Six N. Five is the creative studio of award-winning Argentinian digital artist, Ezequiel Pini. Combining equal parts refined imagination and flawless execution, the world is taking notice of Six N. Five’s coherent vision. Pini sits down in his Barcelona studio to discuss his beginnings as a digital artist, and the role of humans, nature, architecture and absence in his work.
Words by Aaron Chapman
Photography by Six N Five
Six N. Five is the pseudonym of award-winning Argentinian digital artist, Ezequiel Pini. Now based in Barcelona, Pini is a pioneer in 3D dreamscapes and revered for his signature aesthetic of imagined spaces informed by nature. Pini attracted commissions from Microsoft to design Windows 11 and Surface wallpapers and collaborated with artist Daniel Arsham on a series of digital sculpture NFTs. These two achievements alone make him one of the most recognised digital artists of our time.
Growing up in Argentina, Pini always liked to draw, but it wasn’t until high school he learned the skills required to pursue postgraduate studies as a graphic designer. After graduating from the University of Buenos Aires, Pini worked as a web developer and designer, before moving into the world of 2D animation. From here, Pini self-taught the tools and learned the skills required for animating in the third dimension. As Pini recalls, “This gave me very strong potential to manifest my ideas in a more precise way.”
Technology and the acquired 3D animation knowledge offered Pini endless possibilities as a digital artist and designer, the primary benefit being the ability to visualise results before executing them. This is a great advantage in the process of creation. “I see digital art as another type of manifestation, the same as sculpture or painting,” he says. “I’m also interested in creating objects, sculptures and spaces in the physical world. Although all the processes are different, the starting point is always digital.” Pini’s physical objects are something to behold, like Two Blocks Chair featured at Art Basel, but it’s his avant-garde digital artworks that have captivated audiences globally.
In The Japanese Garden, 2021, we see a combination of classic Japanese aesthetics from sleek architecture to the art of floral arrangement. These scenes capture a slice of Japanese culture and its inherent desire for simplicity through design, whether naturally or artificially performed. Throughout a tranquil and minimal atmosphere, the digital artwork features a consistent range of motifs, from birch wood and mountainous landscapes to create a pleasant, hyperreal composition of nature.
“There is a part of the message that I like to leave open to the viewer’s imagination”
The Japanese Garden depicts the subtlety of human presence through the intervention of architecture that blends seamlessly with the nature that surrounds it. The coexistence of humans and nature is a universal theme in Pini’s oeuvre. In some cases, like in Make Room For Us (2022), it’s evident that Pini is alluding to our impact on the environment, and that we have modified, adapted and arguably destroyed what is freely offered to us. The Japanese Garden elicits a less despondent reading but in harmony with Pini’s other work, is completely devoid of humans, despite the eerie sense of humanness. This is intentional. “I like to play with the message that objects can transmit,” Pini notes. “Especially when they are placed in an architectural environment or an imagined space.” As seen in The Circle, 2022, a solitary chair pointed toward a landscape tells us something, but not everything. Ambiguity is a key literary device utilised predominantly in poetry and short fiction, and is what charges Pini’s work. “There is a part of the message that I like to leave open to the viewer’s imagination,” he describes.
The surreal absence of humans also plays interestingly to the concept of time. And as Pini claims in his concept statement for The Circle, human absence offers viewers an introspective journey, and the opportunity to place ourselves in the scene. The artwork is an introspective journey for the artist too, as it takes root from Pini’s lived experience. “These creations always have a strong personal footprint, which is affected by how I’m seeing the world at that moment of creation,” he says. Pini’s vision and freedom to create his own realities – that may appear to toe the line of dystopia – are always a fragmented projection of a utopian future. The Circle is an evocation of time and memory and semiotically details Pini’s affinity for both the shape and its derived meaning. “We are a circle, without boundaries, beginning or end. Infinity, unity, connection… just a circle in expansion.”
Pini’s blend of architecture and objects in nature, achieves a level of surrealism and intrigue not found in everyday life. From the Barcelona studio, Six N. Five continues to create successful digital experiences by engaging the senses and provoking viewers to daydream. Because, as the studio ethos dictates, escaping reality even just for a moment can be the key to unlocking the reservoirs of our existence.
Aaron Chapman is an Australian artist and writer based in Murwillumbah whose work is motivated by space, memory, and architecture, often considering the concept of ‘home’ and its psychological impact.