maxwell n brunstein bazaar art jan 2017
Right: Maxwell N. Burnstein

It’s not often that a digital image starts out on a cutting board with a scalpel, but that’s how each of Maxwell N. Burnstein’s artworks begins. In his sleek studio set within a renovated factory in Toronto’s historic Fashion District, the 25-year-old Canadian artist prints out digital images, then painstakingly manipulates them into fine art collages, before returning them to a digital state.

“I explore form and space through an X-acto knife, layering the single layers of papers I deconstruct into multidimensional forms,” says Burnstein. While others might opt to complete the process digitally, Burnstein is determined not to brush aside traditional techniques, focusing on craftsmanship instead.

maxwell n brunstein bazaar art jan 2017
Louis Vuitton spring/summer 2017

In this digital issue, Burnstein incorporated Singapore’s HDB flats with his favourite runway images from the spring/summer season to create “mind-bending artworks,” playing with colour theory to turn the two elements into one incredible image.

“Building a cover for BAZAAR Art Singapore is a career-defining moment. I am honoured to receive this opportunity,” says Burnstein. While his work has appeared in some of the world’s most well-known fashion magazines, it’s social media platforms that he uses as his gallery.

maxwell n brunstein bazaar art jan 2017
Loewe spring/summer 2017

With over 39,000 followers and counting on his Instagram account at @bymaxwell, Burnstein says, “Social media platforms are how I represent myself as an artist. From my studio in Toronto, Canada, I have been able to access publications, brands and influencers in cities [all over the world].”

The only downside to promoting work online, says Burnstein, is that artists are not always credited. “The source, share and reshare culture that the Insta-verse opened often leaves artists unrecognised, or not properly tagged,” says Burnstein. “Knowing exactly where my source material comes from, often taking part in producing it, has become a key-differentiating factor for my work.”

maxwell n brunstein bazaar art jan 2017
Dior spring/summer 2017

But the power of social media, Burnstein believes, outweighs any downsides. “My career was founded through Instagram; the reaction and my large following [have] afforded me opportunities like this one. The ability for an artist to be recognised alongside the works they make has helped build a global career.”

Having worked on multiple collaborations with W Hotels & Resorts, for instance, Burnstein is now preparing for an exhibition of his works that will be on show from January to June 2017 at W Retreat Koh Samui. Thanks to the power of social media, digital art is going places, in every sense of the word.

maxwell n brunstein bazaar art jan 2017
Hermès spring/summer 2017

Photography: Mathew Guido (portrait); Showbit; 123RF. Stylist: Jaclyn Bonavota. Jacket, Neil Barrett at Holt Renfrew. Trousers, Andrew Coimbra.

This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of BAZAAR Art Singapore.