Omer (@omerika) is the creator of some of the most whimsical digital art that you will find on Instagram. It's mesmerizing - the kind of stuff that you could stare at for quite some time just to absorb all of the little, perfect details. She puts heaps of time and effort into every creatione and we love how she uses Mextures to add to every piece. Below you'll find a lovely conversation we had with her about her photography, editing and monster mouse. Enjoy!
I'm Omer (@omerika) and I'm from Israel. I'm a graphic designer by title, but I mostly create digital art. I love animals A LOT which is why I'm a vegetarian and have recently gone vegan. I own 3 cats and a monster mouse (it's not really a monster mouse - it's a Chihuahua but she looks like a mouse and acts like a monster so). My favorite things to do are pretty boring. I love watching TV shows. I get inspired by TV and movies a lot. Mostly I love creating my digital art - it's my favorite thing and it keeps me sane (well, that is if you can even refer to me as sane). I love learning new things and am always looking for new inspirations and watching tutorials, and I love to dream. I really hope that one day at least one of my dreams will be fulfilled and I'll get to do what I love for a living. That would make me the happiest.
What got you in to creating digital art?
Basically what got me into creating my digital art was my graphic design studies. I have always been drawn to digital art and that was what attracted me to design school in the first place. The closer I got to the end of my studies the more I found myself interested in digital art and surrealism rather than designing the assignments I had for school. When it was time to do my final project in my studies I had to look for references and I found myself wandering the internet and discovering some amazing and incredible things that made me feel so inspired and motivated to create those things myself. So I started experimenting and spending even more quality time within Photoshop creating. But the thing that really got me into digital art more "aggressively" was actually Instagram. I just wanted my feed to have my personal touch on it.
So how has Instagram influenced your work?
The funny (and pretty awkward) thing is that at first I didn't even know Instagram was a social network. I used it for almost a year just for the filters. I love film photography and that retro feeling those filters gave to my photos was very new and exciting to me. One night when I was bored and just sitting and editing photos, I checked the "other features" Instagram had and discovered a whole new world.
Today I can definitely say that the people and the feeds I encounter daily have influenced my style and taste in photography and art. I mean, until I started engaging on Instagram I didn't even like photos of nature and now I find myself obsessing over forests, foggy fields, macros and scenery. I'm so mind-blown by so many incredible photos and pieces of art on a daily basis and it just encourages me to keep creating and to take photos myself.
What does your typical editing process look like?
Every time I'm asked to explain my editing process I feel so embarrassed about it because it's so clumsy. I would say that probably 99% of my photos are spontaneous and unplanned. I usually come up with an idea in my head while I'm doing something or even while I'm working on another photo and I just grab my camera and get right to it.
While I take the photos I'm usually quite focused because I already have an image in my mind of how I want it to look. From there I take it into Photoshop to "do all of the magic" and then the mess begins.
I spend quite some time on every picture to be honest because I'm horribly indecisive and I change my mind about the tones and colors and stuff. I experiment with it for hours and sometimes days. It's my biggest flaw. I'm probably my own worst critic and I always try to improve (or re-edit) things even when they don't really require improvement. I think that things can always look better and be upgraded, but I always try to keep photos as classic and as minimal as I possibly can and leave them as they are and be happy about it.
When you use Mextures for an edit how do you generally implement it into your process?
Usually I edit everything in the same way - experiment the hell out of it. The options are pretty much endless with Mextures so it's insane for someone as indecisive as myself. With each photo I try to create the atmosphere and vibe that I want for its look. Sometimes when I want a "cleaner" style I can just play within the Adjustments option alone and see what I like best and leave it there. If I want the old film style and more of an edgy retro or vintage look then I play a lot with the textures. I love the Grit and Grain pack especially!
Do you feel like Mextures offers you anything unique?
Well I think it's the only app that really allows you to achieve that really old, raw film look - which I love! I've used tons of other apps trying to get that look but none of them created the same effects as Mextures did. It gives that unique vibe to photos that I personally couldn't achieve with other apps and I love it. The more Mextures develops the better it becomes. The social aspect with the formula sharing - which is pretty amazing - is part of the app that I love!
What has been your favorite piece to create so far?
Wow... that's a tough one! I enjoy creating almost every surreal picture, unless it becomes a drag and then I just throw it away (which happens quite often). I really enjoyed creating "The Tree House" because I was really focused on making it as magical and surreal as I could and I also wanted it to look very natural and realistic at the same time. People seemed to like it eventually so that was nice. And I love creating double exposures - it's one of my favorite styles of pictures. Pretty much every double exposure picture I have was really fun to create. But really, every photo I end up posting was fun to create!
What goes into creating a piece like that?
If I remember correctly I think it took me a day or two to make. I always leave a photo for a bit and go back to it after a while. That helps me to see the image clearly and be less sloppy with the editing. This piece was also super spontaneous. I just stared at some pictures I took from a walk in the woods and I looked at this picture of a tree (I have no idea why I even took that picture) and I just came up with an idea and started playing with it. I added windows and blended them in and then added the lighting and everything else you see in the picture.
As a graphic designer, does your Instagram feed serve as a portfolio of sorts?
I guess it does in a way, but not entirely. I post lots of photos to Instagram which in many cases I don't post anywhere else. It's kind of a social-portfolio if you can call it that. I have other social networks for photography but it's different with Instagram because it really is a combination of those two aspects with a focus on the social part. When I first started using Instagram my account was set on private and I kept it that way for about 2 years. I'm quite private about myself and I didn't really like the idea of people I didn't know seeing "my life" in photos. But after a while I looked at my feed and saw that my photos weren't really that "personal" in terms of sharing life moments - it was really more of an artistic expression. So I set my account to public and it has been so much more enjoyable than it was before. I have encountered so many amazing people on Instagram and some great things have happened because of it that would never have happened if my feed was still private.
Who are the people that have inspired your work the most?
There are so many!
I have to say that the first feed that I saw and couldn't stop obsessing over would have to be @fallng.north. I saw his account one day through an Instagood feature and I was so mind-blown by his work. I love surreal, miniature photography and he probably owns some of the best work that I've seen in that department. It's so creative and magical and every time he posts a new photo I'm amazed on a whole new level. Plus he's such a kind and nice guy so it makes me an even bigger fan.
Speaking of magical, there's @adamtacon who I did my first Instagram collaboration with. I just love his mushroom macros. They look like a fairytale land and I couldn't pass up a chance to ask for a collaboration and he's one of the nicest people I've met on Instagram.
And another who's not in the macro department but his feed is filled with beauty and magic - @zmlcl who's also one of my favorite people on Instagram.
The awesome forest boys - @vincentcroce and @tylerforesthauser - who blow me away with their forest captures and bring out the big green beast of envy that's inside of me every time they post a photo.
There are so many more but I'll never have enough time to talk about everyone.
Make sure to check in on more of Omer's beautiful work at @omerika!