Although the trappings of Instagram-ready vaporwave art are all here (endless palm trees, tropical pinks and greens, people who look like they’ve walked out of Second Life), Tishk Barzanji’s artwork is a fresh, unnerving take on the low-res digital paradise.
Barzanji lists his influences as “ancient history, the Modernism movement, and my experiences in London since moving here in 1997.” The digital artist sometimes superimposes CGI environments over his own photographs, highlighting the artificial nature of his work by letting a window of reality peek out from behind computerized vistas.
Bodies of water and plants appear in almost all Barzanji’s images, drawing attention every time to the fact that the image is not real. Even in Barzanji’s most abstract works, a false-looking palm tree usually grows, improbably, from the glassy ground, reminding the viewer: a computer made this. In other instances, actual photos of blue ocean are eclipsed by surreal castles, creating a visual representation of the way digital experience encroaches on the real.
In one case, the photograph hidden behind a sunny, pink-walled house is actually a shot of Alexandra Road, a brutalist housing estate in London. Barzanji’s tropical paradise isn’t always what it seems.
See Tishk Barzanji’s digital art below, and find more on his online portfolio.