Karborn: Temporal Expressions of the Past, Present & Future

John Karborn is a London-based mixed-media artist who blends original techniques and bizarre mediums to explore mythology, science and human nature, interwoven with his own unique sense of chaos and harmony; resulting in striking, thought-provoking artworks.

The Evolution of Karborn: From Pure Digital Art to Multifaceted Mixed Media

With an ever-evolving repertoire of original techniques and a preference for unconventional processes, Karborn has been sharing his art online since 2001, constantly motivated by the ever-changing potential of technology mixed with art as well as constantly seeking new approaches to art.

As a result of this approach, his artistic career reflects his adaptability and resilience, where his practice has gradually grown beyond purely digital art to include traditional fine-art techniques such as silkscreen printing, sculpture, painting, and photography. A transition that opened up new possibilities, giving rise to his signature mixed-media practice.

By incorporating gifs into his work, Karborn exploits their primitive charm to create lo-fi works and stop-frame animations, along with utilizing analog CRT monitors to convey a vintage authentic feel to his body of work. 

Mirroring Evolution: An Eclectic Blend of Past, Present & Future

Karborn ‘s work is an eclectic blend of the past and the present; merging fragments of history with contemporary reality to formulate visions of the future, his creations mirror his belief in the constant evolution of art and its mediums.

This philosophical approach, coupled with his unique ability to explore mythology, science, and human nature through his work, renders a distinctively poetic view of the world.

As a result, his work often covers a wide range of complex subjects, such as overpopulation, technology, mythology, and human nature, engaging the viewer not only visually but also consciously.

Karborn ‘s portfolio includes a wide variety of exemplary works and collaborations.

Among these, it is worth citing “Evidence of Time Travel” (2013) that stands as a testament to his creative genius – a vast collection of still photographs, animated gifs, and music-scored films built on unique analogue machines. As well as the 21 science-fiction illustrations he produced for the New York Times’ “Opinion-Editorial From the Future” series in 2020.

Karborn consciously hybridises his own strain(s) of pixel painting, pointillism, digital and analogue craftsmanship to create his conceptual works. These disciplines harmonize together to build a distinctly poetic view of the world in works such as “THE ALLEYS OF YOUR MIND”.

Whereas “THE WALKING MAN” represents a prime example of his lo-fi, hypermedia approach. A shimmering-midnight stop-frame animated gif built in C4D + PS; finally 100s of frames are cooked-down and photographed individually on an old analogue CRT monitor.

And as cited above, the themes of overpopulation and technology to the downright bizarre are best exemplified in works like “ZAP!!!“, an animated gif exploding with the terrors and pleasures of temporal displacement — summoned up through a chaotic analogue kit involving CRTs and wild video synthesizers.

This list of creations has one thing in common, the hallmark of his craft: rawness and authenticity.

Unlike most digital creations, which tend to be too clean and controlled, Karborn’s pieces are beautifully imperfect, often carrying a sense of time embedded in them, as if dust and history have collected in the crevices of the art. 

The Art of Change: Karborn ‘s Continuous Reinvention in the Face of Technological Evolution

Looking ahead, Karborn continues to be excited about the ever-evolving potential of technology and the arts, seeking new ideas and innovative ways to work. With its diverse techniques, media, and themes, his artistic output embodies his conviction that change can be transformative and that technology and art can offer endless possibilities.

The future of his craft promises a relentless evolution and reinvention, every one of his creations revealing stories of time, reflections of humanity, and above all, the embodiment of ceaseless change.

In Karbon ’s words, “Change is vital. Even the work itself will change over time anyway. Without change, you’re finished.” 

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