Sebastian Gladstone’s digital paintings are like miniature island utopias—shiny, colorful, and bright, but with something uncanny looming in the distance. These large-scale pieces are filled with 3D renders of amusement parks, serene corporate buildings, and waterfall screensavers that feel like perfect dives into unfinished worlds.
Unlike most digital paintings, Gladstone’s works are printed onto brushed Dibond aluminum with UV flatbed printers, a material that gives the pieces a dull reflectivity that references the sterile sheen of a MacBook Pro. When hung, the digital paintings are mounted onto shadow frames that give an IRL drop shadow effect and echo Gladstone’s collaged imagery of the digital favorites—from gradients to Gothic typefaces.
BURN3DDDDD, Image courtesy of the artist
Gladstone began making these digital paintings while he was working in Los Angeles during the winter season. He said he was without a studio space, so he started to experiment with digital paintings. He tells The Creators Project, “It almost started out of necessity to continue to make work, but as soon as I started I couldn’t stop, and worked on them nonstop for about six months.” He mentioned that he even had to buy a new computer because each piece takes up about 2gb of hard drive space.
Photobook 1, Image courtesy of the artist
When asked about the process of making these paintings, Gladstone responded, “I scour the internet for imagery for hours, typically using tag words that relate to the piece I am working on. For example in Photobook 1, the pattern across the page actually says ‘serenity’ in a symbol font, so then I would do advanced image searches for images related to that. I then go into Photoshop and start putting things together. Its very similar to my oil painting technique in that it’s very intuitive and I don’t know what things are going to end up looking like. They get to a certain point where I stop and have to not look at them for a little while, and will maybe come back a few weeks to a month later and see how I feel then.”
The Giving Tree installation, Image courtesy of the artist
In the process of diving in and out of an internet k-hole when making this work, one could imagine how these painting are “reinterpreting the suburban American Dream.” Raised in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, endless strip malls and the promising idea of Hollywood ties Gladstone’s twisted and surreal imagery together as each piece in the series outshines the next.
Aside from being a working artist, Gladstone is also the the founder of the biannual art magazine, Foundations. This spring, Gladstone will show a new series of oil paintings in a small movie theater in Los Angeles.
Stay updated with all of Gladstone’s work on his website.