Hypnotizing animations, unsettling human bodies, futuristic spaceships… Adam’s work is extremely diverse yet always fascinating. 

From crafting the covers for Tech Itch Recordings to strangely distorting faces in a now worldwide-known 3D project, we have a lot to discover from the Czech Republic artist.

Through this in-depth interview, Adam gives us some insights about how he got into design, how he started working with Technical Itch’s label, and his thoughts about his own audiovisual work. To complement the talk, Pizurny also shares with us, exclusively for this interview, three captivating images generated by AI, which Adam trained using his own data set. These were created more than a year ago, when AI-generated art just started to thrive.

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Exclusive Art by Adam Pizurny generated using AI
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Exclusive Art by Adam Pizurny generated using AI
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Exclusive Art by Adam Pizurny generated using AI

When did you start listening to electronic music and dnb in particular?

I think it might be in 1996 when I was 10 and saw Firestarter by Prodigy on MTV. I was also listening to hip-hop. Then, around 1999, I recorded Kruder and Dorfmeister DJ-Kicks’ album from a late-night show on Slovak Rock FM radio. It had a few jungle tunes. I was thrilled. It was broken beat like hip-hop but faster! Around 2001, I got Bad Company ‘Inside The Machine’ from my cousin which he got from the Internet (the Internet was still rare these days) and that was my gateway to dnb!

What interests you most about visual art?

For me, it’s another way to express your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Like speaking, writing, dancing… That is the thing I love about hip-hop culture, it contains all these elements. I was DJing and doing graffiti back in the day.

When was the first time you saw the close connection between visual art and music?

As I was DJing and organising events someone had to design posters. Later, my musician friends started asking me for music covers as well. I also designed book covers. The job is a bit similar but you have to be more serious about it which might be boring sometimes.

When you started to draw regularly, what were your first serious works, first paid commissions?

I started drawing at a young age. The first commissions might have been probably when I was 14/15.

Discogs says you made your first cover in 2012, but I’ve now learned that this site misses a lot of information about visual artists. So, did you actually make your first cover for Tech Itch’s ‘The Failed Evolution’ EP?

Technical Itch The Failed Evolution

No, the first one was probably this one from 2007. I’ve had a tune there so I suggested I could do the cover too.

Darkland Sound Forces LP
Darkland Sound Forces LP artwork

Since 2012, you have been regularly making artwork for Tech Itch Recordings. Mad to think this relationship has been lasting for ten years, how did it start?

Tech Itch was one of my favorite producers in what I call the golden era of dnb (around 2004). I found out in 2012 that he was still releasing tunes but without cover artwork, so I’ve offered him help with that. I was beginning with 3D at the time. You can see me learning and failing if you go through them chronologically.

I assume you are great friends with Mark himself — designing every label release and even mixes.

Oh yes, even if we met just once when he was DJing in the Czech Republic. Since I’ve stopped freelancing, I’ve kept him as my only client. He likes what I do and leaves me complete freedom. And I like the music that the label is putting out.

Sci-fi themes, and particularly spaceships, are a common theme of your works for the label. Is it what you usually associate the label’s music with? 

I love sci-fi. There was an era where I watched just sci-fi movies and read only sci-fi books… and listened to only dnb, haha. I think it just fits together. Recently I got an inquiry from a death metal band that wanted something similar but had to refuse it due to lack of time.

Voyage - Genesis
Voyage – Genesis artwork

At some point, you built a 3D spaceship generator for your own use. So that you didn’t have to draw those ships every time. How did you manage to create it?

I downloaded some sci-fi parts from the internet and made a random procedural builder in a 3D software called Houdini. Building spaceships is a tedious job. I wanted to focus more on mood and environment.

Are your sci-fi-themed works inspired by particular franchises?

My favorite sci-fi illustrator would be John Harris. Doom Poets – Dead Forest is so heavily inspired by him that I’ve tagged it as an homage to him and let him know on Facebook.

Doom Poets – Dead Forest

Your output is diverse. It also includes abstract art and face/body mutations. What inspired these?

I think it started in 2012 when I had an idea of human faces covered with various patterns. I knew it was possible on PC but I was just starting with 3D graphics, so I took an analog way. I printed patterns on foil and projected them with a slide projector on real humans. I just wanted to try it out and wasn’t even planning on publishing it. But friends told me to do so, and to my surprise, people liked it. Since then, I have published my experiments on the web… well, most of them. Later I recreated those in 3D. I like to push forms into the boundaries of recognizability/beauty.Projections Adam Pizurny

Are there any main principles that you stick to? Any specific work ethic that you could mention?

Not really. I just want to make pictures that look cool to me and show them to others. The only things I stick to might be just composition and color harmony.

Can you name your idols and favorite works in design? Specifically in the music industry.

