Artist Rick Hurst combines multiple photographs to create vividly colorful and intriguing abstract digital art. See more of his portfolio on his website.
Throughout my life, I have been the one who is different—deaf in a hearing world. Art has been my greatest gift, my refuge and my salvation. Expressing my innate creativity is my defense against adversity, hardship and discrimination. At the same time, it allows me to explore my inner self, to seek strength of purpose, and reveal the world I see to others.
I was never aware of my heightened visual sense, and never imagined it would lead me into the art world; not until, at age twelve, I won a prize for a painted foot-high ceramic rooster entered into a community contest. My color palette was praised as more imaginative than any of the other older contestants.
This recognition sparked an intense interest in art that eventually led to a degree in Graphic Arts. However, I could never find a job in the arts. Instead, I spent twenty-five years in federal service as a paralegal.
Late in my work career, I traveled to see the art masterpieces of Europe I had only studied and seen in art books. It was pure elation and inspiration to wander Monet’s Giverny garden, roam DaVinci’s Tuscan Hills, gaze across Van Gogh’s sunflower fields, and explore Picasso’s retreat. My creativity was rekindled.
After retirement, I moved to the Gulf Coast and returned to my earlier desire to pursue an art career in acrylics and watercolors. But soon I became fascinated with a new iPad and how I could manipulate images of my own artwork. Very quickly, I plunged into the world of digital design, always based on my original photos.
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I carry my studio with me at all times, my artist’s tools of canvas, paint and brushes left behind. Wherever I am, I use my iPhone to capture images and art apps with filters to manipulate them.
Nature and architecture are the foundation for many of my abstract designs—spirals from the Dali Museum DNA staircase merge with the domed ceiling from a Budapest spa and tropical flora to evoke the infinity of the cosmos, or restructure into a futuristic energy scape.
Organic elements can lead to amazing constructs. Overlays of magnolia blossoms reveal a feminine torso or explode into a fantastical flower. Stems from a bunch of grapes morph into a multi-patterned North Star ascending to the heavens. A pond of waterlilies at a neglected mansion melds with marshland scenes to become a colorful vignette of tranquility and contemplation.
I feel a natural energy in the world around me, which I see especially in the vibrancy of colors. I may begin a design by selecting one photo that draws me to it, but then I follow where it leads, transforming colors and adding in other images as the developing piece demands.
Other people may not see the world as I do. But my wish is to stimulate their own imaginations, to have them look within and create their own interpretations of my designs.
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