Underground Russian Artist Intersperses Everyday Scenes with Neon Hues

Russian digital artist, photographer and DJ, Slava Semeniuta, who goes by the name of Local Preacher, has been creating scintillating images which explore everyday life scenes with a mixture of neon hues. Slava’s work aims to transcend Earth, and evoke the cosmos.

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To the soundtrack of ambient, IDM, techno and African rhythms, Slava has built a cult following online with his unique take on the world, all with a humble pair of tools – a Canon EOS 600D and Photoshop.Leaf through the cosmos with his recent work on portraiture and cloud formations.

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We sat down with the cosmic traveller for a chat.

THE PLUS: You’ve been turning your models into cosmic creatures. Do you believe there’s life beyond Earth?
Slava Semeniuta:
I am sure that life is everywhere human imagination can reach. I’m not sure that life outside the earth is as we see the cinema – most likely it looks more abstract.

TP: When did you begin experimenting with colour and what’s your approach?
SS:
I started experimenting with colour as a kid in art school. I imagined different incredible places and strange creatures. I began experimenting with colour in photography after I got a UV lamp in my hands. I noticed that its rays are particularly visible fluorescent materials, including paint.

One day I helped my friend with a music video. I drew the words of the song on their bodies with fluorescent markers. I sprayed fluorescent paint on the girl’s face with a clean toothbrush. Now in my projects, I use digital processing in Photoshop using a graphics tablet. Combining UV lighting with digital processing always produces great results.

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TP: What inspires you to create?
SS:
I am inspired by many things, especially music and nature. Most often, I just take pictures of what I like, and then work on the computer to refine it. Sometimes I see an image in my head and during the shooting process I create an atmosphere that is most like the original idea in my head. I take pictures at a rented apartment in Sochi, where I have been living for three years. Under the ceiling, I have thin cable ties to which I attach all the necessary reflectors, lighting equipment and backgrounds.

TP: Do you listen to music when you make art?
SS:
I mostly listen to electronic music, more precisely these directions: ambient, idm, drone, dungeon techno, select future garage, solar and slow instrument hip hop and much more.

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TP: What’s the story behind the cloud pieces? Were you up in a plane?
SS:
I was not on the plane while I was photographing the clouds in the NACREOUS METAMORPHOSIS series. I photographed these clouds while at home using a zoom lens. Near the Black Sea where I am now. Here very beautiful nature and incredible lush clouds, as in Hayao Miyazaki cartoons.

TP: How do you balance your art with your life as a DJ? Does music feed into your art?
SS:
I’ve not been working as a DJ that often lately, mostly I’m doing photography and video.
I like to play music for people in a quiet environment, most often this is the daytime when you can relax under hot sunlight or during sunset. I very rarely I play at night events. I’m ready to go for this only if the atmosphere of the party will have a rest than a meat grinder of consciousness. I play music that maximises my inner state.

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TP: What’s it like working as an artist in Russia?
SS:
In Russia, it is difficult to make money doing something new and unusual, for example, what I do.
I had only one customer from Russia who wants to use my style, Pepsi Russia. Basically, my customers are beyond the borders of this large and beautiful country of Russia, like Apple Music, Adobe and many others. To live more comfortably I work as a DJ, graphic designer and graphic artist.

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Cosmos of Colour
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