2 September 1969|
Johannesburg, South Africa
University of the Witwatersrand|
University of Cape Town
|Known for||Sculpture and Financial Technology|
Jonty Hurwitz (born 2 September 1969 in Johannesburg) is an artist, engineer and entrepreneur. Hurwitz creates scientifically inspired artworks and anamorphic sculptures. He is recognised for the smallest human form ever created using nano technology.
Jonty Hurwitz was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, to Selwin, a hotelier and entrepreneur and Marcia Berger, a drama lecturer and teacher. Jonty spent his early life living in small hotels in rural towns in South Africa while his father built up his business.
Jonty studied Electrical Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg from 1989 to 1993. His major was Signal Processing. He then joined the University of Cape Town Remote Sensing Group as a full-time researcher under Professor Michael Inggs, publishing a paper on radar pattern recognition.
Following his research post, Hurwitz traveled for a long period of time in India studying Yoga and wood carving.
Career in art
In a 2015, documentary by CNN International on Hurwitz's artwork, BBC Radio 2 art critic Estelle Lovatt commented on Hurwitz's work: "If Leonardo Da Vinci were alive today, he would have been doing what Jonty is doing. He would have been using algorithms. No one else works like him today. His art is the mix between the emotional and the intelligent, and that's what gives it that spark." Hurwitz's work focuses on the aesthetics of art in the context of human perception. His early body of sculpture was discovered by Estelle Lovatt during 2011 in an article for Art of England Magazine: "Thinning the divide gap between art and science, Hurwitz is cognisant of the two being holistically co-joined in the same way as we are naturally, comfortably split between our spiritual and operational self".
Hurwitz began producing sculptures in 2008. In 2009, his first sculpture 'Yoda and the Anamorph' won the People’s Choice Bentliff Prize of the Maidstone Museum and Art Gallery. Later in 2009 he won the Noble Sculpture Prize and was commissioned to install his first large scale work (a nude study of his father called 'Dietro di me') in the Italian village Colletta di Castelbianco. In 2010, he was selected as a finalist for the 4th International Arte Laguna Prize in Venice, Italy.
In January 2013, Hurwitz's anamorphic work was described by the art blogger Christopher Jobson. In a short documentary about Hurwitz's "Generation Pi" philosophy by Vera Productions it is estimated that the sculpture received 20 million views online in the space of a few weeks. In early 2013 Hurwitz was introduced to the Savoy Hotel by London art agent Sally Vaughan. Hurwitz was commissioned to be Artist in Residence at the hotel and produce a sculpture of the hotel’s historically iconic Mascot Kaspar the Cat. Hurwitz lived for several months in the hotel producing the sculpture.
In the same year, Hurwitz was also nominated for the Threadneedle Prize and exhibited a collection at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. By late 2013, in a special edition of Art of England on portraiture, Hurwitz was cited as the #1 portrait artist in the UK. In January 2014 Hurwitz was voted #46 in the top 100 artists of 2013 by the American art site, Empty Kingdom. In the same month, Hurwitz's anamorphic work was blogged as "The best of 2013" by the American Art and Culture magazine, Juxtapoz. In 2013 Hurwitz's work was also curated by Science Gallery International for a touring group show entitled ‘Illusion’ curated by Trinity College Dublin. The show presents a collection of installation artworks from around the world that affect human perception. The exhibition led to a 2014/2015 tour in the USA where it attracted over 170,000 visitors. The show then moved on to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2015 and Leipzig, Germany in 2016.
In late 2014, he released a series of “nano sculptures” under the title of ″Trust″. This series of works captured the attentions of both the scientific and art community, being cited by among others, Nature, Scientific American, Popular Science and Phys.org. In 2015, Hurwitz was elected a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors. In 2016 the Royal Photographic Society selected a Scanning Electron Microscope photograph by Hurwitz and Stefan Diller as one of the top 100 'Royal Society International Images for Science'.
