Monday, April 25, 2011

Fanart: Progression

The easter bunny just hopped by, the weather is getting warmer, and midterms are here.

So far, the progression of my digital paintings has been quite like the weather.... that is to say, sluggish.
I've sketched out three of the five paintings, and have begun painting two of them.

Continuing on from the last post, I've chosen my 5 characters:

Pendergast – The Relic Chronicles
Fransisco D’Anconia – Atlas Shrugged
Sookie Stackhouse – True Blood
Wolverine – X-Men
Harry Potter – Harry Potter

I chose these characters based upon two simple things. One, I took into consideration each individual's favorite characters out of the ones they gave me. Second, I simply chose the characters that interested me the most, because I will be the one spending so much time paining them, and I do enjoy having the motivation to paint characters I'm interested in as well.
    Here's the progress so far:

    Fransisco D'Anconia

    Harry Potter

    Harry Potter detail

    Another Harry Potter

    The second Harry Potter piece was created because I had two individuals who thought of Harry as one of their favorite characters. I thought it may be interesting to explore the various projections of their identities. However, I've decided not to pursue that any longer because I'm not satisfied with the direction one of the pictures is going. 

    As always, let me know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions! Stay tuned for the next update of the project.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    World of Fanart: Interarts Media Project

    I've narrowed my focus from knowing that I'll be using Adobe Photoshop to create digital paintings, to using the term to create five digital paintings of "fanart".

    Fanart, or fan art, is: "artwork that is based on a character, costume, item, or story that was created by someone other than the artist. The term, while it can apply to art done by fans of characters from books, is usually used to refer to art derived from visual media such as comics, movies or video games. In addition to traditional paintings and drawings, fan artists may also create web banners, avatars, or web-based animations, as well as photo collages, posters, and artistic representation of movie/show/book quotes".

    These paintings will be developed based upon the favorite characters of five different people. Accompanying these paintings will be a research paper exploring the world of fanart, and the idea that people use fanart as a projection of their identity. My main purpose of this project is to paint favorite characters for five different people, and explore how these characters serve as projections of identity for them. 

    As far as esthetics, the formats for all five paintings will be the same, all will end up looking something like this:

    Where the "default picture" is will actually be a photograph of the person. I will keep this basic format, but will "jazz" it up with photoshop, maybe using a more graphic or comic book style to emphasize the world of fanart.

    Also, I'm still toying with the idea that each painting will have a different artistic "style", as I don't want to limit myself, and I think the varying styles can reflect the varying ideas of identity.

    Here are the five people and their corresponding three characters (of which I will choose one final character):


    ·      PENDERGAST, Relic Chronicles

    ·      TEMPERANCE BRENNAN, Bones

    ·      DR. DOOFENSHMIRTZ, Phineas & Ferb


    ·      JOHN GALT, Atlas Shrugged

    ·      WILLY WONKA, Willy Wonka

    ·      MAD HATTER, Alice in Wonderland


    ·      SOOKIE STACKHOUSE, True Blood

    ·      HARRY POTTER, Harry Potter

    ·      ELIZABETH, Pride and Prejudice


    ·      WOLVERINE, X-men

    ·      BATMAN, Batman

    ·      WILLY, Death of a Salesman


    ·      THE BRIDE, Kill Bill

    ·      ANY CHARACTER, Lord of the Rings

    ·      HARRY POTTER, Harry Potter

    For the next post, I will share some preproduction/concept art and sketches!

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    InterArts Media Project

    For the InterArts Media course, my project will center around using Adobe Photoshop to create digital paintings. I've had about 8 years of experience using photoshop with a graphics tablet to create images, but I'd like to be able to use this course as an exploratory means to delve into the program more, try new techniques, and use aspects of the program I haven't before.

    As far as conceptual ideas go, I know that I want to create a body of about five images that make use of the human figure. But I don't want to constrain myself necessarily by creating a cohesive "style", because I want to explore color palettes and drawing styles.

    For tools I have at my disposal, there are many photoshop forums and tutorials available online,  graphics magazines, the photoshop magazine, art communities, and digital art books are going to be very useful.

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    The Future of Our Fears

    Artificial intelligence, time travel, aliens and the apocalypse. Fear of what the future holds is inherent in this age of technology. Age of the Spiritual Machine is a book written by Ray Kurszweil, who has been called the "restless genius" according to the Wall Street Journal, and the "ultimate thinking machine" by Forbes. In this book, Kurszweil outlines a future utopia he foresaw - one in which humans gained near immortality by becoming one with robotic technology.

