Sometimes Beauty Is Surface-Deep

Russian born graphic designer and artist Ruslan Khasanov captures and glorifies the rapid disintegration of moving liquid in his latest video, La La La. Developing on two of his previous works, Odyssey and Lucidity, Ruslan shot 4k footage totalling more than 100GB with his camera to capture the essence and fluidity of oil, water and paint. With previous clients including GQ, Wired, and Adobe, he’s an artist whose flair for kaleidoscopic visuals and his expertise in what he calls ‘digital abstract expressionism’ has put him in high demand. In this respect, La La La doesn’t disappoint.

“I express strong emotions in the experiments, when I free my mind, allowing the wave to carry me away from the reality.”

The video’s musical accompaniment, Belle Folie’s ‘The Word’, perfectly complements the mesmerising motion of the liquids as they spill, merge and collide into an iridescent concoction. From dreamy, entrancing lyrics to powerful drumbeats that pound to the burst of ink droplets as they hit the surface, the video is shrewdly crafted, making for an infatuating experience.


We caught up with Ruslan to find out more about his mesmerising technicolor venture.

The Plus: You use effects like this a lot – what attracted you to this process in the first place?
Ruslan Khasanov:
I’ve been gradually experimenting, developing my style by adding new ingredients. If in the Pacific Light I used primary colour inks (magenta, white, blue, and yellow), then in Odyssey I used Metallic paint with glitter, and in Sweet Dreams I shot in 4K and experimented with montage; in NEON 4K I used fluorescent paint. La La La is a logical continuation of all these experiments.


TP: So what do you like about the technique?
The result is always unpredictable and unique. These small bubbles that are formed by mixing oil, water and paint, evoke associations with the cosmos, with tiny planets, and you watch how they originate, collide with each other, and are finally absorbed by the ocean face breaking into rainbow spots.


TP: Could you take us through the process of making the video?
Basic ingredients: water, oil and paint. I used acrylic metallic paint, and mixed it all in a black dish. Lighting is an important element here, and it took a considerable amount of time to set up. It is very important to shoot the material as much as you can, and then some, because it is often happens that even really good takes don’t give enough footage. It took me one month to montage the final La La La video.


TP: That’s a whole lot of footage…
When you use new materials you never know how the final result will look, so you must be very careful to not to miss anything. That’s the beauty of experiments. The most difficult, and at the same time the most fun, part of starting a new project is to create something fresh.


TP: Where someone else sees an oil slick, you see art- do you think your work makes you look at the world differently?
In fact, I have seen a lot of photos of oil slicks on Instagram and Tumblr, even among people who far from the arts. People love rainbows, they have an obvious beauty. But sure, visual artists look at the world differently; our eyes are always hungry and curious. It’s like musicians in search of a new melody or dancers in search of a new step. Сreative people are always looking for something, because inspiration can come from anywhere.


TP: How did the collaboration with Belle Folie come about?
First I shot the material, and then I looked for music. Music affects the rhythm of the video, no doubt, so when I choose music I keep in mind the video that I have shot; I draw a sketch in my head to know that the track precisely suits the mood of the entire project.


TP: Have you looked into other unusual materials you’d like to work with in the future?
I love working with materials that surround us in everyday life. Like oil, paint, ice, dust, blood, wax, soap, sunbeams, and so on. My motto: beauty is everywhere. Of course, it makes no sense to sit locked up and work only with what you have, it is very important to be open to what is ne
w and unusual.


TP: As a digital artist, how do you feel about the benefits science can bring to art?
Undoubtedly, art has not been able to move forward in the world without science. Science helps to find new ways and means of expression, and without art it would be a dull world. These are two completely opposite things, like left and right, but science and art complement each other, bringing harmony to the world.