Hurwitz has produced a body of work using both oblique (perspective) and catoptric (mirror) anamorphosis. In an interview with Christopher Jobson, Hurwitz explains his anamorphic inspiration as follows: “I have always been torn between art and physics. In a moment of self-doubt in 2008, I wandered into the National Portrait Gallery and stumbled across a strange anamorphic piece by William Scrots, a portrait of Edward VI from 1546. Followed shortly down the aisle by The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein from 1533. My life changed forever. I rushed home and within hours was devouring the works of M. C. Escher, Da Vinci and many more. In a breath I had found “brothers” in a smallish group of artists spanning 500 years with exactly the same dilemma as me. Within two months I was deep in production of my first work. My art rests on the shoulders of giants, and I am grateful to them.” Anamorphosis as a form of art has a long history. A page in Leonardo Da Vinci’s note book (folio 35 verso a of the Codex Atlanticus) shows two strangely elongated sketches of a child's head and an eye. These distorted and hesitant drawings, the first known anamorphoses, from around 1485”. In the mid-18th Century anamorphosis was also used by Jacobite artists to secretly depict images of Bonnie Prince Charlie in the wake of brutal English censorship.
Hurwitz is a pioneer in creating catoptric sculpture. Until the creation of his first work Rejuvenation, anamorphic sculptures have not been known to have existed in art history. In his online talks, Hurwitz explains that this is a function of processing power and that whilst painting is possible in a mirror, three dimensional anamorphosis could only have come into being with the advent of powerful computers. Each of his sculptures involves billions of calculations using an algorithm derived from the mathematical constant π. Hurwitz asserts that his art is “contemporary to the millisecond”. Kinetic Art curator and director of the London Kinetica Museum, Dianne Harris, described Hurwitz's art as follows "The works of polymath Jonty Hurwitz are contemporary trompe l'oeil, at first glance appearing abstract, but in mirrored reflections, representational".
In 2014, Hurwitz pioneered a new sculptural technique in the field of Nanoart using multiphoton lithography and photogrammetry to create the world’s smallest human portraits of his first love. The works of art were inspired by the nineteenth century marble sculpture of Cupid and Psyche by Antonio Canova, part of the permanent collection of the Louvre Museum, Paris. Hurwitz’s works are so tiny that they are invisible to the human eye, able to be placed on the forehead of an ant. Smaller details of the works are at approximately the 300 nanometer scale, similar to the wavelengths of visible light and are therefore near impossible by the laws of physics to see in the visible spectrum. The only way to observe these works is through a non-optical method of magnification like a scanning electron microscope. To create these works Hurwitz collaborated with a team of over 20 people, including Stephan Hengsbach of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Yehiam Prior of the Weizmann Institute of Science, an art project centred in the world of academic physics. In February 2015, Hurwitz's sculpture "Trust" was awarded the world record for the "Smallest sculpture of a human" by the Guinness Book of Records.
In an interview with Beautiful/Decay Hurwitz explains the philosophy behind the works: “As technology starts to evolve faster than our human perception is able to handle, the line between science and myth becomes blurred. We live in an era where the impossible has finally come to pass. In our own little way we have become demigods of creation in our physical world…. The nano works that I present to you here represent more that just a feat of science though. They represent the moment in history that we ourselves are able to create a full human form at the same scale as the sperm that creates us in order to facilitate the creation.” In an online interview with Slashdot, Hurwitz himself asks the question “How can something you can't see be art?” By basing his work on the myth of Cupid and Psyche he also suggests that our belief in modern science isn't that different from the faith the ancient greeks had in the demigods. The final irony was that the sculptures were destroyed by a touch one week before the images were published on the Internet.
Career in technology
In the mid-90s, Hurwitz arrived in London following his travels in India and got his first job researching financial data visualization for Gilbert de Botton, Chairman and Founder of Global Asset Management (GAM). During this period, he was exposed to de Botton’s open architecture model of asset management. It was Jonty’s close relationship with de Botton, also a major British art collector, that exposed him to the art world. The two maintained a close friendship until de Botton's death in 2000.
