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Interview

Dkaism - When Art and Esports Meet

- Mel Hawthorne

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Daniel Ignacio, a.k.a. dkaism, is a contemporary visual artist from Toronto, Canada. He started learning about digital art as a medium, first as a hobby, in the beginning of 2015, while he worked as a writer and an assistant photojournalist for a travel magazine. In 2017, Daniel started to really promote his work by being active in both the local and global art community through art exhibits, collaborations, and ultimately, through social media art circles. In 2018, he began working as a professional artist working on bigger projects and collaborations, receiving more features on multiple art platforms.

E1337: What interested you about working with E1337? 

I was really intrigued by the idea of esports and how my work would fit E1337’s visual identity. I got even more intrigued that WhaleShark presented me this opportunity, because he’s a well-known art collector in the crypto art space and the author of $WHALE. 

E1337: What did you use as inspiration for the pieces you created? 

For the E1337 pieces, my goal was to draw inspiration from the visual genres of science fiction and urban fantasy. I think the most familiar one to everybody is cyberpunk, leaning more towards contemporary approach rather than the retro-futuristic one. But generally, I don’t limit myself with genres and aesthetics. During the art process, whatever direction the piece goes, I follow.

E1337: How did you find the ‘right’ aesthetic for the project?

I think finding the right aesthetic comes in secondary. It’s more important to focus on the message we want to communicate first. Particularly, in this art series for E1337, we feature a kind of digital revolution that is happening, so I thought the Akira-esque, Bladerunner-like aesthetic is the best way to convey this techno-cultural advancement that E1337 is a part of. The other aesthetic that’s evident in the artworks is the abstract or painterly characteristic, which is simply my personal style that I developed through the years.

E1337: How do you go about creating a piece for E1337? What’s your workflow/process? 

One of the biggest parts of my process is looking at the right references, researching what other similar projects have done, and really just enjoying doing experiments, that is, what elements work and what elements don’t. My works are known for the loose brushes, and that is honestly the most fun part of my process. For this art series, my process involved a lot of the following: research, rough sketches, collage, establishing colour schemes, and experimenting with new visual techniques that can enhance the final artwork.

E1337 Art by Dkaism

E1337: How do you think E1337 and your art fit into the video game and esports space?

I often receive comments in which people say my works remind them of well-known games such as Fallout 4, Sky: Children of Light, Resident Evil 6, and Guild Wars 2. I think my collaboration with E1337 ultimately promotes the idea that anything is possible. If you take my work and the mission of E1337, they contextualize and energize each other.

E1337: What was your favourite part of creating the E1337 artwork? Do you have a favourite image/element?

I learned a lot and I even improved my overall process throughout the making of this project. It extended the horizon to which I could take my abilities, mainly because I came across some challenges and opportunities, and I spent time composing each piece to be as unique as possible, yet allowing my own style to emerge naturally. I really love each piece I made for the series, especially the two landscape artworks that feature the packed and cluttered skylines.

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