Saul Villegas is a traditional painter who focuses his research on optics and interdisciplinary approaches to bridge gaps between art and science. Using photography and digital design, he enhances illustrations and 3D objects to create immersive experiences in virtual environments, resulting in mixed media interactive artworks. His primary objective is to work with university-wide departments on collaborative projects that foster academic discovery.
Vulnerability Vulture Sphere, 2021
Mixed media 3D object
Deep-Sea Denizen Creature in half dome, 2021
Mixed media 3D object
Speculative Futures, 2020–2021
Mixed media 3D virtual experience
Visit the Speculative Futures virtual hub
Speculative Futures: An alternative present is a mixed media project focused on reconstructing the still image through computer editing programs. The revisualization of imagery in our minds captivates new ways of understanding the material presented. Using 2D photographs, video projections, and 3D objects, the stylization of imagery transforms from a still into an object––the moving image and scene environment, through collaboration with Hawaiʻi Undersea Research Lab (HURL) and the Institute of Marine Sciences, THI, DSC, and the DARC at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Working closely with Marine Biologist Researchers at UCSC to create an Art and Science project interpretation was inspirational for this exhibition’s adoption.
The present exhibition is an effort to create an inter disciplinarian community based on creative practice and research to develop a new awareness of the digital mediums used in the art world. Communicating information in various ways becomes a way for artists to present their research via the internet. Mozilla Hubs is an alternative exhibition space for experiencing projections and mocking in-person environments created for artistic expression. In contrast, while remaining technology-based and non-physical, these efforts are extensions to digital archives and art communities, drawing upon the effort to bridge art and science. Analyzing digital formulas for creating virtual studio spaces is an experimental approach to archiving ideas in collage form and virtual scenic participation. The university libraries and knowledge-based systems are investigated and presented in alternative views, holding information designed for the human experience. How can we create similar systems for academic consumption while fostering our voices and artistic expression? Challenging how we traditionally cross-pollinate philosophical inquiry into these structures, the interdisciplinary aesthetics of various mediums lead to confrontation on the institution and how creating a more diverse way of seeing can implement academic growth and discovery.
The 2021 Irwin Scholars are Abby McPhillips, Caroline Alfonso, Cassidy Skillman, Chloe Calhoun, Connor Alexander, Kalen Meeks, Klytie Xu, Louisa Balderas, Lucinda Gold, Saul Villegas, Sydney Geisinger, and Zoe Forsyth.