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Nude Robot - The Weirder, The Better

Words:

Edd Norval
August 6, 2021

Nude Robot found fame for posting nude robots, at least, for his short videos of grotesque and bizarre forms haunting the streets of the US. His incredibly strange CGI renderings have drawn the attention of the likes of Kanye West and Young Thug, for whom the director has worked on videos for, allowing him to bring his unique brand to a larger audience.

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A VFX specialist, Nude Robot creates works that are as alien as they are human and spiritual. These humanoid forms move in a manner usually reserved for the possessed in horror films, awkward and unpredictable. Nonetheless, his works are innately human, showing true connection to emotion and the land - both its flora, fauna and skies - a recurring motif in a lot of his works that can best be viewed on his Instagram where the artist is able to broadcast his latest projects and visual experiments. 


Indelibly linked to popular culture, Nude Robot - as Sam Shea is best known - has a distinctly urban aesthetic. It’s where most of his features (and creatures) are based. Distinctive for their movements, where arms, legs and bodies all crush and warp as if somebody has just pulled the plug on the Earth’s supply of oxygen and gravity. A Nude Robot creation is nothing if not distinctive. 


So distinctive, in fact, that Young Thug wanted his trees to do the same thing as he danced and rapped through the woods for his ‘Chanel’ video. Also his boulders. Oh, and giant snakes crawling around the forest. That’s what Nude Robot adds - an air of unreality. The forms are all recognisable - they’re things we’ve seen before, yet under his control, they contort into something entirely different, as enchanting as they are unsettling. 

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Most recently on his Instagram, the artist has reanimated Gustav Doré’s ‘Dante and Virgil in the Ninth Circle of Hell’. In many ways, this seems like quite a natural fit. After all, if one is to imagine a contemporary reinterpretation of this image, in the vein of Doré’s visionary imagination, it would be hellish in a way that the original was (by virtue of its paint and canvas medium) too limited to fully embody. 


His animations deconstruct the way we think about the solid and the essential, about the permanent and the ephemeral. As instantly as a figure stands solid and sturdy, it begins fading away to a disintegrating plume of particle-y smoke. 


It’s easy to see why the designer is in demand. He has a sense of imagination that is out-of-line with almost all others. It’s half child-like in its fascination with the odd and half completely obsessed with the craft and detail of the endless possibilities granted to him by his software. Where does he go from here? The question should be - how weird is he willing to get? One guarantee is that we will be seeing much more of his bizarre characters. 

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