VICTOR ACEVEDO

Victor Acevedo is an artist best known for his digital work involving printmaking and photography. However, since 2007 his primary focus has been working with video and producing (electronic) visual music works. As an ongoing practice, Acevedo still issues signed limited edition prints, but now the prints are from still images sourced from his video work.

Acevedo is considered a desktop computer art pioneer as he was an early adopter of pre-Windows personal computer (IBM PC) software to create fine art in the early 1980s. He now works primarily on the Apple Macintosh platform. He has shown his work in over 120 group and solo art exhibitions in the U.S. and Internationally since 1982.

Early Influences

Acevedo’s key early influences were Cézanne, Picasso, M.C. Escher, Salvador Dali, Fritjof Capra and Buckminster Fuller. A deep study of their work and ideas, led him to the genesis of his space-frame & polyhedral graphical metaphor.  It is a kind of ‘geometrical Surrealism’ and it is quite evident in his early traditional media work. It has a metaphysical bent, juxtaposing figuration with non-objective form. This interplay of geometry and a contemporary Surrealism carries over into both his digital print and video work. His digital work could also be classified as 'Techspressionism'.

Analog to Digital Art

The arc of Acevedo’s career is noteworthy in that it begins in his student phase in 1977 with traditional (analog) media painting and drawing and then shifts, starting in 1983 over a 4-year period to exclusively digital media. To date, the three main periods of Victor Acevedo’s ouevre could be described as the following: 1977- 87 Analog Art: traditional media, painting, drawing & film; 1983 to 2007: Digital Art: archival ink jet and photo prints; 2007 to present: (Electronic) Visual Music: Digital Video and Digital Prints. In this 3rd phase Acevedo will begin minting NFTs of some of his work.


Looking at his first period in retrospect, Acevedo’s body of traditional media work can be viewed as a harbinger to his later digital practice. This being that the images are primarily concerned with Art and Geometry. Given their rarity and level of craftsmanship these early analog media works are now being valued as aesthetically and historically significant.

Acevedo produced 29 key traditional media artworks. These include 15 paintings, 13 drawings and a large banner.  At the present time, 23 of these works are still in the collection of the artist.  In addition to these, he produced many other works, including photographs, films, videos and small sculptures. His digital output has been much more prolific and is only now being catalogued.

Digital Prints / Digital Photography and Painting


The main intent of Acevedo’s work is to explore the structure of space by revisioning photographs taken from everyday life. In the re-visioning there can be seen a metaphorical juxtaposition between specific and temporary human episodes or happenings against and inside a generalized high bandwidth non-athropomorphic universal (and structured) energetic flow. Towards this end, he builds various geometric space frames or polyhedral forms using 3D modeling software and then composites these synthetic structures into the pictorial space of source photographs. In the beginning these film-based photographic images were digitized via scanning, today they are born digital.

The use of these particular geometrical structures which are often times derived from networks of triangulated or semi-spherical polyhedra and the graphical tension achieved by juxtaposing them with photographic data is an opportunity to represent spatial field phenomena in a way that is non-cubical and non-cubist. 

Moreover, the use of digital imaging technologies, allows Acevedo the facile use of photographic realism with its native and various lens-based perspectival mappings to be put back into the abstract and metaphorical mix. The photograph functions as the ‘underlying drawing’ on which the digital ‘painting’ is built. One might say that Acevedo’s print work is on the painterly end of the Digital Photography spectrum.

Conceptual Underpinning of the Work

So called ‘empty space’ is actually filled with dynamic atomic scale interactions. Not only is space not empty; at the medio-cosmic-level, it has shape. In his images, Acevedo conceptualizes space as a field, rendering ‘figure and ground’ and connecting them pictorially, because they actually are connected in reality. Interpreted as a ‘field matrix’, the inner and outer graphical space is represented with known connective structural networks. In polyhedron-speak these structural networks are considered ‘all-space filling’. One can think of these polyhedral networks as 3D tessellation, and conceptually as ‘distilled’ from multi-dimensions known to exist above the primary three.