Hurwitz left Global Asset Management after two years forming his own company, Delve, to develop the R&D in data visualisation and reporting. Jonty’s main client became de Botton himself. In 1996, GAM launched its financial reporting technology built by Hurwitz, which attracted attention in the financial media, winning several awards. Hurwitz’s newly formed graphics and software team evolved over several years publishing several visualization projects (non-exhaustive list):
- 1997 News International visual archives on the Cold War and the Industrial Revolution, Published by News International
- 1998 Biosys an environmental simulation published by Take 2 Interactive.
- 1998 Hurwitz was selected by the British Foreign Office to build a 3D engine called “Oceans of Innovation” to represent the leading edge of British Innovation. The work was nominated for a BAFTA Award.
Over the years from 2000 to 2005, Hurwitz signed up a large base of asset managers for his reporting and analysis technology. In 2005, Hurwitz’s company Delve was acquired by Alternative Investment Market listed company Statpro Group PLC (SOG). Hurwitz joined Statpro as Creative Director where he designed the first Cloud Computing analytics and risk platform for asset data. In 2008, Statpro launched its flagship product Statpro Revolution which was the result of this R&D. By 2014, eight out of the top ten largest asset managers in the world were Statpro Clients.
Hurwitz was co-founding Chief Technology Officer of Wonga.com in 2007 where he designed and built the first real-time online consumer loan system in the world. During this period, Wonga’s technology won several awards (listed below). By 2011, Wonga had begun to attract criticism and Hurwitz, as the inventor of the technology, found himself with not enough influence to guide the now large company's use of his designs. After several attempts at changing Wonga's strategy, he resigned from his operational role in November 2011, quietly releasing his sculpture entitled Co-Founder.
Hurwitz's technology is credited with several innovations in the financial services industry:
- Financial sliders. A User Interface innovation which allowed customers to easily to get a real-time quote on the exact cost of a loan in pound and pennies. This method of communicating loan information to consumers has been adopted by several of the major high street UK lenders. These include (non-exhaustive list): HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Halifax, Lloyds, Nationwide, Santander Bank, Co-operative Bank, Natwest and Bank of Scotland.
- Real-time risk technology. Wonga’s risk engine was the first ever to evaluate the credit worthiness of a customer in near real time on the internet based on the collection of data from alternative sources in combination with traditional credit scores. The consumer risk technology provided the ability to transfer money to customers within 12 minutes on the basis of the decision.
Hurwitz continues to commit much of his time to fintech startups while at the same time building up his body of artwork. In late 2011 Hurwitz backed Damian Kimmelman, to build a next-generation data provider Duedil. Duedil has since been dubbed "The Bloomberg of private companies" and has emerged as one of the key data providers in Europe and the UK. In 2011, Hurwitz seed funded the financial technology startup behalf.com. In 2012, Hurwitz backed the UK startup bank for young people: Meet Osper.
- A simplified procedure for anamorphic sculpture, 2015. Ayoub, Manal Helal. International Design Journal, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 317–326.
- Art on the Nanoscale and Beyond: Advanced Materials, 2016. Yetisen, A. K. ; Coskun, A. F. ; England, G. ; Cho, S. ; Butt, H. ; Hurwitz, J. ; Kolle, M. ; Khademhosseini, A. ; Hart, A. J. ; Folch, A. ; et al.
- Technology and the Arts: Current Works of Eric Whitaker and Jonty Hurwitz. International Science and Technology Conference (ISTEC) 2015, St. Petersburg, Russia. Written and presented by Mark Konewko, Marquette University, Wisconsen, USA.
- Nanotechnology Cleans Up, Carolien Coon, Physics World, May 2016.
- Appearance-mimicking surfaces. Christian Schüller, Daniele Panozzo, and Olga Sorkine-Hornung. 2014. ACM Trans. Graph. 33, 6, Article 216 (November 2014).
- Cylindrical Mirror Anamorphosis and Urban-Architectural Ambience. Čučaković, A. & Paunović, M. Nexus Netw J (2015) 17: 605.
- Two Photon Absorption & Carrier Generation in Semiconductors. F.R. Palomo1, I. Vila, M.Fernández, P.DeCastro , M. Moll, Departamento Ingeniería Electrónica, Escuela Superior de Ingenieros Universidad de Sevilla, Spain, Instituto de Física de Cantabria, Santander, Spain, SSD Group, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland.
