kids are not people who follow “trends,” they are individuals with their own style & emotion, brought together on Tumblr. Be infinite & unique when applying.

Lucent Kids connects artists to each other as well as to outside viewers. In addition to Tumblr, you showcase your work on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. How do you believe online platforms are impacting the art world?

Online platforms are great, because of the variety of viewers. Artists posses power & they should be heard! The Internet is a gift and it can be the most useful tool an artist has. Going overboard with social media is a bad thing; artists need to find their balance between producing work and immersing themselves on the Internet.  The impact can be big; all it takes is an interest in your surroundings.

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How do you see your artistic aesthetic developing in the future? Which themes are currently inspiring you, and are there any new mediums that you’d like to try? 

Hopefully my aesthetic will evolve with more power and creativity as I grow. I don’t want to be locked in to only one style throughout my work; I want to discover and create. Themes that are currently in my interests are: nostalgic futures, experimental photography, strange feelings, repetitive past, & unknown colors. As far as new mediums go, I would like to work in between mediums like: photography, installation, digital art, performance and more. I want to create my own medium, something strange but new.

Enjoy more of David Marinos’ works on the gallery they were made for, Tumblr

By Charlotte Japp



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