On his website the digital artist and musician Kenaim, says he "explore[s] emotion through motion and media synthesis".

But this is only touching the surface of the Phoenix-based innovator. His modesty (he names his most treasured award the junior judo state gold medal - certainly not to be sniffed at!) disguises the fact that he is a rising star in the field of moving visual creations and was featured last year in Vice's Creators project.

His Tumblr page is full of churning canvasses built to immerse you in an altered reality - and, as you will see, they often express a deeper political or emotional meaning. It is not surprising then that he has featured in over 70 exhibitions and performances over the last few years and can boast a growing client list.

We grabbed a chat with Kenaim who explained why he enjoys lives performance, his process, and what is in the future of digital art.


How long have you been making digital art and what made you start making it?

I'm not sure how long I've been making digital art, forever maybe? I didn't start getting serious about getting my hands dirty in motion until around 2010. I started creating digital art in a serious and obsessive way out of desperation.

How would you describe your work?

Motion Fantasy

What are the themes or influences running through your work?

Sometimes I see my work in waves. Waves of feelings, waves of styles, concentric circles of idea types. Growth, darkness, and positivity are all themes I come back to.

 Kenaim - 'Always burning fuel, always running a deficit'

Kenaim - 'Always burning fuel, always running a deficit'

Can you tell us something about your process - what equipment and software do you use?

My process is that I never slow down. I don't stop working. It's what my life is based around. I've been able to do that for long enough now that I have a huge war chest of bits and pieces to create with. I use all kinds of hard and software, digital and analog, but me at my most basic is just my laptop, painting in after effects, with a desire to be a better artist.

What would you say the key is to producing good moving digital art?

Practising and performing visuals live.

If you think of visual communication as an instrument that can be played, and you practice playing that instrument everyday, then its just like anything else. You're going to get better. You're going to become competent. Taking that skill set into a live situation forces you to have to adapt on the fly with your set of tools. Playing on stage, not off stage, will force you to be accountable for everything you are doing. That pressure is invaluable. Every visual set I do now is made up more or less on the spot. Overall, as a visual motion artist, your job should be getting yourself, your tool set, and your emotions to a place of relative symbiosis. The way things move from you is the key to everything. It's communication with motion.

 Kenaim - 'Fragments Series 1 - H'

Kenaim - 'Fragments Series 1 - H'

How do you approach creating short looping visuals (as in the GIF format)? Being limited in this way, does it force or encourage a special kind of creativity?

I've always been a fan of making things harder for myself than they need to be. Almost like practising with weights on.

The idea of having 8-30 looping frames to tell a story is cool to me. It's a distilled version of film, mixed with an evolved version of photo.

Thinking about a closed loop with no beginning and no end but with a story, for sure forces you to consider all kinds of minutiae. Overall these limitations help you consider the format. Considering every frame, considering the motion, considering how everything folds in on itself to loop. The finite space for that is freeing to me.

 Are there any other digital artists you admire?

For sure, all these visual artists inspire me to make better work @adventureface @dtafm @Nicolas_Sassoon @SabrinaRatte @_vade @amjcrawford @noisia

Do you think digital GIF art is currently in a fledgling state and still coming to terms with the art form?

I think the GIF format can't be called fledgling, just due to its age... That said, maybe the idea of microshort looping art pieces is still very new. I think it's going to take time for artists to use the format in a non-abrasive, non linear way. Let's say there are 50 artists that make really wonderful looping visual work. That's a whole lot of room for the medium to expand. I think the default reason is for artists to make GIFs into these microburst, quick edit, visual screams, which I think is telling of how advanced the format is for art.

 Kenaim - unknown

Kenaim - unknown

What do you think are the future possibilities for digital art?

I don't really even understand where my own limitations are, so I'm not sure about future possibilities. The toolset already seems so infinite. The possibilities maybe come from the further break down of barriers to entry for people to even feel like they can be making art.

Will holographic 3D projections be the next evolution in GIF art?

No, the GIF is pretty well defined. But if we go outside of the GIF format, and talk about what makes up the idea of a GIF, I think it has a lot to do with looping. In that sense, looping 3d projections is absolutely something to look forward to!

For more about Kenaim check out his website here.