In January, Grimes opened social media accounts on Instagram and Twitter for War Nymph, A.K.A her digital avatar. War Nymph started as a cherub-like baby, and has now made her teenage debut on the cover of The Face's S/S 20 issue, clad in the gold foil and blue and red velvet showstoppers from Balenciaga's S/S 20 collection. As a pregnant Grimes releases her highly anticipated fifth album Miss Anthropocene- 15 tracks of gothic, psychedelic dream pop- War Nymph offers an alternate avenue for creative expression, allowing Grimes to separate her digital persona from her human self.
War Nymph is Grimes' digital avatar, created through scanning her entire body into a computer and augmenting it. Working on the avatar with creative partner Mac Boucher, Grimes explains that War Nymph will always be a work in progress, with plans for her to die and be born again as a new and improved version. Rendered by Dylan Kowlaski for the latest cover of the The Face, Grimes' mesmerising, golden eyes stare out from under heavy lashes, her distinct tattoos inked along her arms and hands. Following in the footsteps of virtual avatars Miquela Sousa and Shudu, Trashy Muse's virtual catwalk show and Yang Li's S/S 20 3-D animations, the Balenciaga clad War Nymph bridges virtual reality and fashion. Covering the seminal British magazine, War Nymph allows Grimes to promote her music and engage with her fans in an alternative way that doesn't require her physical presence, but still allows for an exciting expansion of the Grimes universe. It's a use of digitalised identity in music that harks back to that of the Gorillaz. A virtual self enables Grimes not only to distance herself from the digital world of trolling and internet abuse she is daily subjected to, but also is an empowering tool enabling her to work into the later stages of her pregnancy. Grimes terms it 'techno-feminism'- it's an empowering, futuristic attitude we could all get on board with.