Sejkko is the alter-ego of Venezuelan-born Manuel Pita, a fine art photographer and scientist with a doctoral degree in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science awarded by the University of Edinburgh (Scotland, UK) in 2007. The name Sejkko is derived from the Japanese (セイコ) that means ‘sincere child‘ or ‘force of truth‘. His vision as an artist-scientist is summarised as follows (in his own words),
I seek visions that are celestial, but that have roots, blood, muscles and bones. I seek the magical — often invisible in every-day reality. I seek the wise playfulness of old souls growing up as human children. I seek the tribe, and I seek to be whole alone. I seek the evolution of nature and of technology. I seek a happy ending where they meet and become interlocked in a dance for interdependent survival. I seek a deeper understanding and subjective experience of the underlying principles at work in the universe…
Manuel grew up between his native Venezuela, and the Portuguese countryside island of Madeira where his family emigrated from during the oil boom of the 1970s. In his first drawings and school presentations, Manuel often referred to what he saw as the insurmountable distance between the big city, and the place where the sea was nearer, and fruits could be picked directly from the trees. The shifting between two extremes became manifest later again, when he had to decide to focus on art or science at University. The psychometric tests were not helpful because his was equally — and very strongly — inclined to both. He picked Computer Science. Then, he completed a PhD in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science. And after that, he spent a number of years doing postdoctoral work in Complex Systems, trying to understand how nature processes information.
I wanted to understand how the guava tree knows it is time to make flowers, and how those bananas got brown spots as time passed.
After all this, Manuel went back to the place where he had left the arts behind, and started a path in Fine-Art Photography, creating Sejkko. The character was born in Instagram in the summer of 2012. Today he has over a quarter of a million followers, and his work has been featured in major channels and international news, including Wired magazine, World Photography Organisation, the British Telegraph and The Guardian amongst others.
Sejkko is best known for a series of Lonely Houses in which he explored emotions and topics of universal appeal, like the connection between the notions of home and being whole in aloneness. However, there are other series in Sejkko´s portfolio. One of them is about minimal visions of nature, and another on whimsical minimalistic artefacts, including masks and other art installations. Some of these artworks constitute the Debut collection of limited edition fine art prints that are available through this site.
In terms of visual style, Sejkko favours minimalism overall. He typically uses very soft, pastel tones. His colour palette is largely made of cyan blues, pinks and yellows. The tonal range in Sejkko’s work is often very bright. However. The tones used must embody detail, and character. He often adds a sudden jolt of vibrancy, particularly using red and magenta tones, bringing a tropical element to the artwork’s atmosphere. Compositionally, symmetry is pervasive, as are small and calculated symmetry breaks.
Conceptually, Sejkko’s visions focus almost always on a single subject, on a single idea and emotion. The subject, and what it embodies, may appear as a sort of musical composition made of large notes, or — using another metaphor — an evolved organism. Underneath I think all, Sejkko has spent significant time thinking about the micro cosmos of tiny sounds, and evolutionary time that makes that subject interesting to his eyes. It is always the emergence of the big picture — made of interactions of many small things — what is in one way, or another, documented. The observer may often feel that the subject is telling two interlocked stories. One is about what the organism or song is now. The other is about how it all came into being: what parts and interactions make that organismic ‘now’, and what had to happen in the past for this present to come into existence. In the end, a resonant agreement may be reached between the observer and the subject. A joint moment of unity looking into the upcoming future.
Amongst his influences Manuel cites Haruki Murakami, Gabriel Garcia Márquez, Gioconda Belli, Björk, and Wes Anderson, for being people that “clearly believe, live surrounded by, and share every-day magic“. He also cites Loretta Lux and Sally Mann as “two ends of a complex dimension on which human emotion is portrayed using photos“. He also mentions Mary Ellen Mark and Vivian Maier as a Photographers of magic in the real world he would have loved to meet.
Sejkko is currently working on the second chapter of the Lonely Houses. But also on a new series of portraits that attempts to document the human emotional landscape of this complex time. Sejkko is trying to document the boundaries of this landscape in the near future, where the human cognitive system increasingly becomes augmented by machines, and where novel forms of complex emotion are emerging.