In the late seventies and early eighties, my art consisted of collage and assemblage and I am now considering adding such types of work to my present repertoire. Most of these new creations will be created using computer programs. The possibilities offered by computer software for the creation of art is so vast and seemingly unlimited, an artist would be foolish not to venture into this medium.
I think the original Surrealists would have embraced digitally created art with great enthusiasm. It would’ve been interesting to see what would have happened if Max Ernst sat down in front of a computer and opened Photoshop or Luis Buñuel had been able to use Premiere Pro.
I’ve dabbled with digital art over the last several years but have never really pinned down how I wanted to use the technology. I tend to jump around a lot with my artistic projects like a person with hyper ADD…especially when it comes to computer generated artwork. It’s the limitless possibilities and combinations of imagery, sound and animation that can be utilized to create almost anything a person could imagine that causes my head to start spinning. This head spinning is not a reaction to difficulty of the software but the excitement of the creative power of the software and my eagerness to open up the doors to the imaginative possibilities of the software.
The only thing slowing the process, for me, is the massive amount of study and memorization required to obtain the knowledge to use the software to its fullest potential. Time is a huge factor especially if you want to utilize more than one program. To be honest, I rarely learn any type of art whether it be digital or traditional in a step-by-step learning pattern. I’m a “push a button and see what happens” kind of guy. The same for traditionally created art…basically put the pen, pencil, or brush down on the surface before me and begin. Just go. No thinking, well not too much. Thought isn’t something easily ignored and I wouldn’t say about myself that I have a mastery of a zen-like-mind during the process of creation…I’m the opposite of that mental state. But with my art, I’m not trying to only pursue the revelations of the subconscious…I want the free interplay of both the conscious and subconscious. I want my art to come into being freely… Just letting go and drifting off in accord with the art and allowing it to take me wherever it goes.
So, my first interaction with any software is to just jump in and see what happens. I like to take some time and allow the “beginner mind” a bit of time. Fish around and see what it comes up with creatively. You only have this chance once with the beginner mind and why rush it. I guess you could say, most of what is created at that time is actually nothing more than a series of accidents…and that would be correct. It usually is..but it’s what the mind then does with those accidents…and where that series of accidents leads you that interests me. Usually I end up empty handed with little art which appeals to me…but once in while I get something..something that I wouldn’t have gotten by going about the creative process in any other way. It’s a gamble and one I take often simply because I’m curious.
The last time I opened Blender was several weeks ago. I will say that working in a complicated program such as Blender will made a person appreciate sitting in front of a large piece of paper with pen in hand. I remember the last day I had it opened and working with it. I thought to myself, “This is like trying to build something in a bottle.” Have I given up? No, I’ll be back at it again soon. Each time I jump into the program I get a bit further and I recently purchased a Blender video course…Plus, curiosity and a fascination with the possibilities will keep me coming back.
During my last learning session with Blender, I did begin following a series of YouTube video tutorials by BornCG, which I found to be very helpful. If you are interested in beginning to learn this amazing free software, I highly recommend you start with these tutorials.
Blender 2.7 Tutorial Series by BornCG
Below is a gallery of images created while working to learn Blender….and some created while playing around. Never forget to have fun with art. It’s what fertilizes the creative juices.
Photoshop is the other program I use, and I use it a lot but have never “learned” the software. Still jumping around in it, but I’m getting to the point where I really need to learn Photoshop and use it to its fullest potential. Adding these new digital aspects to my artwork is making it essential for future creations.
Among the images in the gallery below, you will see a collection of collage pieces I created using Photoshop. You will notice several images that appear to be comic strips. These I have entitled “Nonsense Comix.”
Nonsense Comix is a Surrealist automatic technique I created about a year ago. The process in creating a nonsense comix goes as follows…..
1. Create a comic strip template consisting of “frames.”
2. Spontaneously place images you find interesting at the moment into the blank frames of your comic template.
3. The comic can be silent or text can be added. Text should be added by choosing random words, sentences, or paragraphs. Much like the technique of a Dadaist poem.
Even tho I’ve yet to try it….the Nonsense Comix should work well with traditional paper and cuttings from magazines.
You will also see a comic strip style collage piece entitled “Static Films.” This idea was created last night while I sat at the computer working with digital collage. As I sat working on a comic, I started thinking about how I saw each comic frame representing a still frame within a film.. A motionless film. I wondered how I could pass that thought along to the viewer and decided that this could be insinuated by the title…I then thought of the the title Static Films….a film that does not move.
The main feature I like about comics is the passage of time and the conditioned automatic response by the general public to see a sequence of frames as the passage of time due to their interaction with comics during their lifetime. This passage of time anticipated by the viewer while reading/viewing a Nonsense Comix is a point of confusion for the viewer. Jolting their mind into trying to understand the sequence of images as events interlinked within the comic through the passage of time. This jolt of confusion is a surreal moment. The imagined and the real intertwined.
The strange images themselves cause confusion as the viewer ponders symbolic meanings and tries to untangle the mystery. The viewer struggles more and more to try and understand the correlation between the images and their suspected relationships through the passage of time and they eventually have to stop and accept that the art before them is a representation of a mystery, and a mystery has no symbolic meaning…..It’s a mystery.
Of course, there is also the probability that the sequence of images align with the viewers psychological baggage and the sequence makes perfect sense.
What has always been important to me artistically is the creation of art that causes a shift in the viewer’s thought process or pattern. That altered tumbling around of thoughts not usual to that viewer’s mind. That mental shift is half of my art. The tangible piece of artwork that is before the viewer’s eyes is only half the art…the rest happens unseen within the viewer’s mind during the twirling of their subconscious and consciousness during the viewing of the artwork. Therefore, I only exhibit half my art. The other half is unseen…it’s locked away from sight in the viewers mind….it’s the viewer’s personal psychological experience…theirs and theirs alone. A viewer of my work, upon viewing, instantly possesses half the artwork. A half that even I, the artist of the work, will never know.
If you, the reader of this post, should ever create a Nonsense Comix using digital software or traditional glue,sissors, magazine cuttings, and paper….I’d love to see it. Send your image to firstname.lastname@example.org
Update: Automatic Drawing No. 7
This piece seemed to flow along with great ease. I can hardly believe it is almost finished. It’s been a few days since I worked on it. I’m just waiting for that intuitive internal voice to point me toward the next marks upon the paper.