Niel Patel’s digital creations are out of this world. His manipulations expertly blend disparate concepts, creating dizzying arrangements that have a remarkable way of turning your imagination on end. Surrounded by the idyllic sugarcane fields and forests of Gujarat, India, Patel edits these surreal images as a form of meditation.
“I love being in nature,” he tells INSPADES, “For me, image editing is a way of relaxing, a way to take my mind off of this world and a chance to create my own world.”
The artistic collection of Patel reads like a science fiction novel, blessed with an imagination so free it can envision alternate realities with striking detail. Within Patel’s portfolio, there is a common theme of oceans, mountains and cities, witnessed by the presence of a solitary figure. In one image, a skyscraper-studded city lays quietly submerged underwater, as a woman in scuba fins, accompanied by a small scatter of jellyfish, floats high above the cityscape, gazing serenely toward the surface of the water, fixed in some unknown purpose.
Patel has a flair for fusing shapes and forms of different realms, creating a portal to surreal combinations reminiscent of a dream state. Often blending cityscapes with natural scenes of pristine beauty, Patel has found a way to harmonize seemingly disconnected landscapes into a unified image, deep in its complexity and mired in a sense of awe. An example of this can be found in his image of a solitary figure sitting contemplatively on a rocky ledge, while crisscrossing skyscrapers fill the negative space above, connoting a definitive cubist influence. Part of the magic in Patel’s images is his ability to use colour effectively to create cohesive blends. Often using neutral or warm tones, Patel’s collection has fluid visual consistency with golden hues, resonant of an endless summer afternoon.
Patel’s creative process involves choosing photos and then experimenting. His editing process can take from thirty minutes to two hours. He likes to play with different techniques, sometimes successful the first time around, sometimes with more than one take, using different filters and effects to achieve his desired results. For his digital art, his tools of choice are PicsArt and Alien Sky on his iPhone 6. Some of his digital creations are stylized portraits as well, such as his series of portraits of women’s faces, with clouds merging with the model’s features, perhaps suggesting a blend of peaceful, yet piercing, reverie. Patel explains, “I like my paintings and photos to look like dreams and fantasies.” They certainly do.
Not only a digital artist, Patel also paints watercolour portraits and landscape scenes. Although very different, these two mediums both come from the same well of Patel’s creativity, affording him a broader sense of composition and design. According to Patel, the advantage of being a watercolour artist is that it has already expanded his imagination and creativity, so when it comes to creating digital art, he can easily imagine how the finished piece will look, and which colour tones and backgrounds will enhance the piece.
With an explorative sense of creativity, Patel’s inventive work reflects his innermost contemplations. When an artist finds a way to express their thoughts and feelings through their creations, it forges an emotional exchange between both artist and viewer. For Patel, this binding of experience is much like his artwork, different worlds coming together to coalesce within the space of a single image.
Published in INSPADES Magazine, Issue Cinque, June 2017
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See more of this artist’s digital creations on Instagram at: @Imaginaryworld86