Less than a year ago, Michael Kozlowski thought of himself as a software developer first, and perhaps an artist second. For the previous five years, Kozlowski lent his technical skills and unbridled imagination to augmented-reality experiences developed by companies like Microsoft. This access to future-forward technology informed and empowered him. Today, his reality-shifting digital art channels this background, as Kozlowski experiments with computational photography, stereoscopy, lenticular imaging and holographic technology, with his own wonder and joy part of the mix.
Kozlowski’s Genesis G70 digital art car is his first commission as an independent, full-time artist. Inspiration for the piece struck as the artist was taking photos of the luxury vehicle in Palm Springs, an area he feels a profound connection with after the ten years he spent living in LA. “I took photos of the G70 during a shoot in the mountains over Palm Springs and it was twilight,” he says. “That color gradient was an essential piece of the art I made. I also wanted to focus on very specific elements of the car, the way it seems to be moving when it is at a standstill.” Behind the wheel, Kozlowski had another inspirational experience—and all of these experiential attributes weave together in his commission.
For Kozlowski, this process offered an explored path toward creativity. “I usually start with a completely blank slate,” he says. “I don’t have to use something as a muse or experience something before I create. I just think of something and I do it.” Here, however, the vehicle was his canvas.
Acceleration is the central point of my piece.
“The most important and obvious ingredient in my art car is linear motion. The whole thing involves moving forward very quickly. Acceleration is the central point of my piece,” he says. To create this, he shifted from digitally working atop the G70 and began to create an environment that enhanced it.
Kozlowski’s path into art has been quite distinct. “For as long as I can remember, I always wanted art to be a part of my life,” he says. “And probably to do it as part of a career.” It manifested through computer science, film studies and mixed reality. Then, only a few months ago, he decided to make it his primary profession.
“I started making and selling art about a year ago,” he says “and it had all been at home, in my apartment—and we have a very small apartment. Now, however, I’m in a studio with friends, creatives in different capacities, from woodworking to mixed media.”
“I use a software called Unity, which is traditionally used for making video games, and can render really complex things quickly,” he explains, “and then it comes down to lighting and material texture in my art. I love getting things to look photorealistic instantaneously.” With the Genesis G70 he was drawn to the grain of the leather and the balance of glossy and matte exterior.
Kozlowski likes to toy with people’s perception—the realism behind his imagined worlds often makes viewers question if they exist. Computer science equipped him. “These pieces of software that I learned,” he says, “it’s like I feel more and more empowered to make even weirder and cooler and crazier things.”
But, “at the end of the day, I want to make something that’s beautiful,” he says. “I want to give people a sense of wonder. It’s a pretty wonderful place in time for digital art right now, and digital artists, especially. They have the ability to do this.”
Genesis G70 pre-production model with optional features shown. Available summer 2021.