After studying fine arts at New York University, Carol Civre felt constrained by the traditionality of classic art. This notion led her to seek a new creative method that could free her expressionism from physical limitations.







To understand Carol Civre's art, you first have to understand her penchant for nonconformity. "I found the traditional art world quite uninspiring," the Italian artist tells Hypebae. After graduating from NYU with a fine arts degree she dove head-first into CGI and 3D modeling, seeking to free her practice of physical limitations. Having collaborated with the likes of Tory Burch and BIMBA Y LOLA, Civre’s art fluctuates between what’s real and what’s possible. Here, Civre talks about pioneering the industry with her unique view on the representation of modern beings, her favorite collaborations and the future of digital bodies.


What inspired you to start diving into digital?

I was always more interested in working as a freelance artist with my own clients rather than participating in the gallery circuit. I initially thought I would become an illustrator, but I was then introduced to 3D in college through an internship at Coach. After I graduated, I started to learn how to use 3D programs on my own. When I started sharing my work on social media, I began to feel like I had a community of people that were interested in what I was making and this is what encouraged me to really dive into it.


I think companies today are using the term metaverse to encapsulate anything that has to do with the digital world and are pushing it as a new concept but it has existed for a long time – think Second Life, IMVU, Runescape, Roblox, even Club Penguin. The idea of a universal metaverse is just a rebranding of existing concepts and in my opinion, it's being pushed in a way that is not genuine. I personally don't like the word, if you couldn't tell. I think it's generally diminutive and misleading because it tries to group aspects of digital culture that, while related, are actually quite distinct (like digital worlds, digital currency, digital art, VR, avatars) into an easily marketable package.


"Any time you create a humanoid digital character, you are representing some facet of human identity. There's so much room for positive representation and experimentation."



They are endless! Which is a really cool thing, but also something to be mindful of. Any time you create a humanoid digital character, you are representing some facet of human identity. There's so much room for positive representation and experimentation, but despite the limitless possibilities, most of the tools available to 3D designers are still limited  because they were not created with representation in mind. For example, many character creation tools do not have suitable options available for Black hairstyles, or they make it almost impossible to create characters with heavier builds. The good thing is that a lot of digital artists are trying to create custom solutions to these problems in order to push digital representation further — to a place where people can use the power of digital creation to imagine identities outside of physical possibility and including diversity within characters without being limited by technology


It definitely offers the industry an entirely new avenue to advertise and display products. I work for a company called Idoru as Lead Character Artist, creating an app in which people can create avatars of themselves, get dressed in clothes and accessories, access products from physical brands and create content to share in online communities. This not only allows brands to connect with an audience in a new way, but also enables people to play and participate in the fashion space in a more accessible way without cost or availability barriers.


"I can see digital identity becoming intrinsically TIED TO PEOPLE’S IRL PERSONAS."


Speaking of these accessibility shifts, how do you think Web3 will change the way younger generations grow up?

I can see digital identity becoming intrinsically tied to people's IRL personas. We experience this already in some ways; we've all judged someone by their profile before ever meeting them, or making up our minds based on a handle. As we spend more time online, I see this reality becoming greater and people relying more and more on their digital identities socially, personally and professionally. 

Web3 can certainly grant younger generations more vast and accessible ways to connect than ever before. On the other hand, I can also see a growing anxiety to make the right impression online. This anxiety is fueled by the fear of not being granted real-life opportunities if our digital identities fail to impress, which can sometimes feel challenging, especially after seeing so many perfectly curated profiles.

Does your digital identity resemble your physical appearance?

Some days I feel like I want to be seen as I am IRL and sometimes I want to be a little baby doll or an exaggerated hentai-adjacent version of myself. This is all possible when dealing with digital representation. I think identity can fluctuate over time – even day to day. This can mean anything from the way you wear your hair and the clothes you choose to how you present your gender identity. It isn't always possible to experiment with your physical appearance IRL, not just because of physical and economic restrictions, but also because of societal ones. Avatars offer an endless way of experimenting with the visual aspect of ourselves and I often take advantage of this. 



How do you think Web3 is influencing IRL identity?

I think the term Web3 makes everyone confused and frenzied over how to participate in a world that they can't understand. Web3, in its original meaning, refers to the name adopted for a decentralized internet. While some people might interact with this definition of Web3 if they are interested in NFTs or participate in any blockchain-based metaverses, the general population is not currently plugged into this interaction or discourse. Even though we are increasingly becoming involved in a decentralized internet, a lot of people use Web3 to refer to our current digital ecosystem and all the different parts that make it up –– anything from social media, 3D art, NFTs, avatars, VR to AR. The difference between Web2 and Web3 is not clear-cut and I think it causes confusion. So, while the trends and digital culture that arise from the different representations of Web3 can be really interesting, I also feel like a part of the population is left feeling a bit isolated and confused about what it means and how they can become involved.

What are the biggest trends that have caught your attention when looking at digital fashion's influence on IRL fashion?

Because I consider myself a maximalist, the exaggerations that can be created digitally really interest me. For example, super exaggerated, sometimes physically impossible-looking nails and clothes, prosthetics that make models look less "human," or even just casting people with unconventional features, which has been more prevalent in the fashion industry over the last few years. I also think that IRL events in the fashion industry have become more like performances or "immersive experiences," rather than just simple showcases of clothes, accessories, or beauty products. Brands are trying to engage audiences used to constant immersion in the never-ending scroll of online content available. By making audiences feel like they are not just consumers but rather part of a "community," these immersive showcases are trying to translate how people feel connected when participating in digital culture to a real-life space and industry.


How do you see internet aesthetics like “glitch”, distortion and cyborg bodies infiltrating the IRL?

I think this is just an evolution of what the post-internet movement was in the ‘00s. As the internet grew ever more intertwined with people's lives, the IRL started to interpret the internet as part of an art and aesthetics movement that reflected the visual cacophony of the early web. Post-internet artists would create physical works that imitated pixels, glitches and 3D graphics of the first computers. I think these new popularized trends are just revised versions of the glitch core, seapunk and vaporwave aesthetics that littered our Tumblr pages in the early ‘10s; versions that reflect the updated and ever-evolving present graphics of our many screens.

The fashion industry is witnessing its audience experience the world through a digital lens more than ever before. I think these trends in fashion are just an attempt to meet their audiences' online interests in a way that translates to real life. Instead of drawing inspiration from our natural world, we now see a heavy emphasis on translating phenomenons like face filters and transhuman digital edits into makeup and runway looks. 

Because of the speed at which the web evolves, there is no rule book for how to make this connection between the digital and the real. Sometimes it feels like a new aesthetic can arise overnight just to be replaced by a viral trend a few days later. Translating these fast-evolving aesthetics into more tangible concepts by incorporating them into the landscape of fashion feels like an attempt by the industry to bridge the disconnect between digital and IRL.


"I really believe that part of the way technology can benefit humans has a lot to do with the intentions behind its creation."


What excites you about the future merge between human and technology and how do you think that theme will continue to arise in your work?

I am personally more excited about the collaboration between humans and machines rather than the idea of a "merge." If Joel Garreau’s book Radical Evolution: The Promise of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies and What it Means to be Human taught me anything, it’s that humans should stay mindful when creating technology. I really believe that part of the way technology can benefit humans has a lot to do with the intentions behind its creation. In the same vein, I also think makers of technology have a responsibility to do so ethically. AI is just a product of what it's been fed by humans, remember how Twitter taught Microsoft's teenage AI chatbot to be racist in less than a day? But I do see a lot of diverse people entering the tech space as it becomes more and more mainstream, which gives me hope for the future of technology.