We meet the Australian 3D artist creating futuristic dreamscapes for your visual pleasure
From digital artists to photographers, body sculpturists and hair stylists to makeup and nail artists, in our Spotlight series we profile the creatives tearing up the rule book in their respective industries.
To go onto 3D artist and visual designer Jason Ebeyer’s Instagram is to enter a world slightly different to our own. Surreal and dreamlike, Jason’s heightened universe is filled with otherworldly, at times demonic, but always glossy creatures. Combining elements of sci-fi and technology with neo-religious iconography and BDSM, Jason’s work is hyper sexual and futurisitc. Think alien creatures in embrace with human women, bondage, tentacles and domination.
Recently, the Melbourne artist has turned his hand to music collaborations, working with artists Troye Sivan and Bebe Rexha on their videos, which have racked up over 115 million views combined. Below, we asked him about how he honed his talents, what inspires his scenes of kinky plastic erotica, and for some advice on making art with technology.
Tell us a bit about yourself and where you grew up?
Jason Ebeyer: I was originally born and raised in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia up until I was about 13 or 14 and then my parents decided to move to a rural country town. It was such a culture shock for me. I never really fit in with the kids there and when I was in high school I was always told, "The nail that sticks out gets hammered first". It was around this time that I threw myself into being creative.
Do you remember the first time you were conscious of your appearance?
Jason Ebeyer: Yeah, I can remember being about 11 or 12 and I saw this kid in a random junk mail catalogue. I saw his outfit and thought he looked so cool and grown up - I think around this time I was probably still wearing shirts with cartoon characters and dinosaurs on them. Anyway, I managed to convince my mum to get me this exact outfit I saw in the catalogue, and I thought I was the coolest kid in the neighbourhood.
I started out wanting to be a graphic designer. I was studying that at university when I began working with 3D. I was already working in the digital creative landscape so dipping my toes in 3D software wasn’t that large of a jump. The sole reason I stopped doing graphic design was because I didn’t feel it was creative enough. I guess I’m an artist because I get to really express myself with my work.
Where did you hone your craft? Is it something you learnt or is it more instinctual?
Jason Ebeyer: It started with me just playing around with some human figures and coloured backgrounds in between uni projects and before I knew it was spending every waking minute reading and watching tutorials and scouring Instagram for 3D artists. I would think about what I wanted to create and I would set myself little goals for each day to learn different tools and techniques until I could create what I wanted to. Creativity is instinctive I feel, and I don’t think that can be taught – you can learn to think creatively, but true creativity comes naturally. The programs on the other hand, there isn’t anything instinctual about those, just hours and hours of trial and error.
Tell us about your creative process.
Jason Ebeyer: This varies from piece to piece. Sometimes I’ll have the loose idea in my head and I’ll jump right into the software and start creating my figure and scenes. Other times I’ll plan out my work and research different references, do sketches etc. It all really just depends, usually though what my original concept is develops into something totally different over the course of the creation process.
How does your work engage with notions of gender and sexuality?
Jason Ebeyer: My artwork is very sex positive. Growing up I felt like sex and sexuality were topics we couldn't speak openly about in my household. I tend to focus more on the feminine perspective and show scenes depicting dominant and empowered females. When I was younger, pretty much every erotic image or video I ever saw portrayed the female as "less than the man" and this is something which I have always felt super uncomfortable with.
I also often feature same sex couples because I’m gay myself. It’s just another way for me to explore and present my ideas and thoughts to the world. I’ve made my models appear semi-androgynous and racially ambiguous to help my work reach more people and have them feel included in my art. Social media has helped give me a platform to put my work out there and I feel it’s really important for everyone to be able to find themselves in art and relate to the work. I’m really lucky to have an audience who want to celebrate and embrace everyone, regardless of race or sexual orientation.
What’s the most significant thing you’ve learnt over the course of your career?
Jason Ebeyer: To not follow trends and do what everyone else is doing. Experiment with different styles and techniques until you find your aesthetic and what you feel happy creating. I feel like I really started to get noticed once I found my specific style because it helped to set me apart from everyone else who was working in the same medium.
What is it about bodies that fascinates you, human or otherwise? What are you trying to convey about the body?
Jason Ebeyer: The bodies I create in my work are a play on the idea of this unattainable 'perfect' body. My models look like a mixture of a fashion illustration figure and a hyper feminine alien humanoid. I've designed them specifically this way with the elongated limbs and necks to create these kind of goddess like figures.
How do you feel about having to censor your work in order to share it on social media?
Jason Ebeyer: I'm a little on both sides of the fence with this. Mainly with Instagram I think it is ridiculous that I need to censor female nipples but male nipples are perfectly okay – this is something I really don't agree with but it's their platform so I'll play by their rules. I'm not oblivious though and I fully understand and agree that not all of my work is for all ages. I keep my explicit work for sharing on Twitter only – I wouldn't want to expose anyone to something they weren't ready to see and I think most people understand what they might stumble across on Twitter vs Instagram.
You’ve recently worked with musicians Troye Sivan and Bebe Rexha on their respective music videos. Do you enjoy these kinds of musical collaborations?
Jason Ebeyer: Yes, I loved working on these projects. I'm really blessed to have my hard work getting noticed by larger artists who want to bring me on board with their own creative projects. Both these artists were great fun but especially Troye. He was super hands on with everything and really made it feel like a collaboration which is what I try to aim for when working with musicians. “Bloom” was my first major project in the sense that it was going to be premiered to such a massive and loyal audience from day one and I felt a lot of pressure on myself to do the best work I could for Troye. There was such an overwhelming and positive response to that video and also the message of the track and I'm so blessed to have been a part of it.
What is your dream project to work on?
Jason Ebeyer: My absolute dream project would be to do something involving my 3D models being created as physical real world objects - be it action figures or giant sculptures, something like that would be so cool. I always get really excited when I do exhibitions and I get my work printed and framed. We get so used to seeing everything through a screen so when I see my work translate in the physical world it's a nice change.
What advice would you give to young artists hoping to get into the industry?
Jason Ebeyer: Work hard and know your worth. Also don't be so quick to shut down advice and critiques. And never work for free, you can't pay rent with "exposure".
What are you currently working on?
Jason Ebeyer: I've just finished up a new music video and I'm currently signed on to do two more music videos for different artists which will take me all the way through to the end of October. It's been such a busy year but I'm hoping to find some time in early 2019 to put together a exhibition of new unseen work.
Who would you like to shine a spotlight on next?
Jason Ebeyer: This is a tricky one because so many talented people come to mind. But someone who I think everyone will be hearing more of is Vials. I've worked with her a couple of times now and we have been mutual fans of each other for the longest time. She is so down to earth and crazy talented with her music and overall style and makeup. Remember that name.