Erica Nockels // Glass Cage

I'm a Sci-Fy nut, I'll admit that and the depiction of robotics and cybernetics have always been something I've been fascinated with. Capturing that within art is tricky though, in my opinion. It's the difference between Bicentennial Man and Ex-Machina, the difference between the Aerosmith album cover 'Just Press Play' and the Chris Cunningham's music video for Bjork's 'All is Full of Love'.

Erica Nockels is an excruciatingly talented songwriter, artist and violinist. She had been a person of interest to me for a few months before I finally met up with her to discuss working together on an image.

I wanted to create a beautifully mechanical image for years but it wasn't until Erica mentioned she was writing a song with the then working title of 'Glass Cage', that I began to plot this image. She described her life on tour as being a little difficult at times and how she would experience periods where she felt no more valuable than a mobile commodity and that this was the subject of her song. 

For me, it's important to render a calm, stillness when representing a machine and purge all of the frenetic, muscle twitching, nervous energy of the human condition - a serenity impossible to a person. I loved the idea of depicting an image of a beautiful robot in 'stand-by' mode - in that pristine period of quiet and the idea of placing Erica inside of a glass case - to reference Erica's song title - seemed like a natural decision. 

This image is a blend of photography, 3D rendering and digital matte painting. Erica is photographed, the glass case and machine 'cranks' are 3D renderings and all of the joints and seems along Erica's body were digitally painted by hand.