Portrait of an Artist: Bruce Pashak
Vancouver artist Bruce Pashak is using a novel technique to give viewers of his work a 3D experience. Pashak has created several pieces using lenticular technology, a process that involves placing a large transparent plexiglass lens directly onto a specially printed version of an art image. The backlit image, which appears blurry on its own, is refracted through the finely contoured surface of the lenticular lens, bringing it into focus and creating the illusion of depth.
The Straight reached Pashak by phone to talk about his work.
How did you first learn about the lenticular process?
I had a little kit and that was sitting on my fridge…and it was a flip lenticular. Flip lenticulars are different than 3D lenticulars. They’re the kind, when you look at it, and you walk from right to left, a face could turn into a frown or whatever. It moves according to your position, and that’s called a flip lenticular. I was very curious about this process and I went online and discovered that there’s actually a 3D process where it [the image] actually comes out into your space. I did some research into that and I found out, yes, they’re available, and there are printers in Chicago that can do it.
What inspired you to apply this technology to art making?
My whole interest is in—I call it polyoptical— many different ways of looking at an image. And I’ve always played with the idea of multiple images in my own painting. And I did that in a 2D format where I had different subject matter, different materials. And I really liked the idea that you didn’t have one perspective while looking at the work. So I’ve been wanting to find another way of extending my image so that it actually did come into your space. So when I found out that I could apply this 3D method to my work it kind of was the next stage because I really liked the idea of the complexity of the way we see an image.
What key challenges do you face with this process?
I have to be careful in how complex the image does get so that it doesn’t get lost. I do want to somehow keep the subject to what I would call its real integrity, so that it doesn’t get too blown up, too out there, so that it almost becomes meaningless. I do like to bring the conversation back to what the subject is. The biggest fear is that it will get too complex and it will get to the point where it’s almost meaningless because you can’t get a point in it. I do like to control the narrative a little bit but make sure that the narrative isn’t one that can be nailed down to one particular answer.
Portrait of An Artist is a regular feature on Straight.com that profiles local visual artists. Suggest an artist to profile in the comments section below or by sending a message via Twitter to @thomsonreporter.