The hypnotizing meetings between man & machine
3rd May 22 - By Elin, JonssonArtist Portraits
Paris based artist and industrial designer; Arnaud Pfeffer has just launched his first series for Paper Collective. Trained as an industrial designer, Arnaud has worked with all types of product design and development. In his day job he became captivated by the manufacturing process. This sparked a passion to explore the meeting between hand drawing and machine precision which he has mastered into a beautiful artform. We met the artist in Paris to talk about his artistry.
There is something satisfying about lines being repeated on paper in perfect symmetry. We can’t stop watching as the machine reveals artist Arnaud Pfeffers drawings line by line. We are not the only ones intrigued, @Arnaudpfef has an engaged following on Instagram where he shows his work and process. We have come to Paris to see artist Arnaud Pfeffer create his art where hand drawing meets mechanical perfection.
Arnaud Pfeffer has just launched his first series for Paper Collective consisting of 5 colourful art prints. Trained as an industrial designer, Arnaud has worked with all types of product design and development. In his day job he became captivated by the manufacturing process. This sparked a passion to explore the meeting between hand drawing and machine precision which he has mastered into a beautiful artform. We met the artist in Paris to talk about his artistry.
The kinematics of these machines also have a magical effect, where everything seems to work together.
Can you in short describe your background?
I was first trained in mechanical engineering, which I complemented with studies in industrial design. This double skill allows me to combine functionality with experience, perception, and the aspiration to use new systems. When I design a product, I ask myself the same questions as when I draw: To exploit an industrial tool to reveal a sensitive character to what we produce.
Why have you chosen this form of expression?
I have always been attracted to mechanical systems, especially printing machines. There is something very satisfying about being able to interact with a machine and to see it carry out its intention. The kinematics of these machines also have a magical effect, where everything seems to work together.
During my engineering studies, I started working with offset printers, which allow me to print visuals in industrial quantities. I continued these explorations by testing other printing techniques, such as screen printing, risography, 3D printing, or rapid prototyping tools. All these machines offer the possibility to physically draw a digital design.
I also build tools and mechanisms to add other movements to the machine, like adding a tattoo machine or making a stand to adapt the rotation and pressure of the tools.
Tell us about your creative process?
My creation process is divided into two stages.
The first one is a drawing stage. I start by making sketches by hand, to have a first visualization and to think about the movement to realize it with my robot. Then I make a digital drawing. I work with 3D design and drawing software to get digital lines. I then convert these lines into a tool path for my machine. The second step is a setting step. I set all the components of my robot: speed of movement, choice of tool, pressure to be applied, etc. I then go back and forth between print tests and these parameters to find the best match between the digital and physical design.
What type of tools do you use to create your art?
I work with all types of drawing tools: markers, brushes, pens, inks. They can be commercially available tools or tools that I hack according to the drawings. I also build tools and mechanisms to add other movements to the machine, like adding a tattoo machine or making a stand to adapt the rotation and pressure of the tools.
Where do you get your inspiration for your work?
I am interested in the opposition between a digital drawing - geometrically perfect - and its physical drawing, depending on the materiality of the tool. My drawings are simple, geometric shapes and reveal themselves at the moment the robot executes them.I am inspired by everyday forms that already have a line: the lines of a vase, the pattern of a leaf, the shadows of an origami, the reflections of a material. All these observations are starting points for the conception of mechanical lines.
The videos of how your art comes to life are quite popular. Why do you think that is?
There is something very satisfying about watching a machine work for you. The inhuman, infallible precision is fascinating, you know that the gesture will not hesitate, that the robot will go where you have planned. It is both hypnotizing and relaxing.
And yet, there is always a part of the unforeseen which comes to contrast with this precision: the ink which will dry more quickly on one side than on the other, the sheet which will inflate and absorb the ink differently, etc. It is this confrontation that interests me, the determinism of the machine against the unexpectedness of the material.