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.


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