- Anamorphic Experiences in 3D Space: Shadows, Projections and Other Optical Illusions. Symeonidou, I. Nexus Netw J (2016) 18: 779.
- The Magic of Anamorphosis in Elementary and Middle School. Marina Barreto and Diego Lieban, Proceedings of Bridges 2017: Mathematics, Art, Music, Architecture, Education, Culture Pages 553–556.
- Numerical anamorphosis: an artistic exploration. Francesco de Comite and Laurent Grisoni, SA '15 SIGGRAPH ASIA 2015 Art Papers, Article No. 1.
- Sanat ve Tasarımda Anamorfik Görüntüler (Anamorphic Images in Art and Design). Bengisu KELEŞOĞLU, Mehtap UYGUNGÖZ, Anadolu University Art & Design Magazine, Issue 7, 2016.
- Between reality and deception: the anamorphoses in visual communication (Entre a realidade e o engano: as anamorfoses na comunicação visual.), FERREIRA (UNIVERSIDADE DE LISBOA, PORTUGAL), Helena. Visualidades, [S.l.], v. 14, n. 1, set. 2016.
- Drzwi Do Nowej Percepcji – Londyński Festiwal Kinetica Art Fair 2013 / Doors To A New Perception – The London Festival Kinetica Art Fair 2013., Letkiewicz, Marek. 2014 Annales UMCS, Artes. 10(2): 95-106. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
- Anamorphosis in the work of foreign artists at the end of the XX-XXI century (Russian), статья в журнале - научная статья, YOUTH BULLETIN OF THE ST PETERSBURG STATE INSTITUTE OF CULTURE , 2(6), pages 136-139,2016.
- Art and Science Education in Optics: From Multidisciplinary to Transdisciplinary (Arte e Ciência no Ensino de Óptica: Da Multidisciplinaridade à Transdisciplinaridade), Claudemir Batista, Edivaldo Lima, Universidade de São Paulo, e-Disciplinas, Sistema de Apoio às Disciplinas.
- A Geometric Look at 3D Illusionist Techniques. Rodrigues M.H.W.L., Grimaldi M.R., Rodrigues D.W.L. (2019) In: Cocchiarella L. (eds) ICGG 2018 - Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Geometry and Graphics. ICGG 2018. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 809. Springer, Cham.
- "Is this the World's Smallest Sculpture?". A documentary on Hurwitz's nano sculpture made by CNN featuring curator of the Tate Modern, Chris Dercon, sculptor Antony Gormley and art critic Estelle Lovatt. CNN Ones to Watch shines a spotlight on the up-and-coming creative talents set to be the next big names in culture and the arts. Published online and on CNN International, March 2015.
Hurwitz is founder of the Separated Child Foundation which supports unaccompanied refugee children arriving on UK shores.
Awards and nominations
Art and design awards
- 1998, BAFTA Interactive Nomination, Best use of moving image (Delve)
- 1998, BIMA, British Interactive Media Association Awards (Delve)
- 1999, IVCA, International Visual Communications Association, Gold Award (Delve)
- 2009, Noble Sculpture Prize, Liguria, Italy
- 2009, Bentlif Art Prize, Maidstone Museum & Art Gallery, People Choice Award, United Kingdom
- 2000, IVCA, International Visual Communications Association, Nomination, Award for Innovation (Delve)
- 2000, New Media Age Nomination, Special Award for Innovation (Delve)
- 2010, Arte Laguna Prize, Finalist, Venice, Italy
- 2010, Gofigurative Art Prize, Peoples Vote, London, United Kingdom
- 2015, Guinness World Records, The Smallest Sculpture of a Human Form
- 2015, Guinness World Records, The Smallest Animal Sculpture
- 2016, The Royal Photographic Society, Finalist, International Images for Science
(Teams under Hurwitz's creative direction)
- 2000, BIMA Nomination, New Consumer Focused Services Online (Delve)
- 2001, EMMA, Technical Excellence, Interactivity (Delve)
- 2002, BIMA Nomination, Banking and Financial Services Technology (Delve)
- 2008, Highly commended - Orange Best Use of Technology (Wonga)
- 2009, IMA Outstanding Achievement Award - financial services category (Wonga)
- 2009, Most Innovative Application of Technology - Customer, Financial Innovation Awards (Wonga)
- 2009, Credit Risk Team of the Year, Credit Today Awards (Wonga)
- 2010, Best Use of Technology, Fast Growth Business Awards (Wonga)
- 2010, Best Site of the Year - Banking & Bill Payment Category, Webby Awards (Wonga)
- 2010, 2nd in Guardian’s Tech Media Invest 100, Guardian (Wonga)
- 2010, 1st in ‘10 European Technology Companies to Watch’, Telegragh (Wonga)
- 2010, 8th in Startups 100, Startups.co.uk - recognises the UK’s most innovative new companies (Wonga)
- Tracks: Jonty Hurwitz, on ARTE 29 June 2013.
