From geometric to organic, the stunning creations of Daniel Harper

Please introduce yourself

Hi, my name is Daniel. I’m a designer and digital artist based in the UK focusing on 3D design and particle simulations. 

How would you best describe your style?

My style usually varies from geometric design to more organic looking pieces involving natural elements – I often try to combine the two approaches through some kind of simulation. I really like exploring how the two concepts can co-exist or transition from one to the other. 

How did you get into art?

I’ve had an interest in art from a young age, I was really into comics and animation and used to love drawing but unfortunately at the time studying art wasn’t really an option. Later in life I pursued film making and really enjoyed the post-production side such as editing. From there I began to provide live visuals for club nights and spent some years as a VJ. I started to create content using 3D software and eventually made my way into motion design and 3D animation.

Who or what are some of your major influences?

A lot of my early influences were from comic books, computer game art and animation. I grew up in the 90’s and the art style of pop-culture at the time was very unique, drawing influences from Anime, Manga, industrial design, rave culture and pastiches from the 1960’s and 70’s. It all seemed like a crazy melting pot and a huge influence on me growing up. I remember being obsessed with the artwork from the PlayStation game Wipeout – and then later in life discovering it was produced by an amazing studio based close to where I grew up called The Designers Republic, who had produced all the artwork for some of my favourite artists such as Aphex Twin.

I still really appreciate those early influences – I love comic artists such as Moebius and also Daniel Warren Johnson who have an amazing technical style but merge it with a really dynamic and fluid approach giving this awesome sense of action and surrealism. I really like artists such as Eduardo Paolozzi who again mixes styles through these great collage pieces and surrealist sculptures. Architecture and nature always play a big role – I’m big fan of brutalism and post-industrial cities like the one I grew up in – how they’re either preserved or become dilapidated and lost to time, overrun by plants and weeds. 

Can you tell us about your working process?

I work as a Senior Designer at a studio based in Glasgow called Revenant, so a lot of my time is spent working on some really great and challenging projects there. I have a huge backlog of ideas and techniques that I want to complete so between family and work I have to be very strict with managing my time, which I usually completely fail at! A lot of my personal work will spin off from R&D or something I’m researching at the time such as fluid simulations for example. I’ll usually work late into the evening on a personal project I’m trying to complete which probably isn’t healthy but I enjoy the solitude of late nights and is probably the time when I get some of my best work done, at least that’s what I tell myself. 

What motivates you to create?

I think the industry in which digital artists, designers and animators work is a very challenging one – it usually demands we constantly keep up to date with the latest software and techniques, so there’s this constant pressure to learn new things and up your skillset all the time, with the art sometimes feeling like a by-product. It’s definitely a motivational factor for me anyway. Other than that I’ve always just created stuff, it feels like second nature, and when I’m not getting that little ego boost from making something and sending it out into the world I get a bit agitated and grouchy – I think it’s just good for my mental health. 

What is your studio like?

My studio is based at my home on the outskirts of Manchester, I recently moved from the city into the countryside so it’s quite idyllic but sometimes I miss the hustle and bustle of the city. I usually have a couple of PCs rendering at one time so it gets very hot in here, I need a fan and some more artwork on the walls – it’s a work in progress. 

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on some exciting projects with the awesome team at Revenant – one we just released called Iron Sail which you can check out on the website:

Personal projects – I’m currently researching dynamic plant and tree simulations in both X-particles and Houdini, as well as a lot of fluid simulations. I’m hoping to return to the NFT space soon with some new artwork, and I’m gradually getting back into the world of live visuals, which is a lot of fun! Real-time environments and visuals in Unreal engine is something I’m also looking at – the list is huge! 


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