Ferrofluids and Ink are the new Paint and Canvas

Eric Bellefeuille can pinpoint the moment his creative mindset shifted: it was taking up traditional photography during college, followed by hundreds of hours in the darkroom, that bred in him the firm conviction that his career would revolve around fine arts and graphic design. That he’s a self-confessed pattern seeker comes as no surprise to anyone who’s seen Metalliferous Streams, a mesmerising audio-visual ballet of ferrofluids in combination with high-quality inks and Pelican, Waterman, and Liquitex acrylics.

“My latest experiments focus on combining analogue and digital,” Eric tells us, which helps him in “maintaining an interesting symbiosis between digital and analogue creative processes.” The footage was taken on a Nikon D7100 and a Nikon micro lens, and the ferrofluid was manipulated experimentally using an electro-conductive plate and magnets. Sensitive to the slightest twitch of the magnet, ferrofluid can be pulled with the right amount of dexterity into chaotic patterns or perfectly harmonious composition of drops and curves seen in Eric’s video. The project took two days in total – one day of shooting, and one day of colour correction and video editing.


Quick work, for Eric – who’s a bit of a perfectionist. “I always prefer to have extra footage to give me enough creative room for the final selection,” he shares with us; a hot tip for any creative. That, and patience: “it requires both timing, proper amount of ink/acrylic and water vs ferrofluid and dexterity.” And, anyone fall out of love with maths in high school? Eric will have you back on board in no time.

THE PLUS: How did you arrive at ferrofluid and inks for Metalliferous Fluids?
Eric Bellefeuille:
Through the years my passion for abstraction and chaotic creative process has shaped how I see things. For this project I did a lot of research and eventually ended up intrigued by fluid physics and chemistry. Ferrofluid was the first in line on my creative agenda, and this won’t be last time I work with this material.
TP: You’ve been inspired by fractals and pattern systems – have you always been mathematically minded?
One thing I love to play with is taking something that is mathematically perfect, and using it to create something ‘out of this world’, chaotic and unique – such as manipulating Mandelbrot fractals. I also enjoy playing for countless hours in the  library to get something unusual and beautiful.

TP: Having worked in the gaming industry before, what is exciting you most about the visuals being used there right now?
The video game industry has grown a lot in the last decade, technologically speaking. This field of expertise has been exponentially growing, and at the moment there are endless possibilities as to what can be achieved visually with the proper creative mindset.
TP: What does creativity mean to you?
For me creation is about learning – I always give myself the freedom to either succeed or to fail. Either is fine, as long I learn something from the process itself.

TP: Any tips for getting your creativity flowing?
Always keep an “out of the box” creative mindset. It’s important to keep up with the the current digital trends, but one should also look at the experimental theories out there. Creativity is a muscle that needs to be worked on constantly.