    Our most powerful 21st-century technologies continue to grow at an incredible rate. We as a society may be seeing the items on the following list coming true in our time:
    • ·     New senses, telepathy
    • ·     Brain transplants
    • ·     Matter reformation
    • ·     Weather control
    • ·     Contact lens displays
    • ·     Alter space and time
    • ·     Life on other planets
    • ·     Alien contact
    • ·     Synthetic/eternal life
    • ·     Intelligent machines
    • ·     Cryogenic sleep
    • ·     Cloning: extinct animals, ourselves
    • ·     Bionic implants for strength
    • ·     Creation of new organisms
    • ·     Genes from other species implanted in us
    At first glance, some of these topics seem farcical, perhaps even laughable. Technology is progressing at a rate that the public may not even realize, and for scientists on the cutting edge of technology, these subjects which were once laughable, are now becoming topics under serious scientific and philosophical scrutiny.

    Many crucial topics to consider when thinking about the future of technology involve ideas of dependence, and power. For example, who is dependent on who? And from there, who has the power? In his book, Kurzweil discusses a society in which humans have become so dependent upon machines, that turning the off switch becomes equated with suicide.

     Common fears associated with technological advances include:
    • · Advancing at immoderate rates to think of consequences, “blind progress”
    • · “playing God”
    • · creation of excessively powerful weapons
    • · disproving God
    • · disappearance of the human race, replaced by "cyborgs", bionic/human hybrids
    • · cloning dead people and extinct animals could have unforeseen consequences
    These advances in technology, and the inevitable ethical and moral issues involved intrigue me, it's as if technologic advancement is the new frontier. No longer is the world concerned with discoveries of the earth, but today, we are concerned with discoveries of the mind. When encountering these predictions about the future, the mind creates pictures and ideas about how it would look like if these predictions ever transpired. 

    Drawing from these mental images, and their associated fears, I wanted to portray the future, and illustrate the negative results that technology may bring. 
    Digital painting is an emerging art form in which traditional painting techniques such as watercolor, oils, impasto, etc. are applied using digital tools by means of a computer, a digitizing tablet and stylus, and software.
    A graphics tablet (or digitizer, digitizing tablet, graphics pad, drawing tablet) is a computer input device that allows one to hand-draw images and graphics, similar to the way one draws images with a pencil and paper.
    Using Photoshop CS2 (and yes, I know I'm behind the times with adobe software), and a Wacom graphics tablet, I hope to portray a frightening world in which technology, not us, possesses the power.

    Here are some digital paintings from various artists online who have also focused on a nightmarish, menacing future:

    The Medusa Fields by spyroteknik

    Future Face 5 by biz02
    Rusty Future by eWKn

    Here's a short video explaining technological advancement within the next 50 years, covering various topics:

    Here's another video from a Microsoft commercial, illustrating their vision of the future:

    Here is the final digital painting, encompassing cloning of the dead, the apocalypse, and cyborgs:

    Please click for full view! :)

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    They Are Not Artists

    In New Media from Borges to HTML, Lev Manovich maintains that due to the innovations of people like Ted Nelson and Douglas Englebart, they should be hailed as artists. Manovich comes to this conclusion by initially exclaiming that because technology actualizes the ideas behind projects by artists, the technology becomes art in and of itself. He continues to say that the web is art, that Final Cut Pro and Aftereffects is art, and finally, those who invented these technologies are consequently artists.

    I beg to differ. These men, who I consider to be extremely relevant, intelligent and etc., are not artists. They are inventors, and they are visionaries. Are the minds behind such things as a chair, a screwdriver, the printing press, the car- are they artists? Certainly not. An artist is someone who practices a creative art. An inventor is someone who creates a process or device. The key point here being that we should not misconstrue Caravaggio with Ted Nelson.

    Caravaggio, Artist
    Ted Nelson, Inventor

    The idea that we can not define what New Media is was also troubling to me. If we can't define what it is, (basically a lack of objectivity) then how can we even identify what New Media is when we see it, or explain it? What is the point of having a textbook? It's like taking a really bad philosophy class and getting graded (objectively I might add) and then at the end of the term, say that because we can't define it we can't know anything?

    Furthermore, if we are to associate rhizomes with the idea of New Media, then perhaps we can build a definition of New Media from the foundation of what a rhizome is. In A Thousand Plateaus by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, a rhizome is comprised of 6 principles:
    • 1 and 2: Principles of connection and heterogeneity: any point of a rhizome can be connected to anything other, and must be
    • 3. Principle of multiplicity: only when the multiple is effectively treated as a substantive, "multiplicity" that it ceases to have any relation to the One
    • 4. Principle of asignifying rupture: a rhizome may be broken, but it will start up again on one of its old lines, or on new lines
    • 5 and 6: Principle of cartography and decalcomania: a rhizome is not amenable to any structural or generative model; it is a "map and not a tracing"
    More simply put, Deleuze once said that a rhizome can be thought of as "an image of thought". 

    If we were to take this definition, then is the internet and new media the result or "image" of collective thoughts? 

    Considering the idea of a rhizome and interconnectivity, when combined with technology, I thought of the novella written by Ayn Rand entitled Anthem. This story is set in the future, with a society that is so collectivized that the word "I" has vanished from the language.  In the story, technological advancements are planned, if they're allowed at all. 

