Artist’s Notebook:
Rafaël Rozendaal

12.09.13 Marina Galperina

ANIMAL’s feature Artist’s Notebook asks artists to show us their original “idea sketch” next to a finished piece. This week, Dutch-Brazilian New York-based artist Rafaël Rozendaal talk about his water-inspired website piece Nothing Ever Happens.

I have been using water as a subject throughout the years. I’m not sure exactly why. Water is definitely important in life, and I like that water is not allowed to be anywhere near a computer. Water is dangerous in combination with electricity.

The first step was looking at different depictions of water, throughout the ages.

I looked at Da Vinci drawings, golden age cartoons, video games and I filmed water in different places, — pools, parks, at home.

I’ve always been fascinated by early animation. The technology was new and everything had to be invented. How do you animate water?

How do you animate light reflecting on water?

I like it when the medium is very different from the subject matter.

Think about how strange it is — humans create a technology (animation) and then use that to emulate things we see every day, things that are familiar to us already.

The next step is to find how I want to depict the water, to find the proper visual reduction so it can work in computer code. I sketched on the computer, and made some animated gifs.

 Next step is to email those sketches to my programmer, Reinier Feijen.

Then we talk on Skype.

He builds a prototype, and I can change settings in that prototype.

I can change speed, amount of lines, balance between black and white, etc etc. Final step is playing with the values until it feels right.


See Rafaël Rozendaal current solo show at the Postmasters Gallery.

Previous Artist’s Notebook selects:

Artist’s Notebook: Kate Torn
Artist’s Notebook: Adam Ferriss
Artist’s Notebook: Andrea Crespo
Artist’s Notebook: Jesse Darling
Artist’s Notebook: Melissa F. Clarke
Artist’s Notebook: Tristan Perich
Artist’s Notebook: Mattie Hillock
Artist’s Notebook: Daniel Temkin
Artist’s Notebook: Rick Silva
Artist’s Notebook: Nicolas Sassoon
Artist’s Notebook: Lorna Mills
Artist’s Notebook: Yoshi Sodeoka