Evolved AestheticVisual artist Marta Timmer experiments with digital effects to create amazing 'glitch art' collages. Since her last interview Glitch Aesthetic, Marta's art has developed into a unique and distinctive style, prompting us to revisit her work with some new questions.
How has your art evolved?
I have recently come to a realization that my work has always been based on the interplay of chaos and control. Art in general has always provided me with a safe space to let go, and to wander in my own imagination without worry. Then, when I stumbled upon glitch art 12 years ago, that space increased exponentially.
As someone living with anxiety, the thought of not being able to control an outcome has always filled me with fear. With glitch art there is beauty in not just allowing things to fall apart 'naturally', but also in intentionally breaking them to test the limits of a system.
“ I'd happily break things and relish in the visual spectacles that came through.”
My early work is very much 'finding' glitches in the wild of the modern city, on screens and signage, and then also intentionally disrupting my own photography. In those early experiments I'd put things in files where they don't belong and see how the pieces would shift. During that time of exploration, I'd happily break things and relish in the visual spectacles that came through. But over time, I noticed some patterns.
I began using these patterns to my advantage, steering the outcome into a certain aesthetic which introduced some degree of control. After that I would sometimes layer my glitches, to see what else I could conjure up in terms of color contrasts and texture.
Pandemic pushed me away from photography into something new. Today, my process is almost entirely based on collage and compositing where I take everything from pieces and fragments of my old works, stock, AI generated people, glitches and textures, and I photobash and layer them together in a very controlled and meticulous way.
I am no longer provoking a glitch but constructing an impression of one. Sometimes it is obvious, and other times not so much. I'm trying to imagine how an image could fall apart, and then I design it. I have always been interested in the idea of creating art out of recycling materials like plastics and discarded paper, and I suppose this is a way of doing that digitally. It's a bit like trash art isn't it?
“I am no longer provoking a glitch but constructing an impression of one.”
So I've nearly come full circle, and I do think that process can be cyclical. Perhaps subconsciously I believe that how I make art is the only thing I CAN control in life right now, so I exercise that power to full capacity. But who knows maybe I'll stumble onto some other process, that will let me breathe a little again. Anything is possible.
I do not worship the glitch, I am not a purist, though it is an important element in my work, and in the world as an agent of change and disruption. I play with the glitch, as some artists do. I engage with it, as a method. I appreciate what it gives me, even if it's just skin, draped over a different skeleton.
What was it like to sell your art at Sotheby's?
Coming from the traditional art world to the NFT space has been challenging in some aspects, and liberating in others. The rules here are different, or maybe there are none, it seems it changes by the day.
The Sotheby's show and sale (April, 2023) is the kind of opportunity I would have never been part of in the traditional world, though my work in the glitch genre in the last 10 years has put my name in the hat, so to speak. Jon Cates, one of the original glitch artists and researchers (who I know from before NFTs) recommended me, for which I will be forever thankful!
“I wanted to subvert the glitch itself, and question what it was or wasn't supposed to be.”
I was approached by a lovely curator Dawnia Darkstone, who after the first glitch show debacle was hired together with Dina Chang to help right some wrongs the second time. I created a piece for the sale titled Chimera, because I wanted to subvert the glitch itself, and question what it was or wasn't supposed to be. I had fun with it. The piece sold, and now I can say I did that. I still think it's crazy that it happened.
Have you hit the 'big time' yet?
I don't know what the big time is, but maybe I'll recognize it when I get there. To be honest, all I really want to do is to create art because I need it. It is how I can feel OK by processing difficult emotions, events, or the world being a mess in general. If I can do that, and somehow make a living, that would be ideal, but I'll be an artist no matter what.
I'd love to experiment with motion art a bit more, perhaps return to photography at some point, and see what else AI can do for me. Definitely more collaborations if time allows for it. There are a lot of choices to make. I'm excited for it.
Thank you for answering our questions again Marta. You can see more of Marta Timmer's incredible glitch art on her website, or by following her on X (Twitter) and Instagram.