If you’re anything like every other milennial enduring life today, your only liquid obsession is booze. But 22-year-old artist/creative director Dom Sebastian has a long-standing infatuation for all things wet, ranging from straight up h2o to gallium and mercury… it’s fair to say he’s your go-to-guy in a drought. “I like the connotations of liquid. It's the only state of matter with a definite volume but no fixed shape. It’s quite a versatile substance, it can be manipulated so much, which makes it one of my favourite things to work with.” he lets slip… YES, OK TERRIBLE PUN.
Practically a poster-boy for the Tumblr generation (you know the cool ones that post a picture of a spoon and it gets 500k notes), the London-based artist calls upon “the internet in it’s early stages” and “horror cinema, particularly french horror” as sources of inspo. The manifestation of these inspirations are technicolor liquids snapped in a plethora of unique and trippy ways, whether that be splattered onto a single-colour backdrop or poured down the face of an anonymous subject (Using this as reference for revenge on your cheating ex bae? Guilty!)
“If i'm working on textiles [or] fashion, I will usually start with a scan or photograph and overlay it with other scans or drawings. When taking still life photos, I will usually spend a week or two collecting objects - sometimes looking for specific ones - sometimes not,” Dom says of his creative process. “I will sometimes test out a few set ups before hand, or take everything with me on shoot day and go with the more spontaneous approach.”
His latest project, Gel Futures, unites textiles, fashion and graphic design and particularly focuses on silicone elastomer gels and thermoplastics (to us, early Noughties hair gel and lego). “It’s a very extensive & experimental project that I’ve been working on for over a year” he says of his latest venture. Dom has already collaborated with a string of major labels and brands. He regularly contributes creative direction support to magazines and his work can be seen in a string of international publications — not bad for a lad of barely 22.
Here, Dom has pulled together his interpretation of our interview aligned with his own aesthetic. You can see the full interview transcript below:
Dom Sebastian creation exclusively for Perrier
How did you first get into kind of creative direction?
I was working heavily in photography , mainly still life, and started featuring shoes in the images - from there I started working with brands and magazines etc on photos.
Where does the inspiration for your work come from?
The internet and it's early stages, horror cinema particularly french horror - the New French Extremity movement, especially Marina de Van's 'In My Skin'. I love very extreme and visceral visual experiences. i'm also very inspired by objects. Mainly synthetic ones, but not limited to. At the moment I'm really into homeware type objects. The 'blobject' trend especially in the years leading up to the millenium and the rise of technology and the internet simultaneously. When everything - household objects, watches, tvs, etc - had a biomorphic feel.
The use of liquid is a recurring theme throughout your work, why is this?
Its quite symbolic - i like the connotations of liquid. It's the only state of matter with a definite volume but no fixed shape. also its quite a versatile substance, it can be manipulated so much - colour, texture, viscosity etc. which makes it one of my favourite things to work with. Im compelled by elements like mercury and gallium and their solid/liquid states.
Do you ever find liquid difficult to work with?
Yes, it can be unpredictable, only when trying to achieve a specific form - when I was making liquid typography it was super hard to get the liquid into the correct shapes. but I guess that's one of the plus sides of working with it - you never really know what sort of forms will be created - there's that element of surprise.
Your work is quite abstract, how would you choose to describe it?
Surreal yet clinical.
Talk us through your creative process.
It does vary. Sometimes I will have a specific idea that I'll create, or maybe an idea for an atmosphere and then go from there. If i'm working on textiles / fashion, I will usually start with a scan or photograph and overlay it with other scans or drawings. When taking still life photos, I will usually spend a week or two collecting objects - sometimes looking for specific ones - sometimes not. I will sometimes test out a few set ups before hand, or take everything with me on shoot day and go with the more spontaneous approach.
Tell us about any upcoming projects you have that you’re working on.
My current project 'Gel Futures' fuses textiles, fashion and graphic design with a focus on silicone elastomer gels and thermoplastics. It's a very extensive & experimental project that I've been working on for over a year.
Words: Ryan Cahill
Designs curated by Dom Sebastian