Floating Heads & Vaporwave Trends

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

Getting creative in my spare time often looks like opening up Photoshop and hopping onto Google search or Pinterest to find some inspiration. I love getting random and wacky with the Adobe Creative Cloud, taking photography and graphic based art forms, like illustration and layout/design then mixing them together to make the kind of information overload you see on Pinterest when searching for anything tagged 'design'!

With the world on lockdown and gaps arising in my work schedule, it was once again time to muck around with imagery and art to see if I could make something worthwhile. Popping to my Lightroom catalogue, I dove into a selection of photos from a trip to Turkey a year or so ago, and remembered a portrait I wanted to merge with landscape imagery to create a 'double exposure'. The shot was taken at quite a unique angle, close to the subject and nicely carved with a hair light from the setting sun.

But then came the issue - finding a suitable picture to blend with it. I'd played around in the past, taking mountainous horizons and trying to surgically attach them onto the back of my friends cranium, but it just wasn't drawing the eye on a path through the picture, at least, not one that leaves tingles on the spine.

Then I found one image I had taken of an alley way in Bodrum. The foreground was lined with scooters that lead the eye back round the walls of the city to whatever urban expanse ran present. The picture needed some reshaping, but it worked. I flipped it, ended up removing a lamp post with the trusty clone stamp tool and spent several hours scrolling through Pinterest for ideas on how to blend the worlds of the two photos into one cleverly. Due to the way I composed the pictures, the model's sunglasses cross over the sky, which gave me the space to incorporate them into the residential scene by hanging on them a flag from another image I took.

After I'd made the two one, I was left with an interesting, but still just 'photographic' piece of art - Back to the internet I went! I found some excellent creations of the Vaporwave and Memphis design movements, these used distorted and satirical images of Roman statues - and (oddly specifically) the Mona Lisa too! - which I thought were pretty cool. Maybe there was a way of taking that style of head imagery/design and implementing it?

After a while, I'd given my photogenic friend a 3 dimensional presence, grafting his torso onto concrete from a stock photo of a Roman statue's physique. The wonderful Unsplash and Pexels are definitely due credit! Then, it was just a case of leaving his head amongst the clouds, his hair below the pigeons (stock website credit bells ring once again) and voila...

This type of art takes a lot of lassoing, 'pen-tooling' (yes, I just made that a word), brushing and masking, but it's results speak for themselves. I've been interested in drawing intermittently throughout my life, and I have to say, that practise doesn't just help you understand where Photoshop tools get their names, it gives you a place to apply your muscle memory and materialise ideas that paper and graphite lack the dimensions to facilitate.

If you are interested in what I do, whether it be one of the creations shaken over and paid for, or made while sitting in my pyjamas and eating peanut butter straight out of the jar, make sure to follow me on Instagram, like my Facebook page and send any questions into email cyber-space at:


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