Klara Vollstaedt explores deeply human questions of intimacy and identity via the “inhuman” medium of the digital. The Canadian artist is medium agnostic—dipping into AI, Photoshop, video editing, and performance art as she pleases—but feels most at home crafting 3D worlds in Blender. Vollstaedt’s work has appeared on the NASDAQ Times Square billboard, in the pages of Dazed, and, most recently, in brand collaborations with Barbie. Here, she talks about queer community in crypto, hot takes from haters, and the importance of going against the algorithm.
- My earliest memory of being online
Has to be online gaming. I know I was probably on the internet beforehand as I am a bit chronically online, but my earliest memories are playing World of Warcraft and Xbox with my friends!
- How my online experiences have influenced my offline life
Honestly probably every single aspect of it. It’s hard to draw a line between what originated via the internet versus what did not. I came out right before the pandemic, and the only real queer community I was able to connect with at the time was the one on the internet. Most of my friends were made via Twitter and my life has been completely NFT-centric for almost three years at this point!
- The most challenging and most rewarding thing about what I do
The most challenging is definitely the isolation that I experience from dedicating myself completely to my art. Working fully online is really, really tough for me, but I have made my closest friends through crypto, like seriously people I would die for, so I wouldn’t change a thing. The most rewarding part is being able to live the artist’s dream of people all over the world seeing and connecting with my art. Being able to travel and experience so many things I couldn’t have dreamed of being a nerdy kid from Canada.
- The most commonly misunderstood thing about what I do
How much work goes into it. Making 3D work (or just high-lift art in general) is so so time-consuming. Most people’s exposure to 3D work is either through video games, movies, or ads, and it’s something you wouldn’t even think about. But the amount of labor that goes into it is pretty wild. I’m also a bit masochistic and I like to make everything from scratch which really slows things down.
- How technology has changed what I do since I started doing it
AI and how quickly that is changing the landscape of digital art is an obvious one. Another one is how dynamic and advanced the tooling for 3D is getting, things like simulation and procedural generation have gone completely parabolic in recent years.
- How I think our relationship with technology should change
Definitely how headlong and casually we are charging into AI tech. I’m starting to believe we are hitting the singularity of AI (or have already hit it and not realized it yet). The fact is, the ungoverned wild west of the megacorp-led tech world is pretty dystopic. We really need to treat it with a lot more respect and care.
- The most important tool for my practice
- Art matters because
Art is emotion manifest, it’s what gives us purpose, and furthers the narrative of humanity.
- I am most indebted to
So many people that it’s hard to say for sure. It’s kind of a broey response, but probably everyone who ever told me I couldn’t. Also, 100% the queer community of crypto. Kate the Cursed is pretty much the reason why I ever caught on, or at least expedited the process by like a year.
- I am fascinated by
Machinery and technology, the NASA rover, drones, automation.
- I am vexed by
Hot takes from conservative men on the internet. Nobody needs to hear it or cares how much you hate or look down on people. Making the world a worse place for other people doesn’t make it better for yourself.
- Something that feels futuristic now but will be forgotten in the future
Physical augmentation with tech. I would love to see a world where people who choose to do so can improve their quality of life with biomechanic augmentation.
- Something that feels like a distraction now but will define the future
The metaverse and augmented reality.
- How I envision the role of the artist changing in the future
It will be much more highly valued. The more automated and inhuman the world becomes, the more people will look to art to find meaning and a sense of self.
- My future legacy will be
That I told a story of humanity through inhuman mediums. And for the worlds I create to be loved and celebrated!
- The best instruction for an AI learning to emulate me
Be gay and wear a big scrunchie every day.
- What three things would you recommend to anyone?
Practice every day, learn from others and apply it to what you are interested in. Make what you want and don’t curate for the algorithm. Don’t be afraid to draw inspiration from others or things you love—no matter how you feel you might be perceived.
- My current desktop situation
I try to keep a very basic desktop with some games and all my art apps right in the dead center. Nothing too fancy. I literally use the default Windows desktop background.