For the artist known as Xopher Wallace, it all started with a recurring dream he had as a child.
In the dream, he would speak to people around him, but they never engaged. When he looked at his reflection, Wallace realized he was only a silhouette.
“In society I think we’re under pressure to only show the good side in our lives, whereas in my work I express even some of my negative feelings or feelings that make me feel uncomfortable,” Wallace said.
“For me, dealing with empty spaces is also dealing with an empty canvas, so I could decorate it as much as I want,” Wallace explained, adding he can shoot day or night, then digitally include extra visual elements such as lights or smoke.
The 27-year-old visual artist blends the real world with the virtual one. Credit: Courtesy of Xopher Wallace
When the pandemic prompted nationwide lockdowns, shutting down galleries across the country, Wallace hosted his own online exhibition named “Inside/Outside,” inviting other South African visual artists to showcase their work. On the first day alone, Wallace said the event drew nearly 5,000 viewers.
Strengthening that online presence has allowed Wallace to expand the audience for his art, as well as help shine a light on other African digital artists.
“Times are changing,” he said. “People are looking into investing into the virtual realm instead of physical spaces.”
Scroll through the gallery at the top of this page to see the ways Wallace uses photography and mixed reality to present his dream world.