Fabrice is a craftsman of dreams and apparitions.
Hi, I’m Fabrice Bourrelly, artist, architect, 3D visualiser and Virtual Reality (VR) designer.
My drawings and paintings are exhibited in London, Paris and Portugal and collected by designers, artists, creators and thinkers. You can view (and buy) my artwork in the gallery.
As well as working on paper and canvas, I use cutting-edge technology to create and explore virtual worlds, both for my own creative stimulation and to devise solutions for clients including Google, IDEO, Thomas Heatherwick, Anish Kapoor, Bentley Motors and Phillipe Starck.
I draw on a range of disciplines, including artistic draughtsmanship, architecture, programming, 3D modelling and rendering, Virtual Reality, and philosophical research into the interface between consciousness and reality.
The outputs range from fly-through videos for major architectural developments, to concept development using 3D as a design tool, and fully immersive VR environments using the Oculus Rift.
It’s a complex mixture, but as I say to my clients, the fundamental principle is very simple:
My job is to take what’s inside your head and put it in front of your eyes.
How I became an artist…
I wasn’t particularly artistic as a kid, and spent most of my spare time working with computers. Growing up in the south of France, one thing that did make an impression on me was the prehistoric cave of Pech Merle, with 25,000 year old drawings on the walls.
A few years ago a friend suggested I learn to draw, “Because drawing teaches you to look”.
I studied life drawing and discovered that we do not really see what is in front of us – our brain acts as a filter and transforms reality. To learn to draw, we need to learn to unlearn the process of subconsciously interpreting visual data. Only then can we really see.
As my skill developed, people began to take an interest in my works. One collector has taken a special interest in my progress and has bought nearly twenty of my drawings to date. I take great encouragement from this and continue to work very hard at my craft.
I am now discovering a relationship between the physical representations of the body I create on paper and canvas, and the virtual spaces that I produce on the computer. They began as separate interests, but I am now finding more and more points of convergence. I look forward to seeing what emerges from their interaction in future.
…and a 3D visualiser…
Back in 1990, I was studying architecture in Paris and became part of the boyant techno music scene, where thousands of people congregated in hangars for illegal raves. I was one of the first VJs, creating trippy animated computer graphics that were projected on screens behind the DJ.
I became friends with an incredible artist called Eric Anton, who was using clunky DOS based software to create amazing images for an incredible architect called Jean Nouvel. Together with a group of C++ programmers, we made 3D animated sequences, attempting to create a new form of abstract art.
Our group, named Ooz, became very popular and we expanded to working with fashion designer and artist Pia Myrvold, integrating interfaces in clothing that triggered sound loops in a sampler. Eric and I also worked for Jean Nouvel for a while, and began to learn the trade of 3D visualisation.
My student thesis was on the subject of how 3D would change the way we design architecture – now I am doing just that.
Whereas most 3D visualisers are still content to illustrate designs created by architects, I help architects and designers use 3D visualisation as part of the design process itself. This makes this process more effective by not only creating winning presentation and marketing material but the by product of the process creates a plethora of compelling work in progress images which serves as an effective communication tool between the teams and team members.
…and a creator of virtual worlds…
I became fascinated with Virtual Reality after reading the novel Snowcrash by Neal Stephenson in 1992. The book features the Metaverse, a virtual reality based information web, in the form of a a black planet with a single highway with buildings either side.
Stephenson made it clear that new rules were going to have to be written and that those new rules were going to be in 3D space.
We are all born into a 3D world governed by gravity, and subject to rain, snow, heat, cold and other natural phenomena. Our bodies and minds are so accustomed to navigating this space that we take its rules and conventions for granted. Window are for letting light in. Doors enable us to move from one space to another. Roofs are pitched so that water runs off them.
But in the virtual world the normal rules do not exist: there is no gravity, no rain, no sunshine or snow. We do not even have a body. Maybe the only absolute commonality with the “real world” is the need for light.
What are the rules and conventions of virtual space? What relation does it have to our minds? And our bodies? How can we organise information in virtual space? What new abilities can Virtual Reality help us to develop?
These are some of the questions I have pondered over the past 23 years. Now, VR technology enables me to find practical answers to them, as a VR designer – a creator and explorer of virtual spaces.
Join me on the journey…
On this website I share my explorations of these new frontiers – artistic, technological, psychological, social and commercial.
I publish images, videos and my thoughts about art, Virtual Reality, 3D visualisation, consciousness and aspects of reality.
To have every new article, video or set of images from my sketchbook and studio sent to you the moment it is published, please enter your email address below.
(Naturally I will never share your email address.)
Does your organisation need help with these challenges?
I help companies, architects, branding and marketing companies (retail and property) with conceptualising, creating, visualising and applying 3D and VR worlds.
If you are looking for help in any of these areas, feel free to contact me.
N.b. I am used to working on secret projects, and my clients rely on my absolute discretion. Please read my T&C for standard NDA agreement.