Tayla Blewitt-Gray is an Australian artist who got into machinima in 2016 for a university project during the third year of her undergraduate degree. She had previously watched shows such as Red vs Blue (2003- ) and had seen a few other artists also working with machinima. After spending the previous year experimenting with supercuts – a montage of clips with a common topic -, machinima making felt like working on an extension of the remix culture. Tayla already owned a copy of Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V, 2013) for Playstation 4 and was attracted by the idea of the kind of content she could make unrelated to the original material. At that time, the game had not yet incorporated Rockstar Editor which would allow her to adjust the camera, so she learned to work around it by using the first-person mode to capture shots. Even when Rockstar Editor was introduced later in 2015, she still found some limitations to experimentation within the medium:
She began with creating short narratives and later on even moved into more innovative abstract imagery with other pieces. In The Lighthouse (2017) and Escape (2017), she experimented with how one idea could be approached in several ways leading to different endings. Both works address similar themes – alienation, anxiety and loneliness – and were selected for the Milan Machinima Festival.
Grand Theft Auto V and Rockstar Editor © Take 2 Interactive
Inspired by fellow artists like Lainy Voom, Tayla has oriented her interests into creating more experimental work using videogames as a vessel for creative expression, researching how her concepts fit into a larger discourse to understand with what or whom she is engaging. She often records areas of GTA V during gameplay and begins to imagine how the textures, colours and shapes would look like after editing. She then tries different angles to capture the abstract imagery she had in mind. For narrative-based projects, she follows a more classic approach of preparing a script and storyboard to keep her on track.
For Tayla, machinima fits into a subcategory of new media art and as such, is heavily influenced by the changes in technology and culture. She is excited to see how creative paths are diverging in machinima, with some artists focusing on narrative and cinematic works, and others moving in the art direction. It was always among her main interests to explore the crossroads of art and technology, pushing herself to find new ways to alter imagery and content, and machinima is an exciting way to achieve this.