Daniel Aristizábal’s path to becoming a designer, animator, and art director was anything but straightforward. In spite of his impressive client list with names like Adidas, Samsung, Adobe and Coach, it was completely by chance that he first found his way into his career. “Design was the last thing on my mind,” Daniel shares with us. There were other things that he had his eyes on at the time: filmmaking, history, and journalism, to name a few. The connecting thread that ties these wildly different fields together? Daniel points out that it’s his love of storytelling. “Words have been my tools for getting by in life,” he tells us. Yet after having dropped out of a journalism degree (“I got bored pretty quickly,” Daniel recalls), he had a chance encounter with design and was immediately drawn to it. It was a new medium of self expression for Daniel, but his main motivation – conveying a narrative – remained.

Daniel Aristizábal digital artist and art director

Daniel Aristizábal digital artist and art director

Telling all stories, both real and unreal

“I feel that more than being a good designer or artist, I am a far stronger storyteller,” Daniel shares with High on Design. His works use bold and skillfully-crafted 3D imagery to tell moody, sometimes uneasy stories. In an animated loop titled “What Is a Selfie?”, a hand repeatedly throws an eyeball at a mirror. As the eyeball hits the glass, there’s a brief moment where we see the eyeball’s reflection in the mirror, making it into a pair of two identical eyes, but the illusion doesn’t last long. The eyeball quickly bounces back into the hand’s grip – and then back to the mirror once more. In other projects, Daniel visually conjures up abstract emotional states, such as searching for inspiration, or recounts stories as complex and unfathomable as the creation of the universe.

Daniel’s 3D works, hyper-digital and hyper-realistic, lure viewers into an otherworldly reality. This connects back to another age-old passion of this Colombian designer: quantum physics, an infatuation of his since a very early age. His designs break free from basic physical laws and other laws of nature. In his dark, dreamlike landscapes, pink bubbles and golden honeydew burst into existence out of stone, and a piece of cake can take on the beating of your heart. With his intentionally photorealistic visuals and motion graphics, Daniel’s designs stretch and bend the notion of what we consider to be real.

 

Daniel Aristizábal digital artist and art director

Daniel Aristizábal digital artist and art director

Overcoming creative block

For a prolific and successful creative, Daniel speaks openly of a period in which he was struggling with a lengthy creative block. “At first I was exhausted and overworked, but didn’t pay much attention to it,” he recalls. “I just kept going until it finally hit me: If I didn’t stop to recharge and enjoy life, my work would not recover.” Daniel stresses the importance of creating new experiences in order to reignite the muses – even trying out out a new culinary dish, with unfamiliar flavors, could help. “My mind works better when it’s aiming to discover things. That’s when the creativity starts pouring in, as if by gravity,” he says as the true physics fan that he is. Apart from exploring new territories, Daniel also recommends other methods for overcoming creative block and sparking your enthusiasm anew: visiting museums, leafing through magazines, and eyeing great fashion, among others.

Daniel Aristizábal digital artist and art director

Daniel Aristizábal digital artist and art director

Down the digital rabbit hole

Daniel’s portfolio website, much like his work, is dark. With a black background and white type, there are no gallery or project pages to help us navigate – it’s just a long-scrolling homepage on which the projects keep appearing one after the other as we dive in further. For Daniel, this (almost) infinite scroll is one of his favorite features on his new website. It’s easy to see why, as it creates a feeling of a very personal stream of consciousness. As for his future projects, Daniel hopes to be able to incorporate live action and VR in his work. Yet, while venturing into these new creative fields would be a much welcomed endeavor, this designer’s priorities are clear. It’s something much simpler than talent or expertise that Daniel values most: “Be nice to everyone,” he concludes, “nobody likes an arrogant douche.”

Daniel Aristizábal digital artist and art director

Daniel Aristizábal digital artist design portfolio
Daniel Aristizábal’s online design portfolio.

Ready to defy gravity? Head over to Daniel Aristizábal’s Wix website.