light as a
Slovenian-basedartist Leonard Rubins creates an imaginary and fantastic world, with great power and meaning. Art Gallery 5'14 met the artist and we discussed the concept of the subconscious, the divine and the human, and the ancient laws of nature and cosmos.
- How and when did you start working as a digital artist? Did you explore other forms of art first?
- I have always been attracted to various fields of creativity. I had the privilege to socialize with many internationally recognized musicians, writers, painters, and spiritual teachers. A few of them also embedded my paintings in their field of activity. Gradually, however, I became aware of their influence or “overshadowing." Thus, in reaction, the intention of my original creative expression appeared.
It was almost like a quest towards something that defines us so uniquely as human beings. The beginning of digital activity was a synchronous act. As digital technology evolved, the more my imagination grew. First it grew as a member of Abbildungen Variete, a multimedia group of avant-garde artists, exploring the area of Modern Expressionism and Pagan Ritualistic music back in the eighties. It was said it was the second promising music band in the Yugoslav/Slovenian alternative scene to Laibach. The early multimedia works were triggered by the reactions to many weird social events in the past century (1983). Also, being in touch with synthesizers, and all sorts of electronics when establishing a music studio, was a revelation for me. I participated in a series of multimedia performances and later in painting exhibitions (Novi Rock, International Festival of Computer Arts, Pixxelpoint, Kibla...) between 1983 and 2009.
- How did your search for artistic creation evolve over time?
- Enormously! When embracing technology, already decades ago, I began to engage with various computer software and so my first series of computer graphics were created. At the same time, my spouse and I ran a design studio and worked for a few companies and some government agencies. In recent years, however, my activity is focused entirely on the web, publishing my artworks, reflecting on various existential issues, concerning society, etc. Being aware that it is not clever nor wise, to be smart in fields where you aren't well informed, we have to wonder whether we can afford to be silent in these times. This world has not been created to be easily comprehended by its inhabitants, so there is a perpetual journey going on towards answers that mankind may discover in the future.
I am currently managing a few websites which are artist manifestos. One of them is an "I have a dream" website, about the search for alternative ways. With another website I am focusing more on the concept of the imaginary - that uncommon sense of beauty, that seems to be impossible to attain- in the sphere of the human universe. It is a constant work in progress. With the third one, the content is focused on computer art, through the creative force of the digital art association as the oasis for adoration and endorsement of digital art. The association is purely virtual and avoids the association with the physical location.
As for the manifesto, I remain stoic, whatever the response may be…
- How did you come up with creating the imaginary and surreal world?
- I didn't choose much between art style or genre. The concept of the surreal and imaginary absorbed me at a young age. There is a "frequency level" difference between the surreal and the imaginary. Although the imaginary, initially is invisible to the public eye, it’s present immanently from the very beginning of mankind, as surely as Omnipresent Consciousness itself exists... and persists.
The past of the imaginary was recorded far back in a time of the invisible beings on the sky, existing nowadays only as a myth in a blurred memory. Later it was manifested through the incomprehensible fanaticism, followed by adoration of fake idols and idealism. Myths, legends, fairy tales! Historical facts or fiction in the timeline of human existence! They are gone, mostly, for the reasons long forgotten.
The so-called "self-cultivation" and introspection in the form of questions, to which the mind cannot always find rational answers, mixed with ready-made constructs of truth, has shaped me into what I am today. It has fostered the imagination and inclination towards imaginary realism and surrealism as a primary art expression.
- Your artworks are full of symbols. Which symbols are most important and very personal to you?
I name my latest pictures, digital scenographies, as the older ones were personal diaries (airbrush and tempera). Digital scenography recaptures my subconscious depths, probably also a reflection of genetic archetypes, significant life lessons, personal expectations, as well as a fragment of Neo-Theosophy "symbolism", which in its original sense, exemplifies in detail, the compendium of Earth energy records, known as the timeless Book of Life (Akasha). It is the sphere of energetic conduit for direct contact with the universe's potential network, which can be equated as the divine. Presumably, this is said to be the core concept of information, that clarifies contemporaneity, and, is yet to be discovered. The consequence results in the imagery of paradox and the incomprehensible...
- What is the inspiration behind your artworks? Maybe there are some stories behind your work that you can share with us?
- Digital scenography represents the content focused on the integration of metaphysical, celestial, and exo-terrestrial phenomena, to which I am devoted. Everything in this world seems to be created for the benefit of our existence, and life can only thrive through the forces of nature. In my art, I praise the key elements of visible and invisible life: the air, the water, the fire, and the soil. The majority of my artworks contain ethereal light as a redemptive symbol. Mostly, they are the result of long, solitary, and patient work. Maybe they will lead visitors closer to deep contemplative perceptions of the world.
- What piece are you most proud of? Can you tell how and why you ended up with the result that pleases you?
- The Tree of Life series (the Book of Life). The never-enough-praised call for the preservation of the giant trees and deep forests, that are one of the solutions to our greatest environmental problems.
- What do you consider the strengths of your artworks, visual or concept?
- Everything matters, nothing is important... the artist is always right.
- What motivates you as an artist? Is it curiosity, the search for beauty, the search for meaning?
- Little would I have learned about myself and the world if I was just forming opinions that I don't like to change because I have become too accustomed to it.
There is probably no human being who sometimes doesn't consider who he really is. There is a query whispering deep inside but somehow beyond our grasp. What is life all about? Is it just a coincidence, a meaningless endeavour, a few decades of duration in which we may do everything we want? Or is there a purpose behind all that we can truly know and accept as accurate which gives meaning to all of life?
Our self-awareness is marked by the inevitable fact of finitude. We are all on a short journey on a lonely speck in the enormous enveloping darkness, and I am inclined to the hypothesis that any scenario is possible.
- How is digital art currently impacting the contemporary world in your opinion?
- Although the past is essential for the comprehension of what the future holds, modern society mainly feeds on the alluring beauty of consumerism, and glamour which doesn’t contribute much to the prosperity of the human spirit. This approach leads us to idiocracy. Nowadays, the real challenge is to form your own opinion based on personal experience or research, but we prefer to capture mass-accessible information. Decadence does not have a time limit state of being.
The CGI industry is very suggestive and does a wonderful job. It covers all areas of modern civilization, sets completely new standards to the imagination and digital fiction. The only disadvantage is that it produces so much content just to chase away people’s boredom. We have forgotten that, above human laws, there will always be the ancient laws of nature and cosmos. But what will it take us to respond?
- Today, the world is facing the COVID-19 pandemic. How do you continue creating your art in these circumstances?
- It upsets the mortal being, lost among conspiracy, science, politics, vaxers or anti-vaxers. It shakes to the very core, and it will cause more chaos in the world because of what the brain does! But in the long term, it helps!
- What are your new projects that we can expect soon?
- I have finalized the After Earth digital artwork series in 2020. Currently, as well as in the upcoming period, I will engage with "the inevitability" of the After Life... series. This is to eventually outlast time and somehow to be immortalized in some form of sincere act or artwork.
More artworks by Leonard Rubins