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Digital Artist Joshua Datu

Using the web as artistic medium, this 22-year-old creative invents new photographic prints in ethereal colours

In his manipulation of images, Central Saint Martins graduate Joshua Datu is using the web as an artistic medium, focusing on the creative and conceptual process more than the outcome of pretty images. Currently exhibiting at the Dreamscapes series at the Caphe House Gallery in London, Dazed talked to him about digital art and the future.

Dazed Digital: Where are you from/where do you live?
Joshua Datu: I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, and moved to London when I was 17. Presently, I live bi-continentally.

DD: How old are you?
Joshua Datu: 22 years young but the majority of the time I feel like I'm 60.

DD: How you define your work?
Joshua Datu: Process-based.

DD: How do you like working with digital art?
Joshua Datu: I enjoy working digitally because it’s reliable and there’s a huge margin for error. Using computers lets us make mistakes faster and allows us to edit things more quickly - to me it’s important to see all the possibilities and understand the steps I took in order to reach an outcome. I’ve always been an impatient person, which is probably why I’ve never taken up painting.

DD: With whom you would like to collaborate?
Joshua Datu: Product designers, scientists, musicians, politicians... anyone really. I’ve always been interested in working with people who are passionate about what they do and can inspire me to think differently. I suppose having such a broad outlook on collaboration has made me open to any possibility – I wouldn’t mind collaborating with the Danjo girl.

DD: The next great art movement going to be?
Joshua Datu: I’m not quite sure – there’s so much going on currently that I feel anything is possible. If I had to narrow it down I’d imagine more of an emergence of interactive/multi-sensory art and design. Apple has been doing this for some time now, which is probably why they have pioneered the forefront of interactive technology and design. They have allowed us to become more intimate with our gadgetry and have also made technology less cold. I think society is now embracing an importance in design applicable to everyday life.

What are your plans in the future?
Joshua Datu: I definitely would like to develop more of a commercial presence, mainly in advertising. I’m completely fascinated by the idea of telling a story in order to sell a product in such a short amount of time. Leisure wise, I would want to travel to remote parts of the world – places that are still ‘preserved’ and not tainted by civilization.

DD: Your favourite piece of clothing?
Joshua Datu: A black Jil Sanders blazer – it’s timeless and goes with everything.

DD: The most inspiring thing you have ever seen?
Joshua Datu: Flying through the Aurora Borealis en route from San Francisco to London. The entire cabin was lit in shades of greens and blues, and I felt like I was traveling to another dimension. It definitely inspired me to create the Dreamscapes series.

DD: The stupidest thing you have ever done?
Joshua Datu: The majority of my choices before age 20. I was far more interested in fulfilling people’s expectations rather than following what I wanted for myself. I really admire people who are naturally focused at an early age - It took me about 20 years to realise what I wanted do and where I want to go.
DD: Funny things or facts about you?
Joshua Datu: I’m allergic to strawberries. When I was young I wanted to be a paleontologist, I sleep with a mouth guard every night to prevent me from grinding my teeth, I jumped out of a two-story house when I was eight years old because my sister let a dog in and it chased me up the stairs. I ended up breaking both my legs.

DD: Where can we see your work?
Joshua Datu: The Joshua Datu website and the Caphe House Gallery.