In his early days, for Acevedo, the use of these geometrical structures were inspired from the notion of the void-matrix. Some Eastern mystics describe this as the universal substrate of being from which all life forms emerge and ultimately return to. The void-matrix metaphor is one of the key concepts discussed in Fritjof Capra’s book The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism [1] The term he uses for it is the Void-Plenum. 

Acevedo first read the The Tao of Physics in 1978-79. It explores the parallels between the description of sub-atomic particle phenomena by Western physicists, and descriptions of reality found in the major forms of Eastern mysticism. 

Acevedo’s graphic visualization of the void matrix in some of his work is achieved by his adoption of various geometrical structures which are detailed in R. Buckminster Fuller’s Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking. [2] [3]. The primary polyhedral net or space-frame for this use is the isotropic vector matrix (IVM). It is an all-space filling network made up of alternating octahedra and tetrahedra. Later on, in Acevedo’s video work this IVM network would often times be distilled to a single screen centered, multivalent ‘node’ called the Cuboctahedron or as Fuller would say the Jitterbug or VE (Vector Equilibrium)


Synergeticism vs Cubism

In the traditional model of pictorial space we are taught that there is figure and ground and emptiness between them. Cubism graphically connects and bridges figure and ground. The underlying structure of ‘things’ is expressed in metaphor by applying a system of rectilinear planar abstraction to the figures or objects and the environment around them. 

Here is another trade off; by virtue of Cubism being Modernist painting, the familiar real-world optical phenomenology codified in Renaissance perspective is dispensed with or extremely down-played, as is the late 19th century’s technologically enabled photographic realism. An exception to this was their occasional use of collage built of real-world detritus. However, one could argue that these painters worked with an abstracted realism based in a orthogonal or rectilinear graphical paradigm as opposed to a triangulated and/or spherical (Synergetics) mapping. 

Given the late 20th century advent of digital photography borne of computer graphic technologies we now have a medium that can operate as a synthesis of painting and photography.

Additionally computer graphics enables a heretofore dynamic and interactive exploration of space as in the evolution of “perception cartography” addressed in the visual arts. This can be tracked for example from Renaissance perspective through to Cubism and beyond - and what is beyond?

As Cubism, symbiotically paralleled Einstein’s Relativity, Acevedo posits that a computer graphic praxis guided by Void Matrix Theory as facilitated by Buckminster Fuller’s spherical geometry is potentially a new school that perhaps might be called Synergeticism.

In Acevedo’s use of computer graphics and the aforementioned polyhedral metaphors, we are presented with a body of work which offers a fresh look at this graphical and perceptual field matrix theory.

Focused and forward looking, Acevedo’s work, while charged with a consistent and vital voice; has evolved in-step with the technological and cultural evolution of his generation, as he whole-heartedly embraced the new tools and language of digital art. 


In the Digital Domain

Acevedo’s first important digital prints were presented as the Ectoplasmic Kitchen series produced in 1987 and exhibited for the first time in an art gallery the following year. 

However the true public debut of the Ectoplasmic Kitchen series was during an outdoor audio visual performance featuring Math Band at the California State University, Los Angeles on September 30, 1987. In this context, Acevedo’s images were projected as 35mm slides.   

From 1985-90 he worked off and on with the PC-based Cubicomp 3D modeling and animation system. The images called Tell Me the Truth and 6.26.27.86 are key examples of his 3D/Targa (TIPS) paint system work from this period.
In 1994 Acevedo adopted the use of Softimage 3D and began his distinct “silver geometry period” producing such works as Skull and Suit on the Phone as well as his underground collaborations with Andy Warhol, associate Billy Name Linich in 1997.

In early 1995 Victor moved to New York City and became a digital artist in residence in the BFA Computer Art Department at the School of Visual Arts. He joined the faculty there in 1997 and moved to the Masters level (MFA) program three years later.

In 1996 he created one of his most well know images called The Lacemaker, which he named after the same-titled painting by Johannes Vermeer (1665). Also in this same year, Acevedo produced a couple of time-based video pieces, that were essentially looped animated CGI polyhedral structures.

Victor: I simply wanted to see what those looked like and what other residual perceptual effects would emerge from watching those geometrical forms in repeating motion.

