Hayden Soule

HexMap, 2019

Working with the medium of moving images generated by a computer I started to think about fluctuations in our environment, the connection of the digital world to the organic one, and the impact our technology has made. Working with these themes I used organic movement in the scene in the form of the flow of water. I wanted to make a comment on the lack of connection between our digital and organic worlds and to do so I mirrored the natural world in a simulated digital reproduction. As the water sloshes over the hard edges of the hexagonal tiles they begin to erode, slowly at first but eventually the entire island is underwater. This slow process is a reflection on the ways in which the production of our digital worlds has caused our natural one to decay. The unnatural form of the hexagonal tiles emphasizes the digital environment while the decay and erosion reflect organic life. The objective of this project is to spread awareness of how digital landscapes can cause real harm to our natural world; it is meant as a reflection on climate change through a digital lens.

Q&A with Hayden Soule

Q. Could you tell us about any current projects that you are working on?

A. I am currently working on a pixel art style fantasy video game for my thesis. The project was too large to complete in one year so I have segmented it and I am focusing on the barebones of the video game. The thesis project focuses on the environmental art assets, as well as some of the initial coding to start generating the terrain for the world.

Q. Describe your project in its current state and what you’d like it’s final outcome to be.

A. Currently I am working on starting the programming side of this project, which is going to involve many hours sitting in front of the cool blue glow of my monitor late at night. I hope that eventually, with enough hours put in, I will be able to turn this into a real game.

Q. How did you reach the conceptualization of your current project?

A. I actually had no idea I was going to be working on this until I was already a couple of weeks into another project; I got bored of that one and abandoned it. This project started because I knew that I wanted to do something with fantasy as it has always been a big part of my life since child, and I finally had the opportunity to work on a large scale project.

Q. Are there any artists that have inspired this work? If so, why?

A. This work has been heavily inspired by people like Eric Barone, the creator of Stardew Valley, who has been a huge inspiration to me. Barone’s dedication to working on his passion project and putting in the time to single handedly create an incredible video game, and artwork is incredibly admirable.

Q. Describe any challenges you have faced and any solutions that you have found to be helpful in the creative process.

A. One of the biggest challenges I am facing with this project is motivation. I generally like to work on smaller scale projects than this, and this project has the looming fear of it potentially taking nearly a decade to finish. I think to circumvent this I am just taking it one step at a time, focusing on it piece by piece. I also find it helpful to have lots of side projects going on at the same time!

Q. Have you had any success in getting your work out into the world? Do you have suggestions for other artists?

A. The work that I’ve been able to get out into the world has been my commercial contracts. I think it can be a little bit disheartening to realize that you may not be able to show your personal work right away as an emerging artist, but there is always a way to imbue your own aesthetics into a project, even when working for a company with very strict brand guidelines.

Work In Progress:

Winter Thesis, 2020