I don’t really watch current trends, but my favorite artists would be M.C. Escher, Zdzisław Beksiński, John Harris, H.R. Giger, and Jim Woodring.

Also, whose visual works in drum & bass do you like?

I’ve grown up on covers of labels like Renegade Hardware, Moving Shadow, Metalheadz, Reinforced, Tech Itch, and Freak. Regarding designers, I would mention my friends Karol Lasia, Vince Peersman, Siggeir M. Hafsteinsson, and Richard Lock.

Your own best works, in your opinion?

I think the latter works for Tech Itch. I even still like some of them!

Technical Itch – Disconnection
Technical Itch – Disconnection artwork

How do you get ideas for a cover design?

I have to listen to it first. To know what kind of energy it holds. The name of the release also matters. So I know exactly what the musician wants to tell the world. Sometimes, the ideas start immediately, sometimes it takes days and weeks to come up with something interesting.

On your Instagram, one can find a lot of posts of your abstract art complemented with similarly exciting electronics. I think it’s a great talent when you can create imagery and then compose your own sounds that you associate with it. However, some of these pieces are collaborations with other music producers — how did they happen? Were all these audiovisual works done purely for art’s sake, before NFT became a thing?

I started with those in 2016. It’s my hobby and also a way to train in 3D animation. At first, they were just gifs on Tumblr and Facebook. Later I started to make longer ones as videos (as gifs would be ridiculously big and videos can have sound). So I asked some of my musician friends to come up with something, or I did it myself. Most of the sounds are made by my friend and long-time audio/visual collaborator Erik Osvald (Keosz).

NFTs became popular in 2020. I’ve minted and sold some as well. But I’m not that famous to make a living of it.

What drawing tools do you use?

In the physical world, I use mostly acrylic paint and spray paint. On the computer, it’s Houdini with Mantra/Redshift/Octane and Photoshop for postprocessing.

Would you say that some of your works have some narrative?

I think my Tech Itch covers might tell you a story about failed mankind traveling in the last ships across the universe, a dystopian sci-fi universe.

Can you tell an interesting backstory about any of your covers or some other work?

There is Mark (Tech Itch) hidden inside the Progression Threat cover. Not sure if people noticed. You can see that best on the ‘Progression Threat – Part Three” cover. Also, I used my head as a base 3D model for Re:Generation and Machine Mind.

Technical Itch – Progression Threat - Part Three
Technical Itch – Progression Threat – Part Three artwork

You worked with other drum & bass labels, such as MethLab, Bad Taste, and Hybris’ Pseudoscience Recordings. What was it like? Would you create more animations for Pseudoscience if the label was still active and requested more of your work?

They are all cool guys. Jeff from MethLab and Hybris are living in Prague too so I’ve met them several times at clubs or barbecues. Hybris wanted me to do some more animations but I don’t have time anymore since I’m full-time employed now. I met Vegas when he was DJing in Prague, cool guy as well!

Do you dream of collaborating with some label or music producer? Or another visual artist?

When I was younger I dreamed about making cover artwork for Metalheadz and Renegade Hardware. But I don’t care about that anymore. I have different goals now.

How long have you been working on your longest project?

The most intensive freelance project was probably the visuals for Bring Me The Horizon. I think I worked nonstop for three weeks as I started just shortly before the tour began. There is a snippet.

As far as I remember, at some point, some drum & bass labels started regularly crediting visual artists on social media. That’s how I found out about many creators, including you. When Tech Itch Recordings started to credit you, was it purely their decision? Did it help you to get more recognition on social media?

I thought Mark did it from the beginning 😀

Probably it brought me some new fans and clients, but it’s hard to tell. It’s a cool thing to do before you can read it on the vinyl cover. Today, if you don’t mention it on social media, no one will ever know.

You had already put out a few NFTs. Do you ever create art to sell it as NFT?

I think I did that once here. Apart from that, I just minted art that I had already done before.

Have you ever had a bad experience while working on a project? Any canceled drawings?

Oh, a lot of times. It’s also one of the reasons why I’ve left freelancing work. I’m currently working as a VFX artist at a post-production studio. So all client-related talks are done by our supervisors and production. This way I can just focus on the work. On the other hand, I can’t say no to a client once the company approves the job.

Has there ever been a case when you drew something for music that you didn’t like? How did you cope with it?

Clients usually ask me because they like what I do. I think I’ve never done something for a track I hated. A bigger problem was clients who were forcing me to do an illustration or logo I didn’t like and wouldn’t sign under it. I’ve canceled a few jobs because of that.

Interview conducted in May 2022

Thanks to Adam for this interesting talk. Make sure to follow him on socials.

You can check the other interviews of this series dedicated to putting the spotlight on visual artists from the underground music scene (with Uno, Trinyó Art, Ivan Shopov, or Khomatech).

Adam Pizurny