Artist Spotlight: Exploring Time with Timcet
Elia Pellegrini has the kind of raw artistic force that draws you into a hazy world of dreams and fantastical landscapes. Born on the cusp of the millennia, his list of clients is already long enough to get most 3D artists green with envy. He’s worked as a photographer with clients like Aperol and Capari, then moved to a 3D generalist position at Star Engineering Maranello, where he did work for Ferrari. And the list continues; he’s collaborated on projects for David Guetta, Pixar AND Disney, Adobe, and more. To call him prolific feels somewhat of an understatement. Did we mention he’s also a musician?!
Today, he’s working as a freelance CGI & VFX artist during the day and spends time off developing NFTs and his original Kairos universe.
Elia (commonly known by his handle @Timset) is a romantic soul who, through his art, wants to inspire others to create beautiful things. As you’ll read in this interview, you’ll notice one thing for sure — nothing is ever as it seems.
Your work often takes on a surreal, out-of-this-world expression — where do all your ideas come from?
Usually, my ideas come from different sources.
- The world of dreams. I’m lucky to have lucid and surreal, creative dreams very often — I translate those spontaneous dream ideas into concrete images on paper. Then I choose some that I develop further through digital art using 3D software.
- Ancient history. I read many books on history and ancient civilization, and the further you go back in time, the more you discover fabulous architecture and excellent inspiration. Mythology is extremely useful in creating new stories and delving into the profound concepts I usually insert in my works. This way, images of the past are combined with visions of the future.
- Nature, light, and time. The other main source of inspiration is the nature surrounding us, from the simplest things to the macro concepts that torment our minds (such as time). Thinking about time stimulates me a lot and pushes me to imagine new abstract forms or concepts. The same goes for the wonderful concept of light, from a small poetic ray that filters through the windows to the "physical" and scientific understanding of “light.”
You blend between photography and 3D/CGI. What sets the two mediums apart, and what are your favorite aspects of each?
Photography is mainly an immediate means to immortalize aspects of our reality quickly and effectively. However, it can be used as an expressive and creative means by exploiting countless practical techniques — from the variation of exposure and shutter to the use of distorted or particular lenses. Thanks to photography, it is possible to capture unrepeatable moments and situations that would otherwise be preserved only in our memories.
“I also think that classical arts are important and noble, as they give you a better understanding of shapes, lights, shadows, and colors.”
The use of digital graphics, on the other hand, allows you to create anything you imagine, opening infinite doors to any sector. Compared to classic art forms such as oil painting on canvas, digital art turns out to be "faster", realistic, and surreal if desired. But to be clear, I also think that classical arts are important and noble, as they give you a better understanding of shapes, lights, shadows, and colors.
The union of “different” means of expression can create something unique and very particular. For example, combining photography and 3D art can create surreal scenarios where real people can travel. You can create new stories, and modifying and improving them is simple. This union can also be seen as an expansion of both methods of expression.
What is the most important quality of a creative mind to you?
I believe the best quality is curiosity. This allows you to evolve, experiment, and discover new concepts, new images, ideas, and experiences. With curiosity, an artist can evolve, avoiding the danger of crystallizing in a single potentially limited art form.
With curiosity, the human mind generally will always expand to new boundaries, accentuating the risk. Particularly in digital art, curiosity allows an artist to learn new techniques and study and develop new concepts for his future.
You’ve mentioned often changed direction in your life. Is this a recurring theme, or are you more set on a future?
I could say that my life will proceed in the direction of art, accepting the future as it presents itself and assimilating scientific notions.
The reason for numerous changes is that I have tried (and still am trying) to understand my role in the world. By making mistakes, I can learn the other sides of myself and develop specific and defined goals.
Right now, I have plans for the future, and they are detailed. I will work and do what I can to make them happen. They are objectives always in the artistic and cinematographic field but not directly connected with 3D graphics, so I foresee other potential changes in my life. However, they will still be necessary changes and general development toward a greater goal.
You are currently working on a project called Kairos; what key themes do you grapple with in this project?
Kairos is a very important project for me for two reasons:
- It contains my vision of the world
- It will be a very complex project with time as its main tremor.
Right now, I am curating the mythology of Kairos, and it is summarized like this:
Before the universe's creation, Time was completely different, inconceivable for our minds, and limited to three dimensions of space. But Time is a concept that extends far beyond the boundaries of modern science and is an aggregate of innumerable concepts and dimensions. That gives life to very different realities; one such reality is KAIROS.
Pre-creation Time, also identified as GOD, is not only the union of events that we perceive as human time or universal time, but it goes much further, encompassing other functions.
When He [GOD] explodes, his children expand to give rise to multiple universes; the son Movimento created our universe and that of KAIROS…
You’ve begun incorporating AI-generated imagery into your art — what do you think this technology has in store for future creative generations?
“At the moment, the technologies that allow the visualization of images through AI are at a point of progressive development. Frankly, this excites me but also scares me.”
At the moment, the technologies that allow the visualization of images through AI are at a point of progressive development. Frankly, this excites me but also scares me. Creatives and artists can "collaborate" with these AI, who can provide abstract or non-abstract images that can serve both the concept design and the creative part. I used this technique to implement some of my works, for example, cutting out some sections of these images coming from AI to add them as assets in some architectures or as backgrounds.
There are many future scenarios, and I am still convinced that the creativity of the human mind is unique in the universe and that, for this reason, it must be constantly developed, stimulated, and valued.
“Anyone can use this technology to get ideas and inspiration, but the danger is that you won’t even try to think anymore because ‘AI does everything.’”
The problem is understanding how far all this [AI] can go. Anyone can use this technology to get ideas and inspiration, but the danger is that you won’t even try to think anymore because “AI does everything.” This fact will probably also expand to creatives and artists who find it increasingly difficult to have new ideas since ideas provided by artificial intelligence will be more and more efficient.
If you could choose only one medium to work with for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I admit this is a very hard choice, but if I had to choose, I would stay on the average of classical digital art. I think it is still too early to choose state-of-the-art media, such as metaverse and virtual augmented reality. I believe it is necessary to wait some more time to see how these latest technologies will develop. My choice still offers an economical and creative possibility and simultaneously allows me an incredibly vast and great creative outlet.
What software do you use, and do you think the chosen software has defined your creative style?
I mainly use Cinema4D with Octane and Adobe software (Photoshop, After Effects, Substance Designer Painter, etc.).
Before these, I tried many other software such as 3DS Max, VRay, Redshift, Autodesk Maya, etc., and I must admit that the different software also determines the final rendering of my works. I specify that by rendering, I mainly mean the technical part, not the original concept or idea.
What are your thoughts on NFTs? What do you think is the wildest implication of NFT usage?
The NFT topic is very broad and has many positive implications. Personally, I would like to thank this new world because it has introduced me to many interesting people and has allowed me to finance some projects I am curating, including Kairos. One of the main problems of NFT digital artists is that they are — due to social and economic pressure — automatically forced to present themselves to the public with a unique and solid style. This enormously reduces the possibility of experimentation and change for personal research. Ultimately it results in a reduction of creativity and curiosity.
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