    I feel as though the idea of rhizomes and technology are very relevant to the world that Rand created in her story. One of the main points she makes is the idea of vanishing individualism, and how it wreaks havoc among civilization. Does technology, by creating global integration, contribute to decreasing individualism?

    Here's an excerpt from Anthem.

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    The Rise and Rise of Lady Gaga


    Lady Gaga is a phenomenon in and of herself. Her manipulation of a variety of digital media and technology plays an integral role in her ability to have direct contact with her fans, transform her identity, and to control her image. 

    The various types of media in her technologic arsenal include but are not limited to social medias, her armada of musical outlets, and the invasion of television. Within all of these factions, Lady Gaga debuts technological outfits and props into her persona, not only on the stage, but in her every day activities. These range from iPOD LCD glasses, mechanical dresses, involvement in Polaroid company as creative director, and more.

    Social Media:
    • interviews
    • award shows
    • tours
    • music videos
    • appearances
    Lady Gaga and LCD glasses
    Gaga and her earbuds

    One of the most apparent uses of technology that Lady Gaga has mastered has been her ability to reinvent herself with every new type of media she uses, as if each format contains an independent part of the Lady Gaga persona.

    ·     "By creating a new fictional storyworld to play in, Lady Gaga has yet another tool in her media arsenal and by making sure that each platform iteration of her music is a significantly different package than any other, the audience isn’t getting bored."  -The Social Robot

    Powerpoint demonstration to illustrate her manipulation of various media.

    This project was quite enjoyable to create, as finding "scholarly" or academic articles on Lady Gaga were far and few between and was a challenge. In fact, some of the most interesting information came from tabloid media outlets, which offered the chance to take that information and turn it into a topic of scholarly context. I found many useful websites that proposed theories on Gaga concerning a wide range of topics, from gender to sociology, to economics to technological debates, to psychology. 

    Whether we like it or not, or agree with her tactics, the persona that Stefani Germanotta has created to be Lady Gaga continues to escalate on a global scale. And the woman behind this rocketing pop-vehicle continues to prove to be calculating, and is very aware of her use of technology.

    Friday, November 5, 2010

    The Medium is the Message

    Marshall McLuhan was, amongst his many endeavors, a professor of English literature whose work is widely considered to be a foundation for the study of media theory. In fact, his achievements won him the honor of being titled the "patron saint" of Wired magazine. In his book The Medium is the Massage, McLuhan aims to "consider the psychic and social consequences of the designs or patterns that amplify or accelerate existing processes". In simpler terms, McLuhan believes that the medium in which a message is conveyed through directly affects and influences how the message is perceived.

    Marshall McLuhan by Monsteroftheid

    Furthermore, McLuhan states that "It is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action. The content or uses of such media are as diverse as they are ineffectual in shaping the form of human association." He goes on to state  that cubism seizes on instant total awareness,  and therefor encapsulates the idea that the medium is the message.

    McLuhan continually assures the reader that the message was once about "content", saying that people used to ask what a painting was about, but that in this electric age we should focus more upon the medium than the message, or content. I agree with McLuhan in that the medium definitely has a strong effect on the message that is trying to be conveyed, but I don't agree that the medium should take preeminence to the content. Perhaps being an artist who follows a more traditionalist view of painting has quite an effect on my opinion, but personally, I wouldn't be "doing" art if all I was focused upon was the medium in which I wanted to convey my ideas. I wouldn't want to cast away my ideas for the purposes McLuhan was trying to have us be attentive to, if he indeed wanted people to solely focus upon mediums instead of content. In fact, I would throw away my painters brush if I thought viewers of my art were only interested in seeing it due to the fact that its on a canvas and that I used oil paints, rather than the content of the painting.

    I understood McLuhan's points about the fact that the medium affects the message, but I reject his idea that this concept is what we should be focusing on. It seemed as though he wants people to focus more on media theories and derivations and mediums rather than focusing upon the actual substances of subject matter. I don't think that we as a society would achieve anything if we focused upon the fact that a painting is on a canvas rather than what is actually portrayed IN the painting. And so while I understand McLuhan's assertions that mediums do have an inherent influence upon messages, I don't believe that they should require more attention than what is actually being conveyed by the message.

    On a side note, I found this video of McLuhan discussing his term "the global village" highly relevant to what the world is experiencing today, with resources and online communities like Twitter and Facebook.

    Furthermore, I thought it would be interesting to illustrate McLuhan's idea that the medium is the message by showing various "renditions" of the Mona Lisa, and seeing if the viewer really finds the medium more influential than the actual picture... so here goes the "experiement":

    The Mona Lisa in chocolate

    Mona Lisa jigsaw puzzle

    Mona Lisa as toast

    Mona Lisa as styrofoam bust

    The true Mona Lisa, oil on poplar panel

    Is the medium the message?