The digital art darling is making a name offline.
Years ago, Jacolby Satterwhite, who was featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, abandoned oil and canvas in favor of 3-D software and digital cameras, resulting in sexually coded, absurdist narratives featuring avatars, violence, and bodily fluids—not to mention himself, sometimes nude and often vogueing or hip-hop dancing. His latest work, En Plein Air, includes videos and photographic prints that attempt to capture the authenticity of real-life interactions. “It’s about observing my personal archive of people, places, and things, and making poetic, moving visuals from that,” says the Brooklyn-based 29-year-old, whose diverse influences range from hits by the rapper Trina to the creative output of his mother, who quieted her schizophrenia by drawing, and made home recordings of herself singing R&B and gospel. Satterwhite has also been assembling a multipart “data collage” for a commission by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which will include an hour-long film with a soundtrack of his mother’s vocals layered with beats by his friend Nick Weiss, of the electronic-pop group Teengirl Fantasy. “Connecting spaces that don’t normally converse is how I yield an honest, unpretentious form.”