Daisuke Sugiyama is computer artist who expresses the continuity and reincarnation of life and death in the digital society by printing and three-dimensionalizing digital drawings, 3D scans, and AI-based drawing data onto fiber materials.
As for prior computer art practitioners, Wade Guyton (b. 1972, USA) attempted to create drawings through deviant use of inkjet printers, and Harold Cohen (1928 – b. 2016, UK) attempted to have AI draw paintings. Sugiyama differs from his predecessors in that he bases his work on Buddhist thought.
Sugiyama verbalizes his finished work and then leaves it to the generative AI to let go of it on its own. He then draws his next work based on the drawn image. Sometimes he uses collages of past works to create new images by converting them into data, and sometimes he dares to use old kimonos as materials instead of using paper suitable for printing. This process is intended to represent the Buddhist concept of “samsara” (reincarnation).
By continually questioning what the self is, Sugiyama’s works have the aspect of long self-portraits that continue from the past to the present and into the future.
While the Abstract Expressionists used paint to add thickness to their paintings, Sugiyama creates three-dimensional drawings by setting up height information in digital space to create a reincarnation of the work. The thickness of information is contained within the two-dimensional printed data.
Despite the difficulty of printing, Sugiyama dares to choose fibrous materials. No two pieces of handmade Japanese paper or old kimonos are alike in terms of detail. The process of touching them and bringing them to the here and now is what makes these materials unique.
Printing on such materials cannot be done in the same way as with standardized printing paper.
Sugiyama accepts the fate of the material by not daring to go against the flow, but to make use of it. To simply accept it as it is, as phenomenon that exists there. This is the process of expressing “anatman,” or “selflessness” in Buddhism.
Sugiyama’s works, created in this way, are completely different, looking like conventional paintings, even though he never uses paintbrushes.
The actual works are printed in a way that exceeds the limits of the human hand, and when viewed in person, one can see that the precision of the work is not the result of human hands. If the same precision were sought by a paintbrush, it would require a tremendous amount of time. The complexity of the work increases as it is printed on the material, and when integrated with the frame, the printed work takes on the skin of a painting.
Sugiyama’s works are contemporary art that mimic modern paintings.