 

New Directions and Electronic Visual Music

 

Following the natural evolution of his work, in 2007-09 Acevedo shifted his primary attention to producing visual music works. Exploring the implications of Synesthesia*  and Cymatics as well as the use of computer animated geometry based on Buckminster Fuller’s Synergetics, his recent work investigates the intersection of electronic music and audio synthesis as in drone works or glitch, harmonic noise, if you will, and dynamic geometrical structure. Later he began integrating real-time video mixing work-flows into his audio-visual (AV) studio practice. Acevedo has positioned himself inside the genre called Visual Music.* To clarify, this is ‘Synesthetic’ phenomena only as referred to and implied by the tight-sync of motion graphic moments with sonic events on the video time-line.


Recognition: Becoming Known

In 1998 an event that proved a validation of his early (1979-85) traditional media artwork and concepts, Acevedo was one of only 13 artists invited to exhibit work along side Escher’s at the M.C. Escher Centennial Congress in Rome.  Examples of both his traditional and digital art works were presented there. Acevedo exhibited the graphite drawing, Four-fold Rotational Wasp and his early digital print called Ectoplasmic Kitchen. In 1999 Acevedo’s digital image The Lacemaker was featured in the ACM/SIGGRAPH produced video documentary called The Story of Computer Graphics and later (2007) his work was cited in ACM/SIGGRAPH’s digital art history archive initiative.

In 2002 Acevedo’s essay, Space Time with M.C. Escher and R. Buckminster was published in the book Escher’s Legacy: A Centennial Celebration, edited by Doris Schattschneider and Michelle Emmer (Springer-Verlag, 2002).

In 2003 his essay entitled “Why Digital Prints matter” was published in the ACM/SIGGRAPH Conference Art show catalogue and visual proceedings. The Art show that year was called CG03 curated by Michael Wright.

In 2005, the afore mentioned Tell Me the Truth, one of Acevedo’s early 1990s digital art prints was acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, as part of their acquisition of the Patric Prince Computer Art Collection. Scholars agree that it is one of the most important collections of Digital fine art in the world today.

In November 2005, Acevedo was invited to exhibit some of his prints and give a lecture about the development of his work at an international symposium called Synergetics in the Arts at the Isamu Noguchi Museum, in Long Island City, NY. The 2-day event was co-produced by the Synergetic Collaborative (SNEC). Acevedo’s talk, Art of the Void Matrix, addressed the ongoing conceptual  connection between his work and that of R. Buckminster Fuller’s synergetic geometry.

To date, three of Acevedo’s 30x40” archival ink-jet prints have been acquired and entered into the prestigious Anne + Michael Spalter Digital Art Collection. The prints are, The Violist and NYC 83-85 in 2007 and more recently the Sunburst Couple in 2018.

In 2006 through 2013, Acevedo’s work was featured in several art history books. The first of which was called Art of the Digital Age, edited by Bruce Wands (Thames and Hudson 2006) The piece reproduced in the book is called Eric in Orense (2000) and it was also featured in the book’s online and hard-copy promotional announcements. The book is described as “The first major illustrated survey of this exciting, new, and experimental field”. 

Acevedo’s work was discussed at length in an important and influential book called From Technological to Virtual Art, written by art historian Frank Popper, (MIT Press 2007).

His image called Springside Cynthesis and a descriptive blurb about his work was included in Wolf Lieser’s Digital Art (Ullmann/Tandem, 2009) and also in the large format ‘coffee table’ edition this book, retitled The World of Digital Art (h.f.   Ullman, 2010)

Acevedo’s image 4D Memory Cluster was reproduced in the book Moving Innovation: A History of Computer Animation (Tom Sito, MIT Press, 2013)

Victor Acevedo founded his company ACEVEDOMEDIA in 2010 to produce Music Videos and Electronic Visual Music works  as well as Educational & Documentary projects. Future plans include Dome projections and VR/AR.

Education:

Art Center College of Design • Fine Art Major

Studio Arts Los Angeles, CA • Digital Post Production

Awards & Nominations:

Acevedo was awarded a medal of recognition by the M.C. Escher Foundation, in appreciation of his work documenting the 1998 Centennial M.C. Escher Congress in Rome, Italy.

In 1987, Acevedo was awarded a small production grant by the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency to produce a banner for Grand Hope Park DTLA