Experimenting Through Movement & Simulation
Raquel Villa is a London-based 3D Artist with a deep curiosity about the mixture between strange behaviours and physics. Whilst viewing her portfolio, you will find experiments and learning processes through movement and simulation. We got in touch to find out more about Raquel's work:
Fabrik: Hi Raquel, we’re so pleased to have you as our Fabrik Hero. Tell us a little about yourself and what initially drew you to making art?
Raquel Villa: "Hey! I am Raquel Villa, a 3D artist with a deep curiosity about the intersection of strange behaviours and physics. What has always drawn me to art is probably the playful aspect of it and the learning by doing. At school, I was fascinated with a subject called technical drawing, which blended artistic freedom with technical constraints. To me, that was the perfect balance - the ability to play and learn freely, but with rules to make it work.
Later, while studying architecture in Madrid, I tried using 3D for a project, and that fascination and obsession re-emerged. I realised that what I loved about architecture was building hypothetical and fantastical worlds that still had logic, digitally rather than in real life. This led me to become more deeply invested in 3D and motion and naturally departed from the traditional architecture path and delved more into this full digital industry while still somehow completing my studies.
Currently, I am based in London, where I am thrilled to be working at XK Studio as a 3D designer, surrounded by an incredibly talented team and working on exciting projects!"
Fabrik: How do you like to define your artistic style?
Raquel Villa: "When it comes to style, I believe the thing I am most passionate about is developing pieces that combine the pursuit of making something visually beautiful and surprising, with the technical challenge of achieving it. I also enjoy exploring strange behaviours that heavily rely on physical properties, resulting in unusual movements or assemblies. Since the result of this combination of elements is often not very realistic, I tend to experiment with materials and colour palettes that evoke other worlds, such as exploring with the use of more saturated colours or exaggerated textures to create a personal interpretation of materials."
Fabrik: Could you give us the back story behind your alias ‘Baghmeh’?
Raquel Villa: "The story behind this name is actually a bit silly! It comes from when I started exploring with 3D - the truth is that I had such a strong impostor syndrome that I couldn’t post anything without saying and thinking bagh or meh! Still happens a bit today, so I guess that’s why this name is still hanging around."
Fabrik: You mention you have a deep curiosity on the mixture between strange behaviours and physics. Can you delve into this further and explain how it inspires your work?
Raquel Villa: "Currently, one of the things that bring me the most happiness is designing with simulations. It is particularly fulfilling for me because it allows me to tap into my intuition, which is something that I find super important to cultivate. I find immense pleasure in discovering unexpected and strange behaviours by working within a predefined set of rules that would have never anticipated what you can see on your screen! Therefore I am super inspired by processes that enable this way of learning, being it a VFX software, real-time game engines, or cooking with weird ingredients!"
Fabrik: Tell us more about how you experiment and explore processes through movement and simulation?
Raquel Villa: "At the moment, I am using Houdini as my main 3D tool. Houdini has a powerful and robust simulation system that not only allows you to play with accurate physical parameters but also offers the ability to completely reinvent the physics world if you’d like to. Still today, I think it’s amazing that you can do this!
By combining this flexibility with a design approach, you can direct these physics taking into account the composition or shapes that you are driving them toward, which can lead to beautiful and surprising images and movements."
Fabrik: How do you feel your style evolved through the years?
Raquel Villa: "I think that as I’ve developed over the last years, my approach to style has evolved directly proportional to the level of control I had over my work. In the early stages, I viewed style as something to experiment with and explore, resulting in sometimes a confusing aesthetic or an unclear concept. There is nothing wrong with that, and I love things that make one feel confused! But now I see style as a tool to consolidate the mood and identity of a project and connect with a particular world. As a way to conceptually engage even more with what the project is trying to convey. That said, I always try as much as I can to keep experimenting style-wise with different softwares, studying new techniques, compositions or lights to try to find something new and fulfilling."
"I see style as a tool to consolidate the mood and identity of a project and connect with a particular world."
Fabrik: Do you ever try to convey a message through your work?
Raquel Villa: "One aspect that brings me great joy is to see different people interpreting and imagining different things from my work, without me getting in their way - I enjoy that it can let the other person have a say in what they see. I am particularly drawn to the fine balance of creating something abstract, yet still keeping a core meaning or structural sense, so that it is not purely conceptual art, but also not having a direct message.
On the other hand, I am driven by the technical approach of my work, and finding something that is technically challenging for me, absolutely tickles my curiosity. So I guess that my goal and message are to create something that I have never seen before and maybe that sparks something weird and beautiful in someone else, similar to how the work that I admire inspires me."
Fabrik: If you had one tip for aspiring artists what would it be?
Raquel Villa: "Do personal projects! They will help you to know yourself better and that’s the most important thing there is, in my opinion. They allow you to understand how you react under certain constraints, what you profoundly like and connect with, what makes you truly feel passionate, and what ignites a spark. These experiences are invaluable learning processes that will stay with you forever, helping you in unexpected ways. And the best thing is that the connections and projects that you develop through your personal work will often lead to something exciting!"
Fabrik: What piece of your work are you most proud of?
Raquel Villa: "That is a hard one! I always try to treat the projects that I am currently involved in with a lot of care and love, so it can be tricky to look back and choose one! If I’d really had to choose one, I’d say it would be XKR_001 PATCH, a research project done at XK Studio. This project means a lot because, for almost a whole summer, I was super lucky to be able to purely dive in and develop at XK Studio this very research-based exploration of doing all the crazy things we could imagine to a sneaker. The sneaker is like the holy grail in motion design, with so many famous shots that broke all the standards a few years ago and still are being copied. At the studio, the approach was to break all the rules from commercial and product-based workflows and stress test the sneaker in all the weird ways possible, thinking of new narratives or shots we have never seen before. Being able to think like this and make time and develop such a heavy experimental project in the studio was like a luxury and a gift."
Fabrik: What are your plans for the future? Can you give us insight on any projects that you’re currently working on?
Raquel Villa: "At the moment, the future looks a bit busy with all the new things that are in the environment that spark so much energy! I am very curious about exploring an approach that involves more prototyping and interactive reactions. Thinking not only about real-time digital interaction but also getting out of the screen for a bit and trying out different processes that can lead to new and riskier aesthetics."
Fabrik: Final question. What do you like most about Fabrik? What's your favourite feature?
Raquel Villa: "I chose Fabrik to build my first-ever website showcasing my digital work and still today I am using it! Back then it allowed me to focus on my work which was something that helped me to take a lot of pressure off and I still value that immensely. Besides, it transmits a strong feeling of care and curation of their community and their templates, being visually clear and tasteful but allowing a wide functionality and an extremely fast response."
Raquel uses Calico, a magazine format theme with unique homepage layouts and several project layout options geared towards presenting longer-form projects and blog posts. Creatives with lots of projects will appreciate Calico’s customisation options.