Time-lapse is now rightly considered an art in itself.
Not just providing a platform with which to condense lengthy creative processes into a matter of minutes without diminishing its finer points, the integration of new technologies and traditional artistic techniques in visual form means that time-lapse becomes an essential part of the art itself.
Although perhaps not the main source of focus in a time-lapse video dedicated to the production of art, the figure of the artist in relation to their work provides a complete picture.
A time-lapse camera installed in an artist’s working environment gives a clearer account of the processes at hand. An artist’s studio is an important, personal aspect of their professional life and is just as vital to some narratives as the finished artistic product. The studio is, after all, the site place where the magic happens.
As well as accurately documenting the artist in ‘full-flow’, time-lapse capture can take the narrative beyond the point of artistic creation and into the wider networks of public life. Public and commercial exhibitions mark an important end in the artist’s journey, not merely to celebrate their work but to open it up to potential buyers.
Occasions attracting groups of people generate a degree of movement and capacity that is befitting of time-lapse. In this sense, documenting the ever-changing environments surrounding the artist and their work in visual form can sometimes be as rewarding as viewing the artwork itself.
Of course, the artist’s way of life can sometimes be uncertain, especially in an age where digitisation and the world wide web has opened up the playing field, affording more and more talented people opportunities to be noticed.
The ranks of amateur and professional artists appear to swell day by day as online media such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, offer free and easily accessible platforms from which to communicate with people on a mass scale.
As with now-famous singers, for example, democratic platforms such as these have the potential to launch careers as well as further them.
For Marcello Barenghi, an Italian artist from Milan, YouTube was a saving grace by providing an outlet for his career in drawing.
Twenty years after he had said goodbye to his career as a drawing artist, Barenghi was inspired by videos on YouTube, opened his own channel, and has since developed a signature style.
Creating hyper-realist illustrations with a mixture of paint, pencil, and pen, Barenghi’s work attempts to bring everyday objects to life on the page, encouraging viewers of his work to see these products in terms of how they accompany us throughout our lives – even if it is just a bottle of tomato ketchup.
Not only has YouTube helped Beranghi to breathe new life into a career he thought had ended, time-lapse has also allowed his work to develop into the brand that it is today. He now sells prints of his work on his website.
Just under four hours’ work is condensed into a three-minute video, here. This is not only a visual record of his talents, but he also hopes these videos instruct others on how to develop their own skills in drawing.
Similarly, for Thijme Termaat, releasing his shortfilm ‘I Paint’ in 2012, has led to his work being viewed and shared across the world.
Not simply recording himself painting, Termaat enhances his impressive skills using an incredible form and style that gives you a glimpse of the man behind the art. Using dynamic camera angles and movements, the meticulous editing of the time-lapse footage has enabled him to craft a visual narrative that is worthy of the label art on its own.
The artist can be seen seamlessly moving in and out of his own canvases, transcending the manipulation of time that time-lapse offers by superimposing significant aspects of his paintings so that they appear to be floating independent to the rest of his work. If that was not impressive enough, no CGI was used in the making of this film.
This is not to say that computer software cannot create an equally breath-taking effect. ‘Electric love HyperLapse’, depicting a surrealist vision of a kiss between two cyborgs by (aptly named) Android Jones, offers a striking experience upon viewing.
Using digital and sculpting tools Adobe Photoshop CC and Zbrush, developing the illustration and complex layering, Jones then uses Telestream’s ScreenFlow application to record almost 18 hours of work completed over the course of several weeks.
Jones has perfected and carefully crafted these digital blends of the real and the surreal for nearly 20 years, and likes to call his work ‘trans-dimensional art.’
He shows his work at renowned festivals like Burning Man.
To end our tour is probably one of the most bizarre yet brilliant examples of art and time-lapse thus far.
YouTuber KayPikeFashion, literally uses herself as a canvas for her extraordinary talents using body paint.
Like all the videos featured here, Pike has developed a signature style so that the process of painting is enhanced by surrounding elements in the frame.
It almost looks as though she is part of an animated video game. Along with the bold colours and anime-like style of the art, it appears as if Pike is wearing a costume. Other characters she recreates besides Star Wars’ C-3P0 include Spiderman, Superman, Poison Ivy, Batman, and many more.
Not only developing her own art form, Pike has set up a growing network with fellow artists, fans, and online users, with whom she can connect and share her work. Streaming the intricate process for up to 10-17 hours on viewing platforms like Twitch, time-lapse then provides a useful way in which to adapt such lengthy processes for those looking for a quick fix on YouTube.
Of course, there are many more examples available in the vast expanse of the Internet. But these videos offer an impressive sample of how time-lapse can become intricately intertwined with creative processes so that the technique itself becomes at one with the art that it captures.