Cameron Emmanuel is a neo-classical composer and self-taught contemporary visual artist born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. The region's tropical beauty served as sources of inspiration while growing up and pursuing his artistic foundations in visual art and music. Between music concerts, art galleries, festivals, and online platforms, his work is exhibited internationally. He currently works out of his studio in San Francisco, where he lives at a cross between art and music.
His vibrating visual art explores complex intricate layers, permutations of theme and variation, and repetitive sampling from his own work. These imaginative compositions erupt with colorful layers, forming patterns and textures that provide viewers a glimpse into the multiverse. He is deeply obsessed with micro patterns and fractals observed in nature. At the center of Cameron Emmanuel’s work are dimensions of imagination that evoke a visual adventure.
Be prepared to leave this world behind.
First, I densely layer mixed media paintings. Then, capture macro photos of intricate details in the paintings that are my “MacroScapes”. Finally, I mirror those macros into digital art pieces of geometric patterns and fractals, resulting in my “Modern Mandalas”. In keeping with music composition, the original paintings resemble visual scores. The macro photos are movements, and the Mandalas are measures. This three-step intermedia process grants me as much control as a composer, conductor, and musician would have, and explores transmutation of media and permutation of theme and variation.
These paintings are mini universes and are the foundation of my process. They are all about the micro details, as I create intricate and dynamic paintings by using a combination of mixed media such as iridescent, metallic, crushed glass, and UV-reactive paints that play with light. These are also experiments in chemistry, using various additives to vary viscosity and alter appearance. In many ways this is art as ritual, where time is dissolved into the paintings. Depending on the viewing angles and light conditions, the paintings change appearance and texture. I want to draw people’s attention to the details, make them stop and really look, and connect them to their inner child with a sense of awe and wonder.
I find working with tiny details fascinating, so viewing the art at five feet away versus five inches away is very different. I want to capture the closer viewing experience, and I found a way. Through the eyes of a composer, I extract "movements" by enlarging details of my paintings using macro photography. This sampling of my own paintings takes viewers on a symphonic movement which explores texture, rhythm, and a serenade of color. An expression calling attention to the details rather than the whole, these photos express an inherent duality both terrestrial and celestial that arouses imagination. I find beauty in the ambiguous nature of the abstract form.
- Digital Art -
From painting, to photo, to digital art, my mandalas are derived from my macros photos and are rhythmic arrangements that merge my personal interests of music, art, and science that further explore sacred geometry, fractals, and symmetry. Although still abstract, It seems having symmetry and mirrored patterns helps the imagination to recognize familiar things. This symmetry creates a fun psychological phenomenon known as Pareidolia; where people interpret familiar patterns as faces, objects, or animals where none exists. I always like to ask, what do you see?
It is more than an image seen with our eyes; it is an actual moment in time that express both the microcosm and macrocosm simultaneously into a harmonious unity. Each as unique as a snowflake, these Mandalas capture a frozen moment that is a measure of the finite and a road to the infinite. Universes within universes, these are maps of the multiverse.
- Music -
Cameron Emmanuel's style might be described as Neo-Classical. As a composer, He is inspired most by the Classical Masters. Often, he uses bold statements with lyrical melodies, colorful orchestration, and varied textures. Drawing his strengths from his slower movements, he express a varied palette of emotions from the darkest depression to the sublime and joyous.
Beginning his interest in Music Composition at the age of 13 in Hawaii, Cameron has composed an assortment of musical works for piano, small ensembles, orchestra, concert band, and symphonic orchestra. In 2012 he earned a degree at the University of Washington, Seattle, in music and ethnomusicology, specializing in the gamelan of Indonesia. He has since moved to San Francisco, where he continues to focus on his artistic career.
Various works have been performed by musicians at the University of Hawaii, including his “Nocturne II” by pianist Megumi Kurachi and “Brass Band on Piece 21” by the University's Brass Ensemble under direction of Grant Okamura. The Honolulu Symphony Orchestra performed his fourth movement of Symphony No.1 in collaboration with the University of Hawaii under direction of maestra Joan Laundry. In Seattle, the Seattle Symphonic Band premiered Tempest: for concert band under direction of Lauren Anderson in December of 2007. The Chinook Winds premiered Divertimento No. 1: for double wind quintet and bass clarinet in April of 2008 under direction of UW Doctorate student, Maggii Weitzel.
Attending the UW he has had many wonderful opportunities to work with the schools various ensembles and conductors, such as Ethan Chessin, Garry Brattin, Dr. Steven Morrison, Vu Nguyen, and director of bands Timothy Salzman. In his senior year at UW he worked with Salzman who led the Wind Ensemble in an arrangement of three Schubert Lieder songs arranged for band. For his senior thesis he completed an an original composition for the Seattle Pacific University Gamelan ensemble with Prof. Christina Sunardi.
He has had great opportunities abroad to bring some of his works to life, and selected works have been performed by musicians in various parts of the world. Conductor Garry Brattin (1965-2015) led the Yue Tao Concert Band in 2013 with "Tempest" in Taipei, Taiwan. In 2015 conductor Peter Wuttke led his double wind quintet with the premiere of "Divertimento No.2" and "Divertimento No.1" in Düsseldorf, Germany.