Experimenting with Paint and Natural Forces Captured Using High-Speed Photography

paint splatters

Fabian Oefner is a probing artist from Switzerland. His work is part science, part art. His newest collection of images is a continuation of his research of controlling paint with unusual, but natural forces. In the previous Black Hole series, centrifugal force shaped the paint into colorful looking swirls. This time, air pressure was used to create what he calls “liquid jewels”, hence the name of the series. Liquid Jewel is an interesting experiment that uses balloons covered in acrylic paint and air pressure to make distinctive shapes and color combinations.

liquid jewel

In these fresh images Oefner turned his interest on air pressure by harnessing the force of the popping balloon. He covered modeling balloons in substantial layers of acrylic paint and shot each one milliseconds after getting popped with a needle. The resulting images are the result of a rapid process that takes place in seconds. Oefner explains the dynamics of the quick event.

photo series liquid jewel

“The structures you see are modeling balloons covered with paint right after they have been pricked with a needle. The air inside the balloon expands explosively, throwing the paint in all different directions. What I particularly love about the images is that if you look closely, you can see, how the individual shades start to mix with each other, blue and magenta becomes violet, red and yellow becomes orange.”

balloon exploding paint

With the air inside the balloon expanding very quickly, the paint is forced in all directions. The result is unusual shapes and details which are uniquely beautiful and one of a kind. Liquid Jewel follows thru on Oefner’s work of manipulating paint with various forces.

“You are looking at a structure that lasted only for the blink of an eye,” says the Zurich based Oefner. “It is only in that fragment of a second [that] the paint looks like this, where the shades slowly start to blend into each other, and then it is gone again.”

paint exploding

This process also requires a lot of patience. Out of 100 shots, a mere five passed the standards of Oefner, as things didn’t always unfold as planned. “I remember one balloon burst directly into my face, while I was preparing the last layer of paint… I looked like a walking piece of art afterwards,” he mused.

Still, he makes a strong claim, “I can promise you, the results look amazing.”

See what Oefner calls amazing over at his Behance page.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.