About the artist
Jeffrey Thelin is an artist and designer living near the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. He has loved creating abstract shapes and doodles ever since he was little. In the last five or six years, he has been combining his love of geometry, nature and photography in a way that allows him to explore them all at once: he creates geometric overlays over photographs he’s taken and works to make it feel like one harmonious piece, hopefully providing unique and peaceful experiences to everyone who sees them.
How did you first get into digital art?
I got pretty serious about digital art and photography when I got my first iPhone, an iPhone 4, back in 2011. I was so inspired by the idea of having a camera and an art studio in my pocket. The immediacy of it really drew me in. I’d take a photo of a cool spot of light on the bus and immediately be able to start exploring ways to add things to it.
Why did you choose digital art as your medium?
In January of 2016, I decided to create a new piece of art every day using my photos I’ve taken and my geometric overlays. The speed in which I can create is why I choose to work digitally. I can have an idea and within minutes explore that idea and dozens of tangents. This speed has been essential to being able to keep up my daily practice. Also, I work on my iPad and phone mostly because of that reason as well. All my tools and processes are streamlined for speed and accessibility. But as I progress in my career as an artist and designer I find myself becoming increasingly interested in physical mediums and slowing down my process.
What artistic styles are you particularly drawn to?
Minimalism, Abstract Expressionism, and I’m not sure if it’s a particular art style but I’ve been very interested in various religious patterns and mathematical ratios recently.
What inspires you?
I find inspiration from nature, other artists, and I also love looking at scientific drawings and utilitarian graphic design like blank cassette tapes. But a lot of times when I create my work I’m not feeling so inspired but I still just get on with it and keep creating until I have something I’m happy with. I’m more inspired the harder I’m working I suppose.
What is your artistic motivation?
What a lovely question. My greatest goal as an artist is to create transformative visual experiences. I want to give people a break in their day, a glimpse of something unique and perhaps even a gateway to healing.
Of all your images to date, which is your favourite and why?
That is a very tough question. I’m not sure I do have a favourite. Usually I am pretty pleased with what I create each day and I used to even get scared that I would not be able to create something as good the next day.
Which three words or phrases would you use to describe your work?
Minimal, Geometric, Harmonious.
What memorable responses to your artwork have you had?
I once had someone say that my work was helping them overcome the loss of a loved one. They would visit my work everyday and stare at the images and it’d help them feel a bit more at peace. That is the greatest thing that I can do as an artist.
Name three artists who inspire you.
How do you think you’ve improved as an artist compared to when you first started?
In general, I believe I have clearer goals and guiding principles for my work which help me create a more cohesive body of work. Also, I have been expanding my knowledge of color theory, design principles, and mindfulness to help influence my work.
What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to when you started making art?
Just keep going.
Hard work will always pay off in some way.
Be more gentle with yourself.
Remember to not be so serious!
What devices/equipment do you use to create your art?
For the last 2 years I’ve been taking all my photos with my Sony DSC-RX100V and I create all my designs on my iPad. Before that I was using my iPhone for all my photos and editing.
Which apps/programs do you use to create your art and which are your favourites?
I think most of the big creative software and hardware companies are failing creatives in many ways right now. But there are smaller companies, like VSCO, that are doing things right.
Do you use images from stock sites as well as your own photos and if so, which are your favourites and why?
I do not, I try to only use my own photos. It feels more honest and forces me to be more creative with my process. If I want to use other images I’ll reach out to other artists/photographers directly to set up a collaborative piece.
Do you find that digital art is often dismissed as a valid art form?
I think digital art in general isn’t dismissed, but I do think art created on iPads and phones is seen as lesser than work created on a laptop which seems silly to me.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and insights with us, Jeffrey!