Digital Art is Art.

(See my previous post for a bit of context here.)

Since I’ve been sans shop/studio and focusing on finishing up our house remodeling, I’ve also felt the need to create some ART. Decided to make use of my iPad Pro once again to produce some pieces of graphic design/2d art. One thing I really appreciate about the iPad is the flexibility it gives for interaction and body position; sitting at a traditional desktop and using the mouse causes me debilitating pain after just a couple hours at this point in my life (old). It’s weird, since I can spend 6 to 8 hours at the business end of a 4 inch grinder with fewer downsides. Dunno, maybe those two items are somehow mysteriously linked?!?!?

Anyway, here are some things I’ve been making:

The process is simple, but complex, in that it involves producing gobs of iterations for each image (sometimes more than 20), then tweaking, adding filters and masks, then stacking them to create blends. The packed-circles effect is accomplished with an app called Percolator, which lends a unique geometric flair to each piece. It’s a workflow that I find both thrilling and relaxing, as it includes elements of surprise and whimsy coupled with ruthless decision making. I’ll often look up at the time and realize 3 or 4 hours have flowed past in blissful concentration. I do struggle a bit with finding value in the work, but I’ve been working on that:

“The amount of labor involved in the creation of a work of art has absolutely no bearing on its aesthetic value.”

This is in response to my self-doubt as to the validity of my digital artwork. I’m actually struggling with the concept of aesthetic value vis-a-vis the method of said work’s creation. Somehow, the feeling that my sculptural work has greater value than my digital work is blocking me. It recalls the days when I was carving, and the contrast in material costs to bronze casting was having undue impact on my pricing. Neither the cost of the raw materials nor the labor involved should influence the apprehension of the value of a work of art. The cost of the canvas and paint to Van Gogh mean nothing to the collector who spends hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire the painting. A computer or other digital device is no different than a paint brush, or chisel, or welder, or table saw: it is a (hopefully skillful) means to an end, and that end is capital-A “Art.”

(Thinking about Art in terms of product and price is another mental sticking point for me, but that’s a subject for another day.)

Retrace your steps.

I’ve been spinning in place a bit. On a whim, I tried dipping into Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies for a little inpiration, and the message was “Retrace your steps.” I wandered back through the timeline of my experiences as an artist, and arrived at the time when I had first fallen in love with the computer as a creative tool. I was using my Apple Macintosh LC, and had installed a program called “Canvas” that had an unbelievable set of both vector and pixel tools. I remember the clean, infinitely-tweakable lines (command-Z, how I love thee!) that I could use to make drawings. I wish I’d managed to save some of that stuff so we could have a good laugh.

Anyway, like any proper geek, I have a dual-boot system with Vista and Ubuntu. Part of my inertia has been related to frustration with the constant pull of new and newly-upgraded software, especially the heaps of cash involved. Thus the appeal of Ubuntu – and of Inkscape thereon. Inkscape is, IMO, the best Open Source software available. I own a license of Adobe Illustrator, and DREAD opening that bloated behemoth – Inkscape doesn’t have the depth of tools, but that’s the point. It is a streamlined Illustrator driven by the needs of the user rather than the need of a corporation to sell licenses and upgrades. Another contrast comes from my involvement in 3d modeling – it just starts to feel like the means are so involved that the ends often seem off in the foggy distance. Vector drawing brings the immediacy of making marks on paper to the computer, while still allowing amazing control over the process.

Here’s what I did in Inkscape:
FemHead

Retrace your steps.

I’ve been spinning in place a bit. On a whim, I tried dipping into Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies for a little inpiration, and the message was “Retrace your steps.” I wandered back through the timeline of my experiences as an artist, and arrived at the time when I had first fallen in love with the computer as a creative tool. I was using my Apple Macintosh LC, and had installed a program called “Canvas” that had an unbelievable set of both vector and pixel tools. I remember the clean, infinitely-tweakable lines (command-Z, how I love thee!) that I could use to make drawings. I wish I’d managed to save some of that stuff so we could have a good laugh.

Anyway, like any proper geek, I have a dual-boot system with Vista and Ubuntu. Part of my inertia has been related to frustration with the constant pull of new and newly-upgraded software, especially the heaps of cash involved. Thus the appeal of Ubuntu – and of Inkscape thereon. Inkscape is, IMO, the best Open Source software available. I own a license of Adobe Illustrator, and DREAD opening that bloated behemoth – Inkscape doesn’t have the depth of tools, but that’s the point. It is a streamlined Illustrator driven by the needs of the user rather than the need of a corporation to sell licenses and upgrades. Another contrast comes from my involvement in 3d modeling – it just starts to feel like the means are so involved that the ends often seem off in the foggy distance. Vector drawing brings the immediacy of making marks on paper to the computer, while still allowing amazing control over the process.

Here’s what I did in Inkscape:

(Image link broken and I can’t locate a copy. Oops.)

Meme is finished.

Meme - Finished - 03
Jafe Parsons got some preliminary shots to me this weekend of the finished “Meme” sculpture. Really, really pleased with this one. I think it is my best work to date – if that statement actually means anything. I oftentimes feel that my latest effort is my best; it takes a bit of time and perspective to get a true sense of how a single work fits into an oeuvre. Yet this does feel like a less tentative, bolder statement of form that is derived intrinsically and exclusively from my current process – the computer as primary tool for sculptural expression.

Meme is finished.

2008 07 03 Leichliter Meme03 angle

Jafe Parsons got some preliminary shots to me this weekend of the finished “Meme” sculpture. Really, really pleased with this one. I think it is my best work to date – if that statement actually means anything. I oftentimes feel that my latest effort is my best; it takes a bit of time and perspective to get a true sense of how a single work fits into an oeuvre. Yet this does feel like a less tentative, bolder statement of form that is derived intrinsically and exclusively from my current process – the computer as primary tool for sculptural expression.