By Javier Melian - Chrom-Art.org co-founder
David Moraton is the video artist of the moment. He is currently focused on three-dimensional videos that are a faithful reflect of Contemporary Classical Music. David has a perceptual condition called synaesthesia. This means that when he hears sounds he gets to see involuntarily colours in his mind. So in his practice David projects this very personal chromatic experience of music and sound, as well as his philosophical vision of Nature.
Moraton started studying Computer Science but after three years he left it to study Art and became Graduate in Fine Arts in Valencia and Hannover. These two educational systems, Spanish - more traditional- and German -more "free style"-, gave David a rich artistic basis to grow. After his studies, Moraton blended all his knowledge in art and technology, transitioning gradually from painting to video art. Studying hard all kinds of computer and digital techniques he eventually became a professional in the film industry.
He currently works as a Senior FX Technical Director, developing computer effects, so far for movies like John Carter, Total Recall, Man of Steel, Interstellar, Jupiter Ascending, Exodus, Terminator: Genesys and the latest Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.
He met last year with the aclaimed artist Einojuhani Rautavaara, leading international composer in Contemporary Classical Music. David had the idea to make a video based on Einojuhani's work "Cantus Articus", and was determined to show it to him personally once he finished it. It took Moraton two years, but he accomplished his dream. Rautavaara was thrilled about the video. This work has just now been selected for the Lumen Prize Global Tour Exhibition 2015.
David is one of the 25 finalists of the Lumen Prize 2015. It was announced in Vancouver, at International Simposium of Electronic Art (ISEA). His video Visus Sonitus I (left) will be shown in a year global tour exhibition in Shangai, New York, London and Wales and he opts for the winner's prize at the end of September
How and when did you realize you were an artist?
Everything really started when I was 17 and I made my first oil painting. The experience was so deep and intense that it made me eventually abandon my Computer Science studies in order to
study Art. Anyway, one way or another I was always involved in artistic, creative activities. As a child, I remember drawing comics of superheroes or painting colors by listening to
classical music. The fact is that I believed in what I was creating, as if it was real. That magical feeling hasn't stopped yet and I am sure it will never do. We always retain many things from
childhood, but in the case of artists this is a much stronger truth. Even I would say, that is ultimately what defines an artist, the empathy and connection with the imaginary new universes that
he creates, the fascination and excitement of a new born creation, like a child with a new imaginary game.
Is there a message in your art? What is it?
My early paintings set the background and message that still breathes through every work. It's all about empathy and awareness. First with the external phenomena of Nature the way I feel it: huge, mysterious, fascinating, ever-balancing and ever-evolving. Then with the internal, sensorial phenomena that we get from Nature or from Art: a rich, colorful flow of sensations that bonds us with the here and now. Therefore each work is conceived to help us resonate with Nature's will of expansion, grow and balance and also with the feeling of being alive and experimenting sensations. In conclusion, I am trying to reach an expanded sensorial dimension that can lighten the mind with an oceanic feeling of life.
How would you describe your style?
My latest works, mostly digital moving images and video art animations, tend to be abstract, as they are visualizations of musical pieces the way I involuntarily see them in my mind, due to my
synaesthetic condition. For example, there are bright red colors that represent the sounds of trumpets that I see, or brilliant yellow abstract elements that are literally sounds of birds.
However there is still the presence of figurative, conceptual and symbolic elements that relate to my personal, philosophical vision of Nature. Symphonic music, specially Contemporary
Classical pieces that resonate with my artistic nature are the main source of inspiration. So I would describe my style as synaesthetic, mystic, empathic, with influences of
Romanticism and Vitalism. Also there is a deep presence of ancient spiritual concepts in my practice.
Could you describe your creative process? What comes first: the sound, the image, or the story?
First comes an inner sparkle, that creates a feeling of excitement and enthusiasm, which is the source of any activity that it's worth doing. It's usually an atmosphere that I
live in my imagination and that really excites me. It could be a tornado, it could be a sound or a musical piece, but I live it in my bones, forgetting about myself and fully
absorbing it, becoming it. In a way it's a very meditative process. After that, the technical part helps to make that feeling to become a work of art, but the primary feeling needs to
be always present as a leading conductor, from the beginning to the end.
What would be your dream collaboration?
