By Jessica Marinaro

“We do not simply live in this universe. The universe lives within us.”

― Neil deGrasse Tyson

From my undergraduate days studying Astrophysics and Philosophy, the celestial universe has always fascinated me. As a curator, I am drawn to works and artists that dig deep into the brilliance, vastness, and delicacy of the human experience. In my role as a Senior Director at MakersPlace, I have the privilege of seeking out and championing the world’s most exceptional digital artists.

Six months ago, when David Ariew shared his latest meditative infinity room + VR project with me, I found myself spellbound by the radiance and intricacy of his visuals. While I had admired David’s previous work, this piece transcended expectations. Time and space seemed to ebb and flow, revealing infinite and intimate realms that seamlessly melded into one another. It was evident that I was witnessing a masterpiece in the making.

And I was not mistaken. The curatorial board at the Digital Art Fair Asia (DAFA) 2023, selected the work, Quantum Stargate, to be featured in their renowned Immersion Room — a space previously graced by artists including Refik Anadol and Jacky Tsai.

Digital mockup of Quantum Stargate in DAFA’s Immersion Room

“This is a sanctuary where the boundaries of reality blur, inviting souls to wander through infinite planes of divine light.”

— David Ariew

For MakersPlace’s booth at DAFA, situated adjacent to the Immersion Room and thus an extension of it, my intention was to curate a dual-artist presentation that seamlessly harmonizes two of the world’s foremost digital creators. Both artists embrace a celestial aesthetic but with distinct processes and unique approaches.

David Ariew in His Own Words

The work of generative artist Hideki Tsukamoto has captivated me for years, with his Singularity series being widely recognized (and fervently sought after in the secondary art market after selling out almost immediately). The idea of pairing his creations in dialogue with David’s strongly resonated with me.

David’s work takes you on an introspective journey, while Hideki’s art demands undivided attention to a singular suspended object. Through the mesmerizing 3D metascapes of David and the hauntingly beautiful generative works of Hideki, we strike a delicate balance between experiencing the vastness of our universe and a more introspective, contemplative sense of life’s fragility.

Whereas Hideki’s Singularity series portrays expansive, chaotic, and turbulent black holes, his IMMORTAL series algorithmically conjures precise, radiant beams. The circular motif breaks free from the technical constraints that ostensibly limit it and floats in and out of frame, as though rebelling against the parameters that both created and restricts its movement.

Hideki Tsukamoto, IMMORTAL #2

These contemplative works, crafted by two brilliant artists and presented in unison at one of the world’s foremost digital art exhibitions, embody a poignant reflection of the duality that resides within all of us, the worlds we construct for ourselves and inhabit, and the universe that surrounds us.

About David Ariew

David Ariew is a renowned 3D digital artist who has sold his work on MakersPlace, SuperRare, Nifty Gateway, and Sotheby’s, where his collaborative work with Jia Aili, The Road Ahead, sold for $224,000. He designed two of the Beeple x Madonna NFTs and was an artist on Pak’s ASHII drop. He has collaborated with top artists who include Katy Perry, Zedd, Keith Urban, Drake, and deadmau5. Ariew is also an esteemed educator in the 3D community; his tutorials and courses have been instrumental in training thousands of digital artists.

Hideki Tsukamoto

UK based Artist and Programmer committed to the concepts of Procedural Generation and Generative Design. Tsukamoto’s career began in 1993, writing procedural terrain-generation systems for military virtual reality simulators. He has spent most of his professional career within video-game development, delivering procedural solutions and generative tools for Art teams – His work is precise, intricate and technical.

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