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Meet the Artist

Joseph Xerri, 31, is a self taught digital artist born in Gozo, Malta’s sister island. Having graduated in Mechanical Engineering, he decided his career path would follow his real passion: digital art. Having learnt the art of photo manipulation and the creation of photo composites, his art focuses on the surreal and the dramatic, bringing to life pieces that express the sordid realities of our world.

Joseph Xerri is a #1 artist. His portfolio includes various accolades including the Behance Portfolio Reviews Appreciation Award (2015), Runner-up spot in the Advanced Photoshop Cover competition (2014), while his design was chosen for the Official Isle of MTV T-shirt in 2013. In 2019, he bagged the prestigious iGaming Design Idol award.

“I get my inspiration to create art from everyday life,” says Joseph. “As human beings, we directly bear the consequences of many issues affecting our planet, including nature and the way we use its resources.”

So, why did Joseph take the path of surrealism? “I believe that art influences society. Digital art can surely reach a bigger audience – basically, everyone connected through the internet is connected to the rest of the world. I believe that with my work I can change opinions, instil values and translate experiences into a new medium. In my case, I use surreal art to tell a story which, I believe, allows each viewer to interpret it in his/her way.”

As a photo manipulation artist, how does Joseph build one of his typical prints? “It’s a pretty simple but long process to get to the final version of the work, although others may find it less than simple. I have occasionally spent months and years trying to refine a particular piece.”

“First, I start off by doing research. Instead of spending time on social media, I do some research daily and look up anything I need to learn about when an idea hits me. I write it down or create a quick mockup so I make sure the basis is there and can refer to it if needed.”

“Then, when I think I’m on the right track with an idea I like and that might work, I start developing it by looking for different stock imagery. In this case, I'll make sure that it is workable and fits my style, or at least, that the possible interpretations are in line with the idea of what I want to express. If I’m happy, I move on to the execution and blending of the imagery using Adobe Photoshop to find the proper composition.

I also make sure to take a break from each artwork before finalising it. This gives me the opportunity to let it settle and look at it with a fresh pair of eyes. Then, I go back to it after a few days or weeks, sometimes even months, and finalise it. During this stage I look at the details and continue refining to make sure that the photo composite is looking as realistic as possible. Once I'm satisfied with the outcome, I send it off for some test prints, so I’m sure the colours are very close to my screen colours. Then, I can say the piece is final and I publish it.”

Within all this surrealistic drama, what does Joseph’s ideal world look like? “Probably it would be full of nature, greenery and wild animals everywhere. And there would be a lot of great art, yes. Learning about art should be compulsory. Apart from that, music of course! I play the trumpet myself.”

Art prints done by Joseph Xerri can be bought here.