Serwah Attafuah for Felt Zine 62

FeltZine is back for Issue 62 featuring Austrailia-based digital net artist, Serwah Attafua. Experience Issue 62 here and learn more about Serwah Attafuah below:

Where do you currently reside and how does that have an effect on your work?

I live in Western Sydney, Australia. I grew up here and I’ve basically lived here my whole life. There’s an authentic staunch energy here and everyone is proud to rep their culture. I’d like to think that reflects in my work!

What are the essential or main ideas in your work?

Stories of beautiful ancestral love and rage set in the sci-fi “20 minutes into the future” we were promised but will probably never receive. Prophetic dream sequences and the ‘residual self image’.

How did you get started in NetArt/ Internet Art medium?

My mum was a graphic designer so I think I was always destined to go into something in that realm. Where I’m from, the Government gave kids laptops to use in high school and they were loaded with the full Adobe suite. Tumblr was massive at that point and I was spending basically all my free time scrolling on there. In school I would fuck around on adobe and make little png’s of dumb shit and little gifs. I was primarily working with oil paints and watercolors at that time though so I used my parents’ garage as a studio. My parents ended up converting it into a flat so I had nowhere to paint and be messy so that’s when I went all out on 3D and graphic design. 

Where do you look for inspiration?

Life experiences mostly, my dreams and nightmares have had a massive impact on my art. All over the internet too. But I find I have to be careful because the Internet can also drain me of inspiration. Like I actually find instagram kinda depressing and distracting (body and self image related) but on the other hand it’s such a good place to find inspo! I keep an account where I just follow artists, fashion, designers, musicians and writers I fuck with. I treat it like an archive that I can zone out in when I feel creative block. I worked at an E-Waste facility where I would dismantle computers, the artwork on old GPU’s were so sick and has had a big influence on the anime and alien aesthetic going on in some of my work.

Your work often feels angelic with the incorporations of angel wings and religious context at times. How much does spirituality or religion play within your work?

I’m not a religious person but I my parents exposed me to all kinds of religions and teachings. I believe that this reality we navigate is some kind of simulation, that’s why I try to shy away from ultra-realism. My most stand out memory being a child was going to Vatican City when I was 10 and seeing dead popes and saints immaculately mummified in glass coffins, I think about that memory every day and I don’t know why. In some ways maybe I’m trying to make a connection with my Italian heritage through this kind of Etruscan and Catholic imagery. 

Your work presents Black people in various forms and stories of life. Angels, Hackers, Warriors, Children. Do you aim to explore or connect with the past/present/future of the African Diaspora in your work?

Yeah for sure. There are a lot of conversations about the past so I’m more focused on what the future might hold for us and how our culture will evolve. 

I see many instances of body-induced tattoos and markings within the people included in your works. Could you tell us more about this intriguing element of your work?

Scarification and tribal markings are something i’ve always been super intrigued by. For some people in my country (Ghana) they use markings to identify your lineage, sometimes its for magic purposes, sometimes as a right of passage. When I was a teenager I would ask my parents why I don’t have scars, I felt really left out. Some of the displacement maps I use are created by other artists like MysticArtDesigns, some i’ve created myself.

Furthermore, does the lack of representation for People of Color &/or women-identifying artists in the NetArt community have any effect on your work or mission?

Totally. I try to represent black people and people of color in every piece I do. I try to work with and collab with black people, POC, women and non-binary people first and for most, especially if they don’t have NetArt skills. I really respect and admire what @digi_gal is doing. They bring together non-binary, womxn, and trans-folk from all over the world and get them projects, offer skill shares and creative business advice.

As an artist that creates work in the Algorithm Era, would you say your work is inherently political as well?

I always have a decolonizing mindset when making art but I don’t really go out of my way to make my art political. I feel like I have other more effective outlets for that.

What other forms of art do you create at the moment?

Right now I’m doing an oil painting, I still don’t have an art studio so i’m just doing it in my backyard whenever its not raining. A lot of energy has gone into my music, I’ve been recording vocals with a group I’m in called MANA and my band DISPOSSESSED just dropped an album.

Who are your favorite artists right now?

@frenetikvoid, Pen and Pixel, @__oraculo__ , @sybilmontet_,@freakorico, @balfua and Harmony Korine.

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Written By: Dev Moore