By Maura Garnett
Welcome to NYWIFT, Tatiana Trebisacci!
Tatiana Trebisacci is a dynamic new media artist and a recent graduate of NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. With a specialization in 3D design and coding for the web, Tatiana made a significant mark in the industry as part of a BAFTA-nominated team in the cutting-edge Immersive category in 2023. In an exclusive interview, Tatiana opens up about her artistic journey, offering insights into her education and the valuable advice she received, particularly emphasizing the importance of treating each technology as a unique medium.
Tatiana’s artistic vision is deeply rooted in her childhood experiences with games, where themes of imagination and collection played a pivotal role. Her design practice centers around understanding items and environments as key components of worldbuilding. As she discusses her approach to art, Tatiana reflects on the evolving intersection of art and technology in the contemporary art world. She envisions a future where new media artists thrive, continually adapting and exploring as technology advances, offering limitless possibilities for creative expression.
How would you describe yourself in a brief elevator pitch?
I am a new media artist and graduate of NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. I work primarily with 3D design and coding for the web, and was part of the team nominated for a Yugo BAFTA Student Award in the cutting-edge Immersive category in 2023.
What is the best industry advice you received?
In school, I learned to view each diverse technology as its own medium. I was taught to reflect: What is this program capable of? What is the development process like? What aesthetic qualities does it generate? Like technology itself, the answers to these questions are limitless. I am inspired to keep making and discovering new creative paths as technology grows.
What brought you to NYWIFT?
My involvement in the virtual reality project “Gene’s Place VR” showed me that there is a place for new media artists in the world of film and television. As a BAFTA North America finalist, I traveled to Los Angeles and met artists working in film and emerging media. I joined NYWIFT to further my involvement in the creative storytelling sphere, and meet professionals in film, television, theatre, and virtual media.
How do you balance the technical aspects of creating browser animations and 3D art with the storytelling elements you wish to convey? Are there particular challenges or advantages you’ve found in this fusion of technology and narrative?
In my graduate thesis at NYU, I spoke about graphical limitations giving birth to iconic aesthetics in video games. To me, discovering new, intriguing aesthetics is the first step to building new worlds, ripe with fresh stories. It can be challenging to learn new technologies, but the potential to make or experience art in unique ways inspires me to try as much as I can.
Can you discuss an example of a project where you’ve successfully integrated narrative exploration into an art object or a series? What inspired the narrative, and how did the medium you chose enhance its storytelling?
I worked on an augmented reality (AR) project titled “Urban Jungle/Green Gems,” designed to capture the thrill of discovering joyful surprises around New York City. An AR terrarium “sculpture” featuring photographs of real-world plants and buildings, flying creatures dart around the environment, flashing glimpses of wonder in an otherwise familiar reality. As the name suggests, augmented reality provides a seamless medium for this narrative. Users can scan the QR code with the iPhone camera app and place the terrarium anywhere in the world.
Are there specific themes or concepts that you often find yourself drawn to explore through your art? How do these themes influence the narratives you create within your pieces?
My art is heavily influenced by the games I played in my childhood. The games I loved the most, whether make-believe or onscreen, featured themes of imagination and collection. As a kid, I would paint myself scenes with props I found around the house: If my bedroom were a treehouse in the jungle, the woven kitchen mat was my thatched roof, my diet was fruit and nuts, and my cap and sandals were my gear.
Video games like Animal Crossing and Katamari Damacy interested me because they had large catalogs of items to collect: some items unique to the series, and others unusual, referencing Japanese culture and folklore. As I developed my design practice, I came to understand items and environments as the key components of world-building.
How do you view the intersection between art and technology in the contemporary art world, and how do you envision this intersection evolving in the future?
Technology is constantly evolving, and I believe it yields a rewarding space for artists to reside. Every development is another challenge for the creative mind, and the diversity of technology generates variation in an artist’s collection. As technology grows, new media artists become more dexterous.
Your focus on new media art, browser animation, and 3D is fascinating. How do these mediums allow you to express narratives differently compared to traditional art forms, and what drew you to working with them?
A love for drawing served as the basis for my journey into new media art. As I studied illustration, I discovered methods of conveying narrative that were, in my mind, more direct than drawing everything by hand. I began Photoshopping objects from original photographs into my digital artworks, as a more collage-based approach. By pasting subjects with pre-existing narratives directly into my illustrations, I felt closer to my scenes.
The development team took the collage idea to a new level in “Gene’s Place VR.” Using photography and new media, we generated an interactive rendering of an NYC loft apartment brimming with artwork. Wearing an Oculus VR headset allows users to enter the virtual space, and Gene speaks, sharing his life’s story and the story of the artwork that lives with him.
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