- "Artist Creates Sculptures So Tiny They Can't Be Seen By The Human Eye". Huffington Post, Leigh Weingus. 14 November 2014.
- "Synthetic Range Profile Measurements of Aircraft, COMSIG-93, COMSIG '93:204 – 209, September 1993. M R Inggs, J.B. Hurwitz, and A. Langman." COMSIG. 1993.
- "Is this the World's Smallest Sculpture?". CNN. March 2015.
- Mathematics of Self (8 January 2018). Art of Jonty Hurwitz. Blurb, Incorporated. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-389-03122-9.
- "Art of England, Estelle Lovatt, Feb 2011 publication, p50" (PDF). Art of England. Feb 2011.
- Art of England Magazine
- "Winner of Art Prize Announced". Kent Online. 6 February 2009.
- "Bernard Noble Sculpture Prize". Feb 2011.
- Dietro di me by Jonty Hurwitz
- "Arte Laguna Exhibition Catalogue, p106" (PDF). Arte Laguna Prize. 2010.
- "The skewed anamorphic sculptures and engineered illusions of Jonty Hurwitz". Christopher Jobson, Colossal. 21 January 2013.
- "The Paintbrush of Mathematics". Vera Productions. March 2013.
- "London's Savoy Hotel continues its artist in residence tradition". Artlyst. April 2013.
- "A homage to Kaspar the friendly Cat checks in at the Savoy's new eatery". The Independent. April 2013.
- "Six of the Best, Sally Vaughan, Aug 2013". Art of England. Aug 2013.
- "Top 100 artists of 2013, Empty Kingdom". Empty Kingdom. 31 January 2014.
- "Best of 2013: Sculpture by Jonty Hurwitz". Juxtapoz. 31 December 2013.
- Science Gallery International Archived 12 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Real fun at Fleet's 'Illusion' exhibit". U-T San Diego, Karla Peterson. 30 May 2014.
- "Science Gallery Dublin honoured with dedicated 68c stamp". Business & Leadership Magazine. 7 January 2015. Archived from the original on 10 January 2015.
- "Image of the Month: November 2014". Nature Journal, Daniel Cressey. 5 December 2014.
- "Physics Week in Review". Scientific American, Jennifer Ouellette. 20 December 2014.
- "When science and art produce nanosculpture marvels". Phys.org, Nancy Owano. 18 November 2014.
- "From droplets on a spider web to a spiral galaxy: Stunning photos reveal the natural beauty in science". Daily Mail, Libby Plumner. 7 September 2016.
- "Anamorphic Sculptures Made With Algorithms". Twisted Sifter. 17 April 2013.
- "Anamorphoses in the eyes of Leonardo". The Smithsonian, Holly Sloofman. 26 August 2009.
- "How to Hide a Forbidden Image in Plain Sight". Core77, Rain Noe. 22 July 2014.
- "Anamorphic Sculptures". Ignant. 13 January 2013.
- "Anamorphic sculptures by Jonty Hurwitz". Design Boom. 21 January 2013.
- "Kiss of Chytrid: Anamorphic art by Jonty Hurwitz". Urban Ghost Media. 5 February 2013.
