Rory Scott is a multidisciplinary artist, whose work is recognized for its use of patterns, glitter and for its likeness to the Universe. Through both digital and handmade means, Scott explores the ideas of impermanence, the passage of time and the impacts of technology upon the evolution of humanity.
Her project ‘’Impermanence’’, which began in 2010, is an ongoing documentation of her life and struggle with accepting change and mortality. Through recorded thoughts, sounds and use of retro sci-fi imagery, her work confronts and reconciles the passage of time by juxtaposing the old with the new. The prominence of patterns in her work, draws parallels between the existence of patterns in nature and in the rhythm of our thoughts and lives. Illustrating repetition creates form over time.
Using the passage of time as a medium, she has spent the last 7 years gathering, constructing and deconstructing elements that will be used in 60 short films detailing her past and current life.
"What defines being human more than impermanence? It's what we all have in common but are reluctant to share. I hope when people view my work they feel a connection to me and our shared experience of traveling through time."
Rory Scott is an Alumni of The School of The Art Institute of Chicago.
Hi Rory, welcome to RED•EYE World, can you tell us about yourself? How has your cultural background influenced your path to digital art? How would you describe your work in a few words?
I have always enjoyed making things. Even as a child I was always thinking of ideas for things to create. It was a cleaning/organizing nightmare for my mother because I saw the creative potential in everything and would collect and save all sorts of items and scraps for future creations.
I would say the culture of my family more so than an overarching cultural identity has shaped my path + work. My mom was a biology major and my dad was an engineer. I would look through my moms old text books & study the patterns of the circuit boards my dad would bring home. These things captured my mind & introduced me to my love of science and technology. These influences along with my passion to create led me down the path to digital art.
Is it difficult to describe my art in a few words… It’s pretty much all my life, a test & examination of reality on many fronts expressed through visual form.
Where did you start as a digital artist? Did you explore other forms of art first? What artists of the past or present have inspired you?
I started creating digital art for fun & didn’t even really consider it to be art. Initially I was into painting & photography but I wasn’t very focused at either. Then I became obsessed with Photoshop and Illustrator and it all really took off from there. It was wonderful because I felt like I didn’t have to worry about making mistakes. When you work digitally it’s more forgiving & liberating because you have the option to “undo” and not waste materials and time. So it was an outlet that really fostered a creative explosion of exploration for me.
I do and I don’t have artists who inspire me. I think often when you think of people who inspire you there is this idea that there is this discernible visual or stylistic link. For me my inspirations go beyond aesthetics. One of my greatest inspirations is Ivan Albright’s “That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do (The Door)”. It’s a beautiful, ghostly painting that took nearly 10 years to complete. It’s an inspiration of endurance, technical execution which aligns with my thoughts and reflections on life and time.
“Impermanence” is exploring your life and your struggle with accepting change and mortality. How old were you when you thought for the first time about the passage of time and how did you develop your way to document it? Was it an experimental process? How has this improved your growth as an artist?
When I was four years old, the passage of time really hit me. And then again at ten years old. I have these very specific moments/memories of feeling this real shock and acknowledgment of time.
I think that without realizing it, I began documenting time through holding onto artifacts of my life and having these specific artifacts move with me throughout time. For example I have a t-shirt from when I was seven years old that I still wear. There are these strange artifacts that just never left the rotation of my life. I began seriously documenting my life around 2010. An artist, Nicholas Felton was creating these wonderful Annual Reports of his life. They were beautifully designed & mesmerizing to read. The documentation of life as a quantifiable form really resonated with me. It was a turning point—imagining my life, the wholeness of myself, as units, as patterns of collected actions repeated over time.
From that point, I went from unintentionally quantifying my life to consciously and deliberately thinking about what moments, or ephemera I wanted to hold onto for the purpose of telling a story or reconstructing my life. The whole process has been organic, a conscious experiment of seeing where the path leads.
This entire process has shaped me as an artist and as a person, to think about patterns and how I value and add value to my time. This awareness has helped me to maintain endurance and productivity through the many seasons of my journey.
Using the passage of time as a medium, you have spent your last years gathering, constructing and deconstructing elements that will be used in 60 short films detailing your past and current life. When we see your work we feel a connection to you and our shared experience of traveling through time. What motivates you to find new ideas, recorded thoughts, sounds or retro sci-fi imagery? Is there a place very important for you where you feel more inspired?
What motivates me is my curiosity. I can’t help but wonder and to be curious all the time. I am always looking for the magic in life—looking past the surface & wondering why.
I think it’s easy to be on autopilot and take this experience of life at face value and not question it at all. But I believe that there are far more questions than answers for something as complex as this experience.
The place I find the greatest solace and inspiration is nature. Nothing beats interfacing with the intricacy & vastness of it all.
Tell us more about your educational background. What are some of the tools you use to create your style of artwork?
I went to art school but didn’t consider myself an artist till much later. I just knew that I enjoyed making things.
I use and have used a wide range of tools to create. Photography, mold making, various animation 3D softwares, AI & AR/VR tools, 3D printing—I am all over the place!
What do you predict for the future of digital art? Where would you like to see it go and why?
I predict digital art will have an incredible impact & role in shaping the future of humanity. I also think that there’s a huge likelihood for AI to be the dominating force that drives digital art moving forward in unpredictable ways, in a very short amount of time.
It’s hard to say where I would like to see digital art go. I definitely hope that more people begin to reflect upon the fact that we are actually creating new layers of reality. And we should take it seriously and ask ourselves what is our responsibility in what we desire to create and bring into this new world? And how do we collectively make these decisions in a way that is most beneficial to us all.
I hope there will be a growing desire and thought to create work with intent and purpose to add more meaning to our lives. We have so much potential to create an amazing future if we pause to recognize the importance of this time and our role in this moment.
Share with us a few of your favorite projects you made.
What were some challenges that you were facing as a digital artist based in Chicago?
I’m actually no longer in Chicago, 2020 was a game changer for me in many ways. But during my time there, I would say that the biggest challenge I faced as a digital artist was there really wasn’t a demand for digital art. Interest in art was definitely more geared towards traditional mediums. Perhaps that is changing though.
A letter to your future self. What would you write?
I would tell myself about what’s currently happening in my life & in the world. And write down my thoughts, goals, and predictions for the future.
This is something that I actually do now. Every birthday and New Year, I write a letter to my future self. It’s really eye opening to go back in time and read the letters from over the years because it’s easy to forget what it was that you were concerned with or feeling during various periods of time. It offers a perspective of yourself that you may have otherwise forgotten or not realized; giving you a snapshot of the common themes & patterns playing out overtime in your life.