Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer recalls first experimenting with video games at age four, repeatedly playing the same two games on his Nintendo Entertainment System console.

His curiosity for 3D imaging and manipulation began when he started working with photography. He took a particular interest in how the medium effects the way people see the world in a material and digital sense.

“I’ve always had an ambivalent relationship to video games and photography and was interested in unpacking how they might function in similar ways. How do they allow us to create these worlds of images within which we might find purpose?” Nicholas says.

The multidisciplinary artist investigates 3D representations and the connections they generate with their viewers. His practice is particularly interested in how video games and 3D programming have lives beyond a computer game itself. 

Fragile Fantasy, UNSW Galleries. Image credit Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer

Fragile Fantasy, UNSW Galleries. Image credit Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer

Nicholas’s experimental and acclaimed work is being exhibited at UNSW Galleries. Fragile Fantasy explores 3D imagery and investigates the topic with an emphasis on historical photographic processes and 3D imaging. The artworks explore what occurs when we create, view, and think about 3D images, and how they may affect us.

The exhibition brings together a collection of the artist’s photographs combining digital and analogue processes. Fragile Fantasy features characters and objects that have been hacked from video games and recreated into 3D modelling software.

“Like any process, it [Fragile Fantasy] came about through experimentation,” Nicholas says. “The process of hacking, using open source and fan made software, involved learning a lot of new skills. So did the reconstruction of the hacked 3D assets in commercial 3D imaging software.”

“I also experimented with how to photograph and print 3D renders, settling on large camera formats, and work with analogue darkroom techniques.”

Nicholas’s recent practice shifts its investigation to 3D imaging technologies and pays attention to photographic frameworks, examining how this is an essential characteristic of an 3D image.

Flowers Blooming. Image credit: Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer

Nicholas says his time at UNSW in the lead up to the exhibition has given him the opportunity to experiment and develop his practice.

“UNSW gave me the space, resources and facilities to experiment and allowed me to take risks. It gave me the space to look at, think about and refine my work. My supervisors gave me a lot of support and guidance that helped me to articulate and think about my practice in ways I haven’t before.

“It was also great having an engaged and critical postgraduate cohort to talk about my work and receive feedback from.”

For emerging UNSW artists, Nicholas reiterates the importance of finding a community and being ‘scrappy’.

“Have one-night shows in your lounge room, rent a warehouse with ten friends and live and work in it. Make your own opportunities, even if only three of your friends see your work.

“Document it, put it on your CV. People will be far more impressed than if you had work in a group show at a gallery.”

Fragile Fantasy continues at UNSW Galleries until June 1.

Learn more about the work of Nicholas Aloisio-Shearer at his UNSW Galleries Artist Talk on June 1.