I would like to collaborate with other main composers and conductors in the classical music scenario to create visualizations on stage of symphonic music concerts or operas, using the latest
technologies. Also I would like to collaborate with main museum institutions and galleries to create interactive, virtual reality scenarios as well as video-mappings where people can
experience my vision of Nature, both conceptual and sensorial.
You are now one of the finalists of the prestigious Lumen Prize. What has been the reaction so far? What would represent this opportunity for you?
Being finalist in the Lumen Prize and participating in a Global Tour is something beyond my expectations. When I had the vision to make a video from Einojuhani Rautavaara's work "Cantus Articus"
and show it to him personally once finished, I didn't have in mind any prize. For me it was very important to meet him and thank him for the way his music inspires me. I have
always felt very artistically connected to his art, it truly resonates with me. He is in a way also a "mystical" artist that defends the "sublime" in art against the mainstream. So
finishing the video, meeting him and hearing him saying that the "work is fantastic" was already a huge achievement. But now with the Lumen Prize Global Tour, people will have the
opportunity to experience this spiritual connection of two artists of different disciplines, which fills me with joy. I am very happy that "Visus Sonitus I" will be displayed
worldwide the way it's supposed to be, in a proper dark room and with stereoscopic, 3D glasses. And of course reactions have been phenomenal and this hopefully might well lead to more
opportunities to show the work and future works.
What other artists do you admire? What is your favorite piece of art?
In visual arts, Goya, Van Gogh, Dore, Turner, Nolde, Kandinsky, Klee, Rothko... In Music, Vivaldi, Bach, Wagner, Bruckner, Rachmaninov, Schostakovitch, Sibelius, Mahler, Debussy, Lutowslawski,
Ligeti... Emil Nolde's "The Sea B" is my favorite piece of art.
You create visual effects for many blockbuster movies such as Thor, Jupiter Ascending or Exodus. What kind of effects do you enjoy doing most? What are the most difficult to do?
One of the reasons I started studying 3D techniques was to create moving clouds and tornados with the computer, also to create moving images that could represent more faithfully how I perceived
sounds in colours. But my first paintings were all about clouds, and I've been deeply fascinated with them, for their flowing ethereal nature, dynamism and contrast of light and darkness.
Maybe for this reason, when I finally became a professional in the movie industry, I got all the clouds jobs in the movies that I was working in, I guess because they could feel my passion
and my knowledge behind it. I love to do all kind of Nature physical simulations, sand, rain, mist, fire, clouds. I also enjoyed contributing in Man of Steel to create the Superman's cape. In the
latest Terminator movie I had to deal with organic growth effects of nano technology and it was hard but very rewarding. The most difficult thing I had to do was the destruction of a bridge
in "Total Recall", it was very hard and energy consuming, a restless work of three months for just 3 seconds.
How would you describe the current art scene and opportunities for new artists to produce and show work?
I think there are plenty of art fairs and alternative festivals, art residencies and contests, kick starters, online galleries that can help artists with talent and enthusiasm to be
rewarded and be recognized. In the technological side, there are so many possibilities, open source software and tutorials out there that there is no excuse to develop any technical
knowledge to achieve any idea. Never before there has been so many tools available for people to express themselves. I know it's difficult to access the art galleries circuit and live from art,
but it's not impossible if there is persistence and self-belief. Besides, not everything is about art galleries. There are many ways in this digital era of social media to make something creative
and be rewarded for it.
In your opinion, what is the best environment to enjoy video art?
I am always looking for immersive spaces, where the spectator can be fully involved in the video. Video art requires full attention from the viewer. People are too used to very fast
images and crazy speed changing shots in advertisement and movies. The spectator needs to be very receptive to unusually slow transitions and a slightly different visual language. So the
creation of a good atmosphere and a proper environment that sets the mood is very important.
Below, the mesmerising video mapping installation work by David Moraton to be seen over the whole Weekend 4/6th September during #Tribe15
"Explorers" is a video art mapping experience that re-configures an existing wall from the #TRIBE15, by adding new visual elements. Flocks of flying light objects, development of frost, cells evolution and branches will literally explore and shape a new, visually stunning, ever-flowing and deeply organic reality.
What are your artistic dreams?
To have the time and resources to fully dedicate my time to my art. There is always so much to learn, so many creative possibilities that all I could dream of is have all the time in the world to
create as much as possible. Ultimately, the same way I have been inspired by so many artists and composers, I would dream of inspiring somehow another human being in the present or in the future.
That's what it's all about, building bridges between souls makes the Wheel of Life and Art spin.