ANIMAL’s feature Artist’s Notebook asks artists to show us their original “idea sketch” next to a finished artwork or project. This week, Shanghai-based artist Kim Laughton talks about his digital work The Physical Possibility Of An Eggplant, inspired by “a bruised white aubergine sitting on a black marble windowsill.”

I usually look for inspiration in the world around me. In this case, I was on my way out of the bank when I noticed a bruised white aubergine sitting on a black marble windowsill. A solar cell had been propped up behind the vegetable, and shower gel (or similar) covered both. The scene struck me as remarkably contemporary for some reason, and I decided to recreate it digitally.

When I need to make a quick sketch on the go I use the Android version of 3DS Max – it’s a little limited but great for getting an idea down.

At home I’ll work on my desktop PC.

In this case I modified a fish skin material for the solar cell, used metaballs for the gel and made a 3D scan of a real aubergine.

I only had a purple aubergine, so I dipped it in white liquid latex before scanning to change the color.

When satisfied with the composition, I send the file to my render farm. At this stage, a powerful computer simulates the realities we take for granted and after a period of time the image is formed.

The final render was Perfect for display in an online gallery.

The moneyed generally have difficulty finding meaning in digital images; for this audience it may be necessary to send the render to be painted in a Chinese factory. After the transition from pixel to paint everyone is happy and I’ll return to the bank to look for more inspiring scenes.

KIM LAUGHTON, THE PHYSICAL POSSIBILITY OF AN EGGPLANT (2014)

Previous Artist’s Notebook selects:

Artist’s Notebook: Labanna Babalon
Artist’s Notebook: Sterling Crispin
Artist’s Notebook: Am Schmidt
Artist’s Notebook: Rhett Jones
Artist’s Notebook: Clement Valla
Artist’s Notebook: Tima Radya
Artist’s Notebook: Eva Papamargariti
Artist’s Notebook: Brenna Murphy
Artist’s Notebook: Genevieve Belleveau
Artist’s Notebook: LaTurbo Avedon