Let’s Spy On The Computer Desktops Of Today’s Top Internet Artists

Let the armchair psychologizing begin!


If I wanted a quick way to gain insight into someone, I’d head straight for his computer desktop. Little reveals more about a person so economically. Are his icons arranged in perfect parallel lines? He’s anal-retentive. Is his background color dreary gray? He’s a bore. Does he have a basket of kittens for a desktop image? Clearly, we’re destined to be best friends. Desktops are like jumpology for the 21st century.

Billy Rennekamp

So we can partake in all sorts of armchair psychologizing at, screenshots of more than 50 artists’ desktops culled by Zurich-based artist Adam Cruces. “Desktop is your everyday visual environment,” Cruces quotes the artist Alexei Shulgin, who built his own desktop art project years ago, as saying. “Desktop is an extension of your organs. Desktop is the face of your computer. Desktop is your everyday torture and joy. Desktop is your own little masterpiece. Desktop is your castle.”

The screenshots are laid out like–what else?–desktop icons, and they provide an intimate window into the artists’ minds and ways of working. They range from clever (Lenox-Lenox’s desktop of a desktop) to meditative (Aleksandra Domanović’s background image of an Impressionist painting); from frighteningly neat (Rafaël Rozendaal‘s iconless sea of gray) to downright messy (Parker Ito‘s high-octane, icon-stuffed desktop, which looks like it hasn’t been organized since 1989).

Martin Kohout

Based on these images alone, you can predict, with a fair measure of accuracy, the artists’ aesthetic tastes and thematic predilections. Rozendaal, for instance, has a clean, minimal style that permeates his websites and line drawings. Then there is Ito, whose work is every bit as frantic as you’d expect. (He has one piece called Anime Bettie Page Fucked By Steampunk Horse Warrior–it’s exactly what it sounds like.)

It’s good, voyeuristic fun scanning all these desktops and trying to glean as much as you can about the people behind them. Have at it. In the meantime, I think I’ll go clean out my castle.

[Images via]

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D