Martin Dingli was born in Sliema, Malta in 1960. The fourth of five children, he spent a privileged childhood growing up in an historic palazzo in the magnificent bastion city of Valetta. In line with family tradition he was sent at 7 years of age to a strict and traditional British boarding school where he spent much of his time subverting rules and regulations.
At 14, his entire family migrated to Melbourne, Australia, where Dingli completed his schooling, and took a university degree in mechanical engineering. This translation to a radically different country and culture had a significant formative effect on the artist, creating a duality of citizenship and seeing which remains highly influential in his work.
Dingli spent a number of years in automotive design before transferring his skills to marketing of high end cars both in Australia and then after a return to Europe in Milan, Rome and finally back in Malta.
By his mid-thirties, a yearning for ‘something more’ saw him abandon his formal career . It was during this hiatus that Dingli began in earnest to develop the artistic skills which had until then been merely a secret but enjoyable pass-time.
Returning and settling once again in Australia, Dingli began his career as a full time artist, developing an extensive body of work before beginning to share and show his creations.
Now living in Manhattan, New York, Dingli’s aim is to push the ever-expanding boundaries of digital art technology and to create works which he hopes will engage, intrigue and confound the viewer.
As a fully self-taught artist, Martin Dingli breaks all the rules - or more correctly, makes up his own, having never been schooled to formal techniques and formulae.
In the digital world in which he operates, Dingli has developed a range of visual styles, textures and techniques which baffle fellow digital artists. Some images appear to be brush painted in oils, others shimmer with the depth and clarity of stained glass.
Dingli is an omniverous observer of the world with a particular eye for forensic detail. He is inspired by minutae, fragmentary snippets of detail which he captures via digital camera and then manipulates or magnifies almost beyond recognition in his large scale works. A tiny segment of a bird’s feather may become a digital brush which creates the eyelashes of a masked woman.
Dingli grazes widely across genres, covering a range which can only be described as eclectic - journeying through land and culture scapes, abstract designs, figures and futuristic fantasies. A significant portion of his work, however, is drawn from the historic architecture and culture of Malta, and the vast natural wonder of his adopted homeland of Australia.
What distinguishes Dingli’s work is that which is hidden. Each work may be viewed as it first appears - a face, a forest, a figure - but closer inspection rewards the viewer with multiple layers of secret meaning revealed in images and symbols deeply embedded in layer up on layer of digital brushing.
“Those who look at my work should expect the unexpected,” says Dingli. “You need to see beyond the surface story to what lies beneath.”
The Creative Process
“I’m inspired by everything that is around me,” says Dingli. “I revel in the diversity and chaos of people, feelings, places and energy - all of which are shifting and changing eternally.
“I like to capture tiny bits of this whirlpool of experience and draw out its meaning. Each day I come home and ask myself ‘what did I see today’?
“Then I might create a digital brush that looks like the pavement that I walked on, or pull out an angle from a bench I saw someone sitting on.
“In this way I can isolate a moment in the chaos and delve into the detail. Joining these fragments together I am able to create something new, something never seen before, but which is fully sourced from reality.
“My work is not about judgement - I don’t seek to make particular political or social statements. What I present is an opportunity for seeing differently, for exploring the hidden and engaging with the mysterious.
“And of course like all art, my work exists only in the eye of the beholder. I’m shocked sometimes by what people see - things I certainly never intended in any vision of my creation. But that’s where the magic lies.”