7 Dec 2020

Spotlight on: Tim Straver

The story behind DGTL label's record sleeves artwork

In our current ‘Spotlight On’ series, we are turning the light to three artists close to our hearts, Tim Buiting, Tim Straver, and Tasso Okinawa. The artists behind the record sleeves of our label’s releases. Every artist got to work his magic, creating the artwork of 5 releases each that we published as a series. While the music of every EP tells its own story, the art of the 5 sleeves created a storyline throughout the several releases. We got to know all three creators through a different aspect of the festival and with their work for the record label, they got to express their artistic self in a new way.

This time we turn to Tim Straver after last week's (virtual) chat with Tim Buiting. The collaboration between the label manager, Tim Hoeben and Tim Straver began when Boris Acket, external creative for DGTL, saw a possible connection between some of Tim Straver’s free work and DGTL Records. After noticing a graphic series on Tim's Instagram, Boris introduced the two Tim’s and the rest is history.


Tim S has a background as a graphic designer. He started exploring the 3D world as a break from his regular work, and "loved it". “What I like about it is that most of it is based on real physics, but you can completely bend the rules of physics to your likings. The original series, the one that caught Boris’ eyes, were made without any thoughts, without any predetermined meaning. It’s the result of a set of actions, an unforced process where succeeding isn’t the end goal but letting the creative juices flow in the software is. Opening the software and just see what happens. Because of that, I make a lot of different versions, when I like the result I’ll save it, if I don’t, I’ll throw it out.’’


One day when Tim was messing around in the software Cinema4D, he found a feature that uses natural scientific rules to create colors, shapes, and more. He started to play around with it which caused a creative explosion. He used this feature for DGTL Records to create a sort of soft morphing glass-like structure with a very high refractional reaction. Refraction is the bending of a wave when it enters a medium where its speed is different. We all know the Pink Floyd cover of 'The Dark Side of the Moon' where the glass prism bends the beam of light into a rainbow. That’s refraction in action. The combination of the soft glass and colors melting within creates a very pleasant aesthetic. ‘’It develops into an otherworldly-feeling still lifes.‘’


“The beauty about this way of working, creating without an end goal, is that you can iterate into different versions and possibilities really quick. Change some parameters, and the outcome will become completely different. And then keep changing the inputs, it’s all trial no error.”

The aim was to capture the mood of the record with one single shape. Each artist was therefore asked 5 questions that would serve as inspiration for the artwork:

1. If you were a shape what would it be? 

2. If you were a chameleon, what color would you blend into? 

3. If you could use 4 adjectives to describe your music, what would they be? 

4. What is your favorite sound? 

5. Which two images of the next slides are your favorite? 


Tim later translated the keywords given and used them to visualize the 3D shape of the artwork. 


“As I said before, the 3D work is often a way to take a break from my regular clients. So being able to make this series for DGTL was great for me. I love how these two worlds come together in a really natural way. I only released the original series because I loved them, not because anyone else had something to say about it. Being able to translate that output into records sleeves was really satisfying, and I'm still very happy with the results.” 

If he would have done something differently if he would have been asked to do this project today? “These kinds of projects you always learn as you play. So if you would ask me to remake this, the outcome would be completely different but still close to the vibe that’s going on right now.”

What has Tim been up to since? One project he's been working passionately on is the new Boris Acket’s website. Which “came out really neat” if you ask him. Next to that, he's been working more towards CrossFit related brands and competitions. “This whole new world is a lot of fun to discover, and there is a lot of ground to win for me. I really like the combination of working for creative clients and competitions/sportive clients.”

“I’m really thankful to DGTL Records for wanting to work together with me. Making album art was something I always really wanted to do, so a big thank you for helping me realize that idea!”


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