The Artists

Raphael Arar

December 9th, 2014

Designer  Santa Cruz, CA, USA

“I’m interested in interaction and how we communicate with one another and ourselves in light of progress.”

Unraveled Artist Interview:

Q: What is your design philosophy?
A: My philosophy is largely based around the strong connection between math and aesthetics: grounded in inherently beautiful proportions, formulae and/or geometry, and keep the rest minimal, bold and, most importantly, evocative.

Q: What aesthetic or visual ideas affect you the most?
A: From an overarching standpoint? The juxtaposition of the organic with the artificial. On a more granular level—Swiss design through and through. Making and breaking the grid. As an interface designer, I’ve been drawing a ton of inspiration from flat design and translating it to my artwork.

Q: How do you understand the interface between sound and visual?
A: I’ve been classically-trained in both music and art, so the intersection of the two feels almost second-nature to me. When working visually, I always seek inspiration from sound—whether that’s sculpture, video or print. I like to marinate in sonic material and feel that every aspect of my process, from concept to execution, is more impactful because of it.

Q: Briefly explain your creative process.
A: My creative process begins somewhat spastically: I’ll usually start with a juxtaposition of ideas hand-written and or drawn in a notebook, which tends to be this hybridized stream of consciousness. I consider myself a pretty neat and organized person, so this is a relatively messy process since everything feels disorganized. Because of this, I usually obsess about the idea until I begin working on it, iterating and fine-tuning. The actual execution phase feels pretty relaxed for me and is really when I get into my element. It’s like a steady stream of creative euphoria: I embrace experimentation while working within the constraints I’ve created for myself. If I wasn’t pressed for deadlines, I could tweak and nudge an idea infinitely. I’ve fortunately developed what I think to be a pretty decent gauge of when to walk away, knowing that I’ll be happy putting the work down.

Q: Do you believe in the process more than result or result more than process? Why?
A: Well, that’s tough to say. Selfishly, I value the process. It forces me to be present—it’s me, the idea and the material. However, the result is what has the potential to make an impact. With the result, I’m able to share an idea and communicate something I’m really unable to do in any other way. The result has the ability to carry the impact, whereas the process is insular and self-indulgent.

Q: Why do you value being part of an independent artist community?
A: Independent art communities have the potential to start movements and make an impact. When you’re not bound by a greater institution with political motives, there’s an opportunity to make a more personal connection with your audience. This is far more gratifying that perpetuating a contemporary art culture that caters to a homogenized fraction of the population.

Q: What is the range of methods, materials and styles you are most comfortable working with?
A: I like to consider myself medium agnostic—the medium is rarely the message for me. The idea is the crux of my practice, so in the grand scheme of things, the medium is largely an afterthought.

Q: Please tell us how people can further support you and your work.
A: You can see what I’m up to through my site: I’m also active on Twitter and Instagram . I’m down to hear from anyone and everyone who wants to reach out.

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