Theme: Simply Beautiful

If there’s anything to wash away the travel-ban blues at the moment, it’s the fantasy landscapes and architectural dreamscapes created by Cape Town digital artist Alexis Christodoulou. His fanclub of 170k Instagram followers will attest to being transported to wondrous reaches of the imagination every time one of the artist’s 3D renders pops up on their feed. “Maybe it offers a break from everything else going on on Instagram,” says Christodoulou, whose images glow in soft, calming tones. “People tell me it gives them some kind of relief or escapism – the idea of a world that could be created.” His utopian imagery ranges from light-teeming grottos and shallow swimming pools pared with dramatic walls, archways, pillars and staircases, to interior scenes where shadows stretch over solitary pieces of furniture or sculpture. Sometimes you’ll see a subtle touch of animation: a curtain blowing in the breeze, or the rippling movement of water. The former advertising copywriter started teaching himself to render through YouTube tutorials six years ago and, as his technical skills have improved, he has, more recently, begun to add aspects of nature to his imagery. An Instagram post from 25 March shows a huge sunken daybed-cum-sofa in the middle of an undulating field of purple and golden blooms, with the title ‘All things must pass’. It has amassed over 33,000 likes thus far. “There have been a few images that have gone slightly viral since the beginning of lockdown,” says Christodoulou. “As people have been forced to stay home, they’re allowing themselves to dream a bit more. My images tap into that.” Because his work reflects Northern Hemisphere seasons, we in South Africa can expect more floral, sunlit presentations in the coming months. That’s if Christodoulou finds time to dedicate to his Insta-feed while juggling a myriad commissions. Besides the projects he’s worked on for Grohe, LG, La Mer and Kenzo perfumes, he’s also created intoxicating pages for magazines like Wallpaper, Icon Design and WWD, with Kinfolk next in line. Although he calls on freelancers when the job requires additional expertise in texturing, lighting and animation, all images are created solely by Christodoulou, whose inspiration stems from Modernist architecture. “This isn’t something new,” he says of the make-believe worlds he’s fashioning. “It’s just being done in a new way, with a medium that has never really been used to make clean, escapist, modern aesthetics.”

100 Beautiful Things is presented by the V&A Waterfront in celebration of South Africa’s creativity, compassion, ingenuity and resilience. Every week we will be showcasing five amazingly beautiful creative things that make us proud. It is curated in partnership with Platform Creative.