Oct 15, 2014

Egoz Wickham - Interview and Abstract Tutorial

© CJ "Egoz" Wickham
What is your name and where do you live? 

My name is CJ "Egoz" Wickham, and I hail from Stockton, California. 

How did you get started in mobile photography? What device do you use?

One day I decided I wanted a cooler looking Facebook profile picture, so I downloaded the app that would start me on this new path: Toonpaint. After I did a few of my friends photos, I downloaded a couple more apps... That began this Avalanche of art. I use only the current iPhone that is out, and only apps on that phone. No PC or Photoshop. 

Do you have a traditional photography or art background?

I have always been creative, but not in the artistic sense. In fact if you were to put a paintbrush in my hand, it would remind you of a kindergartner' style lol. Somehow once I started using apps, it just clicked. 

Who or what inspires you?

Color. I love color in all its glory. Whether it's the art I make or the clothes I wear, I love myriads of colors flowing everywhere.

© CJ "Egoz" Wickham

© CJ "Egoz" Wickham

Do you plan your shoots with an end in mind or do you shoot and decide later as you edit?

One thing that keeps my style fresh is having no plan. I hop from app to app, experimenting with blending and layering. Only towards the very end of any piece do I coax it to look like something. 

© CJ "Egoz" Wickham

© CJ "Egoz" Wickham

Your work is mainly surreal abstract composited images. Do you use stock photos in your editing?

Sometimes. I try and have most of my work be things and people I myself have taken. Occasionally I reach out to google and search for free/stock photos just to bring it all together. I have networked with artists and models over the last 5 years, so constantly I get images sent to me by them to use. Networking keeps me fresh.

© CJ "Egoz" Wickham

What are your favorite apps for editing?

If I had to pick the three most influential apps to my style? Superimpose - layering TangledFX - painterly/line smoothing Pixlr-o-matic - filters. To be honest, I constantly try out new apps and funnel them into my style. I'm very open to trying new things, and get excited for that moment when I realize "THIS WILL BLEND WELL WITH THIS OTHER APP".

© CJ "Egoz" Wickham

Have you ever sold your work? If not, any plans for the future?

All in all I have probably sold around 20 canvases, 15 prints, a few coffee table books, and phone cases. I've been in a few art shows, and plan to be in many more.

© CJ "Egoz" Wickham

© CJ "Egoz" Wickham

Is there anything else you'd like to add? 

The secret to my success (and by success I mean the joy I have in creating) lies in experimentation. Jumping out of my own comfort zone has led to many evolutions of my style.

Find Egoz:  Facebook / Instagram / Phone Number for orders: 209.565.EGOZ (3469) 

Tutorial by "Egoz"

For this tutorial I wanted to show how to start with nothing and end with a highly detailed, intricate edit. I use Superimpose for a lot of my layering and blending. For those that have not used it before, I highly suggest it. When I reference foreground and background in this tutorial, I am referring to Superimpose. 

The first step is the creation of colors. I bring an all white image into Superimpose, both foreground and background. Using the settings button "upper right" and the filter tab "highlighted" I can change the two layers to any color I choose. I wanted to start building geometric shapes and colors to play off of. 

Use the transform tab to then place your shapes wherever you feel like. There is no rhyme or reason to what I do, I like to organically go with the flow. After each square of color click the flatten button (top left) and it flattens the two together, so you can add a new foreground. Rinse repeat until you are satisfied with random colors.  (below)

Add as many colors as you want. Then save to your camera roll. 

First Saved Image (below)

Now let's hop over to one of my new favorite apps, Matter. One of the best features of this app is that the shapes you add to your image can reflect what's in your image inside of them. See how there are mini versions of our background in the discs?

Now let's bring up the app iColorama S, a tricky to use yet highly detailed app. I can get lost in there for hours. We are going to use the Brush section, "Artist" brush. Now when you click this your entire pic will go stark white. Do not fret! We are using the abstract brush.

Select a Brush from the Brush menu. Under "Set", Raise your size variation and your color variation, this will ensure that you get a myriad of shapes and colors. The artist brush reacts to your source image and brings it to the front using the style you've chosen. 

So you see, our background is still there in spirit, with tons of details. If you add a bit of detail that you're not happy with, you can always start over! 

iColorama S results (below)

This is my favorite part, blending. Go back into Superimpose. Set the background using our Matter discs version. The foreground should be our detailed iColorama edit. 

Line them up perfectly (the cross button upper right) then go to the "transform" tab. Hit the upper right settings button, and a choice of blending styles will show up below. We are looking for the "difference" blend. Since our foreground and background are similar colors, the difference blend makes them go inverted. Look at all these crazy colors!!

Ok now we are going to the filter tab. Click the background, then the gears button. The last tab is blur. Max out the blur. If you see all our details we made blurring, you may be on the foreground. Make sure to click background before blurring. Now we get to keep the details from icolorama and add a nice soft element to the piece. Don't forget to flatten again when you are done. (To flatten hit the Home button, Transform and then the Merge Down icon which looks like two stacked layers) 

Ok to tie this all back to something less abstract, let's bring in a silhouette. I Googled free silhouettes/stock silhouettes to get some I knew would not be someone's property. 

To extract the silhouette, we are using the mask tab, the color range masking tool, and sliding the threshold to 100 percent. Then by clicking anywhere that's white, will remove all the white!

Switch to the transform tab, move your silhouette to your liking, and voila! You have an intricately detailed, colorful piece from just a white square. 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you have any questions, I'm an open book. 

Apps Mentioned (Interview and Tutorial)

Tangled FX


  1. Congrats on a great interview CJ and awesome job on the tutorial! Well done my brotha.

  2. Thank you so much. Half the credit goes to Geri, as she had to turn my jumbled words and bad formatting into a clean blog post :)

  3. You're giving me far too much credit CJ! So happy to have another abstract artist featured here!

  4. Congrats CJ on your interview! Awesome interview Geri..love CJ's work and am glad to see his work on your wonderful site for all to see!

  5. Hey Wayman - it was great to learn more about him and his work - It's nice to see that you, Brent and CJ are all "brothers"!

  6. Carl. Thank for great tips and tutorial...

  7. Thank you so much for the tips and tutorial. Do you have an online class?

  8. Hi Elvia - not sure Carl saw this but if you'd like to contact him you can try contacting him through Instagram http://instagram.com/alteregoz

  9. Hi elvia! Feel free to contact me via email. Alteryourself@gmail.com


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