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Five Minutes With: FrankNitty3000, digital artist

By Celia Lee 28 March 2024

Header image courtesy of FrankNitty3000

In recent decades, digital art has taken the world by storm. From the simple use of technology in art creation to the notorious NFT craze that arose during the Covid-19 pandemic, the impact of digital disciplines in the artistic field is growing constantly, and allowing art to take on wildly different forms and break more artistic boundaries than ever before.

For Hong Kong Art Week, we spoke with digital artist FrankNitty3000, a Netherlands native now based in Hong Kong, about the evolution of his distinct style, his initiation into the digital craft, and the pros of creating on a fictional canvas.

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Tell us about your background.

“I’m an artist, born and raised in the countryside of the Netherlands, but I’ve always been a city boy at heart, always on the lookout for ways to step outside the normal. Art school felt like my destiny, so I attended the Design Academy Eindhoven. After graduation, I dipped my toes in the world of fashion and retail, working as an art director for various companies. That curiosity for something out of the ordinary led me to Tokyo, where I learnt about film and video. These experiences layered on top of each other, gradually shaped me into the artist I am today.”

You have an impressive CV—art director in fashion, creative director in advertising, and music video director. How did your artistic journey begin?

“I didn’t start with a specific attraction to digital art. Rather, it was the tools of digital creation that came to feel most natural to me. The freedom and versatility of these tools allowed me to express ideas in ways traditional mediums simply could not. I developed an affinity for digital mediums and the concise and impactful stories they are able to tell. Digital art has become my preferred mode of working, which offers a unique blend of creativity and innovation in my expression.”

How have your past specialities helped you build your distinct style today?

“My style today is deeply rooted in my past experiences. It is a deliberate construction based on skill development, technique enhancement, and a keen observation of my surroundings. I am constantly analysing behaviour and reactions, which is why I am drawn to creating art that provokes a response. For me, art isn’t just a means of self-exploration—it’s a powerful tool for communication.”

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Can you tell us more about your creative process? What inspires you?

“My creative process is deeply fuelled by imagery, particularly the photography found in advertising, marketing, and fashion. I have a profound appreciation for the craftsmanship within these fields and enjoy dissecting and understanding their processes. This universe of polished images is my playground. Beyond that, I’m drawn to exploring themes that tap into the subconscious, drawing from various aspects of my background. This includes everything from street culture to the natural world, along with an intrigue for puzzles, riddles, mechanics, and mathematics.”

What do you like most about creating digital art?

“Making something that didn’t exist before.”

Photo: Courtesy of Franknitty3000

Can you tell us about the human body theme, which is often represented in your work?

“Human figures represent our most familiar visual references. By distorting these familiar forms, I can evoke intense and immediate reactions. My aim is to venture into the realm of the unsettling or the absurd, but also arrange and composes these elements in an attractive manner. I am fascinated by this interplay and balance between instinctual reactions and calculated artistic decisions.”

You have described your approach to art as “meditative.” What does this mean for you?

“When I describe my approach to art as ‘meditative,’ I am referring it as an escape. The process allows for self-reflection through the act of creation. By ‘meditative,’ I mean engaging in creation with a level of unconsciousness, where creation comes primarily from a place that is not entirely known or premeditated. It is when the work starts to unfold in unexpected ways that I find the most joy and excitement in what I do.”

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Photo: Courtesy of Franknitty3000

What is the message you hope to get across with your work?

“My focus is on exploring and questioning people’s reactions to these concepts. I am fascinated by delving into this world, uncovering potential hidden motives, and imagining how these can be reinterpreted to provoke new, unseen reactions. Through my art, I aspire to spark deeper, more thoughtful responses than the mere allure of luxury and consumer trends.”

Photo: Courtesy of Franknitty3000

What motivated your move to Hong Kong? And has the city influenced your creative process?

“I think [the move] just [happened] and I enjoyed [the city], so I stayed. There was a bit of work, a bit of love, and a lot of inspiration from the city itself. I really appreciate the incredible diversity and dynamism of Hong Kong’s environment. 

“Hong Kong has influenced my creative process, but my art doesn’t directly comment on specific local cultures or phenomena. Rather, the collaborative nature of my work and the friendships I’ve formed here have woven the essence of the city into my life and art. Connections and [my] personal integration into the city’s vibrant life are what I find most meaningful—this reflection does spark a thought, though. Perhaps it’s time for me to explore something deeply embedded in a Hong Kong theme.”

Photo: Courtesy of Franknitty3000

Tell us more about the RRReality World Tour you are launching in Hong Kong. What is the theme? Can you give us a sneak peak of what to expect?

“I chose Hong Kong as the launching place because it’s closest to home! [There were ideas] to announce it in another city, but I think doing a ‘pilot’ here makes sense. The theme of the tour is the tour itself. I am touring the world and introducing myself to people physically. I hope to collaborate with local people and businesses in new places and it will be a new ‘reality’ for me. It’s real in the sense that it’s not just existing in an exclusively digital environment, but ‘touchable.’”

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Can you describe your dream project?

“I would love to do some kind of immersive fashion show, maybe a music video in India, something with an architect here in Hong Kong, a hotel interior, maybe some kind of lasting installation in a public space, or [a collaboration with] Maison Margiela? Ferrari? Maybe create something that can really help or benefit certain people in crisis? There is a long list of things I have in mind.”

Tour aside, do you have any projects in the works?

“I’m exploring more interactive and environmental types of work, maybe even sculpture. It’s a slow process but there are many things in the works.”

Interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Celia Lee

Staff writer

Born and raised in Hong Kong and educated in the UK, Celia is passionate about culture, food, and different happenings in the city. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her scouting for new and trendy restaurants, getting lost in a bookstore, or baking up a storm at home.