- "Contemporary Art is Measured in Milliseconds". NSFW Youtube, Vera Productions, Jonty Hurwitz. March 2013.
- "Kinetica Museum Artist Profile, 2013". Kinetica. 2013.
- "Trust". Chemical and Engineering News. 16 December 2014.
- "Enter the Photo Studios of the 21st Century". All3DP. 29 December 2014.
- "Sculpture of a human 80 x 100 x 30 micrometers". Guinness World Records. 13 Feb 2015.
- "Jonty Hurwitz's sculptures are so small the can't be seen with the human eye". Beautiful/Decay. 12 November 2014.
- "Ask Jonty Hurwitz about Art and Engineering". Slashdot. January 2015.
- "Elegant Nano Sculptures Fit Comfortably Inside the Eye of a Needle". The Creators Project, Beckett Mufson. 13 November 2014.
- "Artist spends ten months creating sculptures which are half the width of a human hair... only for his friend to accidentally crush them a few minutes later". Daily Mail, Stephanie Linning. December 2014.
- "Bafta plugs into interactive awards". BBC. 9 October 1998.
- "Acquisition of Delve, a leading supplier of enterprise and web reporting". Proactive Investors. 4 July 2005.
- "Eight out of the top ten largest asset managers in the world Statpro Clients". Statpro. 20 October 2014.
- "Your prosperity could depend on an Algorithm". Will Sawney,Guardian. 16 October 2011.
- "The algorithm that beats your bank manager". Parmy Olson, Forbes. 15 March 2011.
- "Duedil secures funding from Jonty Hurwitz". Growth Business, Thomas Hobbs. 14 December 2011.
- "UK startup dubbed 'Bloomberg of private companies' raises $17m". Financial Times, Jonathan Moules. 3 March 2014.
- "Challenged by Upstarts, Lenders try a New Strategy: Cooperation". New York Times, Randall Smith. 7 January 2015.
- "Art on the Nanoscale and Beyond". Adv. Mater. December 2016. doi:10.1002/adma.201502382.
- "Technology and the Arts: Current Work of Eric Whitacre and Jonty Hurwitz". Mark Konewko. September 2015.
- "Nanotechnology Cleans Up". Physics World. May 2016.
- "Appearance-mimicking surfaces". ACM Digital Library. 19 November 2014. doi:10.1145/2661229.2661267.
- "Cylindrical Mirror Anamorphosis and Urban-Architectural Ambience". Springer Basel. 19 November 2014.
- "Two Photon Absorption & Carrier Generation in Semiconductors" (PDF). 25th RD50 General Meeting, 19–21 November 2014, CERN. February 2016.
- "Anamorphic Experiences in 3D Space: Shadows, Projections and Other Optical Illusions". Springer International Publishing. 2016.
- "The Magic of Anamorphosis in Elementary and Middle School". Tessellations Publishing. 2017.
- "Numerical anamorphosis: an artistic exploration". ACM New York, NY, USA. 2 November 2015.
- "Sanat ve Tasarımda Anamorfik Görüntüler (Anamorphic Images in Art and Design)". Anadolu University, Turkey. 2016.
- "Between reality and deception: the anamorphoses in visual communication". FERREIRA (UNIVERSITY OF LISBON, PORTUGAL). 2016.
- "Doors To A New Perception – The London Festival Kinetica Art Fair 2013". De Gruyter,. 13 June 2014.
- "Anamorphosis in the work of foreign artists at the end of the XX-XXI century (Russian)". St. Petersburg State Institute of Culture. 2016.
- "Art and Science Education in Optics: From Multidisciplinary to Transdisciplinary" (PDF). Universidade de São Paulo.
- "A Geometric Look at 3D Illusionist Techniques". Springer, Cham.
- "From droplets on a spider web to a spiral galaxy: Stunning photos reveal the natural beauty in science". Daily Mail. 7 September 2016.
- "Artworks outwit our perception: art power plant Leipzig presents the exhibition ILLUSION, initiated by the Science Gallery, Trinity College". PressPortal. 7 June 2016.