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Z by HP brings together artists from around the world to create The Living System

Dias, who normally creates still images, had to animate for this project, so for her, it was a relief to have fast GPU rendering on her Z4 desktop with NVIDIA graphics so she could quickly change or add elements without waiting. She doesn’t consider herself a technological person in terms of GPU or cooling systems. What matters most to her is having a PC that works without having to worry about what goes inside of it.

Oostenbroek, who lives in a small town near Amsterdam, Netherlands, usually blends his digital art with real-life assets, such as photos he’s shot or paintings he’s brushed into life. But for this project, he dove into 3D animation.

“For me, honestly, the biggest challenge was how to think like an animator. It was quite a steep learning curve,” he says. “It was actually the first time ever that I enjoyed an animation process, though in the beginning I was pretty frustrated. But with everybody giving me feedback, I gained so much energy and inspiration. It was especially nice how friendly and supportive everybody was, and how respectful.”

This international collaboration with the others, who all met previously in person through the Z Ambassadors program, really opened Oostenbroek’s eyes to the potential of remote projects with other artists.

“There’s so much possible within this new world we’re living in. Before COVID, you would have never thought about taking that leap,” he says. “But now, we’re working in different time zones with different software with all different perspectives, different backgrounds.  And I actually never saw a project like this come to life with such different individuals. And that really amazed me at the end, especially after seeing the result.”


Shane Griffin, a visual artist from Dublin, Ireland, who now lives in New York City, followed up on Oostenbroek’s contributions by developing photorealistic art in surrealist outdoor lighting – a first for him.

“I’m in New York, so I wanted to create this overgrown Garden of Eden that kind of consumes the city. There was an interest in duality between the concrete nature of Manhattan and Mother Nature coming in to reset things in a way,” he says. “I let my imagination run a bit wild with it. And it was fun to recreate the Brooklyn streets. I wanted to see what my surroundings would look like if there was my interpretation of a living system growing over these surroundings that I’m familiar with. So, it definitely came from a place of reality and the surroundings I see every day. And I wanted to do something that was kind of challenging for me as well.”

Orlando Arocena – better known on social channels as Mexifunk – was tasked with making the movie poster for the project.

Movie poster with abstract moon and pink cloudsOrlando Arocena’s movie poster (Image courtesy of Z by HP)

“I really wanted to represent all of these ambassadors and their hard work that’s gone into their individual chapters within this living system movie,” he says. “So, I picked up on cues like color palettes, different types of characters, whether they’re very organic or whether they’re the essence of clouds and smoke. Some of them are more concrete, like urban jungles, cityscapes. It’s a really beautiful cacophony of everyone’s viewpoints as far as atmosphere and environment and everything that’s peripheral to your vision, but yet focused in at 12 o’clock in front of you. We played upon our strengths. We looked at how diverse we are individually and we wanted to use that as a benefit.”

A Mexican-American vector artist, creative director and creative brand strategist based in Colombia, Arocena draws from his upbringing in the Bronx and with hip hop to infuse his approach to vector freestyle (evolving an abstract doodle into something recognizable).

“When you vector freestyle, you’re honed in, you’re focused and you have a theme running in your head of what you’re going to want to throw out into the world and what you want to exude,” Arocena says. “I think that if it wasn’t for me teaming up and being an ambassador for Z by HP, I wouldn’t have the confidence level to be able to do my freestyle vectors the way that I do without any type of pin wheeling or hiccups or slowdowns. I’m able to just open up vectors and start playing in real time, open up shapes, start drawing, start throwing down some paint brushes, and really have a lot of fun with a program that the majority of the world tends to use to build logos or to do page layouts. I’m glad to really push it in such a manner that it’s untraditional.”

HP display, keyboard and laptop on a table in front of Jody MacdonaldJody Macdonald works with her Z by HP devices. (Photo courtesy of Z by HP)

By the end, all of them were happy with the way the project turned out and for the experience and insights it gave each of them.

“This project created a unique opportunity to bring our Z ambassadors together, to collaborate across mediums and evolve their workflows,” said Erin Mott, head of marketing for Z by HP.  “Equipped with our high-performance technology, the ambassadors truly uncovered new creative breakthroughs and inspired other creatives along the way.”

“If I did this again, I don’t think I’d change anything,” Dias says. “I like how things went and I like when happy accidents happened.”

Find out more about this and other CoCreated Z by HP projects and tune in April 29 to a webinar featuring these artists and The Living System.

Lead image: Shane Griffin’s photorealistic art in surrealist outdoor lighting (Image courtesy of Z by HP)

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