Acidwave & Lisa Frank Prime

After my collaboration with SalmonMatte Studios had been licensed by The Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, I had one thing that I think is essential to new artists: confidence. This was success – having some art on an album cover of a fairly major band. This was an affirmation that I had made something really well. Once I had the confidence that my sensibilities were not just in a bubble, I wanted to experiment again – and doing compositions that were wilder and more free came naturally from that – a lot of the earliest experiments being created while I acquainted myself with the Crumpets discography and returned to weirder sounds like Tobacco and Dan Deacon. That also meant breaking some rules I’d held for a long time – no random strokes, no patterns created deliberately (and not with glitches or code), I had avoided any irregular geometry (no custom pen-drawn shapes) the list goes on, they weren’t “real” rules obviously, just implicit rules in the work that suddenly evaporated.

I did a lot of initial experiments in contrasting organic or mineral textures with black and white generated ones – I called them “Rift Patterns” – but basically just experiments with After Effects and shape repeaters. I tried making some artwork with checker patterns like I’ve seen in “acidwave” and kind of post-vaporwave or late vaporwave style art – acidwinzip is probably one of my favorite artists in that space. The fastest way I could think of to make super high-res checkers was After Effects, and so I did – but then why not start rotating the squares or scaling them or changing their position to make more complex patterns?

Thus a new style was born – and the crazy chaotic colors twigged my friend ethereal_zephyr to comment that it was like a Lisa Frank design in monochrome. Now that I had an avatar character that was closer to full-on fantasy, it was only a short leap to have a Lisa Frank character that was a riff on the Superman Prime theme from DC comics. That is – an alternate universe version that was more of an anti-hero (interesting fact: the real Lisa Frank is pretty reclusive and impossible to find pictures of). The general lore of the thing is that sgt_slaughtermelon studied under Lisa Frank Prime at her atelier school in this universe and learned these techniques from her (which, in reality, were the result of commercial success). So I took the idea and ran with it, and then created several gradient maps that mirrored Lisa Frank designs pretty closely, and the results were spectacular. “LFP” became a trading card – but more than anything it just became my own internal byword for wild designs with irregular geometry, strokes, spatial suggestions, and complex OP ART style patterns. I was combining them in mind-bending ways, and sometimes using the official LFP gradient map, sometimes dropping other ones in. It’s still something I consider a living series – although I don’t always use the standard title “the_#th_lesson_lisa_frank_prime_taught_me.” There’s also a trading card floating around that unlocks a link to “the official Lisa Frank Prime gradient map.” I hope that’s fun for someone.

Departures and Rule-Breaking

As always, what happens once you figure out how to make something new that you like is that you start to create rules in your head about how to make that thing. I do anyways. So after LFP had seen some success – meaning I liked what I was making with it an awful lot, I decided to try breaking some of the LFP rules. New palettes, patterns that were in color and not just monochrome, experimenting with comps that weren’t as free-flowing, weren’t necessarily tied together by strokes, and didn’t insist on going out of frame. There are a lot of these that have never been seen by anyone, but they’re all generally blocked under “departures” or cross-pollinated LFP designs. It was right around when I was accumulating enough departures to make a proper series out of it that I was introduced into cryptoart and everything went off the rails and back on new rails.

Departures are really how I categorize anything that doesn’t follow naturally from my work in glitch art and isn’t generative or simple collage.

Since the Lisa Frank Prime lessons series, I dipped back into the style a couple times after I joked with someone about 38-Dimensional Chess and then wanted to flesh out the concept a little. I experimented with some basic 3d elements being edited into the comps, adding a little more depth in how the compositions felt. I think it worked, but more importantly it was a good experiment in using modular elements and styles in what’s a unified direction that can have any of these different parts come or go and still be recognizably a “LFP stye” or “acidwave style” piece of art. It’s incredible how much mileage this one gradient can get you.

38 Dimensional Chess Game 02 and Game 01

Using the technique for image brush that produces these multi-layered strokes, I played around with just some scribbles and balls of strokes and such as “class_notes” for fun on – that means a series of blind mint pieces that hopefully worked as just little one-offs in the style and combination of the black and white and LFP gradient.