Wednesday, June 27, 2007

One of a Kind Archival Inkjet Prints

The archival inkjet prints on are printed using an HP Designjet 90 with HP Vivera Ink, and HP Premium Plus Photo Satin paper. These inks, along with the HP Premium Plus Photo paper, produce images that resist fading for 82 years. Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc. has concluded that prints made with HP No. 85 ink cartridges and HP Premium Plus Photo papers may be displayed indoors under glass for 82 years before noticeable fading and staining occur (see for details).

Each archival inkjet print is one of a kind. They are drawn in an Adobe Flash interactive movie, developed by the artist, using Actionscript. Each drawing exists in its original vector-based digital form only as long as the web page running the Flash script is open in the artist’s browser. After a suitable inkjet print is made, a bitmap image is saved, but the original vector drawing is destroyed.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

3 Column Perspective


I create most of the images on by combining programming, drawing, and mathematics in critical places. For conceptualizing, coding can work as well as drawing. I paint and draw, but I write code to create drawing tools. I use these tools in a browser to make digital art, sometimes generating archival inkjet prints, sometimes transferring the images to paintings.

Starting with a small set of graphic functions, I have created and am gradually enhancing an eccentric digital drawing system. Dependent on linear and trigonometric functions, and always influenced by programmatic constraints, I create graphic tools shaped by simple geometry. Through explorative sketching and coding I design tools to generate unit images which are repeated, twisted, scaled, and morphed. I create digital drawings rendered through a conventional selection and adjustment process just like traditional drawing except in the tool set I use. Tool and media selection determine a direction for the concept, and rendering reveals whether the concept is any good.

The code I write rarely predetermines the result. I write functions for tools that I can use over and over, seldom programs that spit out a whole drawing from code. The functions aren't meant to generate whole images independently except as a demonstration of what might be possible. Decision making happens during the rendering as much as the design and coding of the tool set.

I make available not only the functions I create and use in drawing, but also the code I write because I'd like coding to be considered a part of the creative process serving drawing. Appreciating the code is akin to having an interest in a certain printmaking technique.

I've explored the act of making a mark on paper or canvas, the actual stroke from start to finish, a splat or dab or drag of a pen along a straight edge. Attempting to break the action down, code it so it can be mimicked with a mouse or plot points, testing and refining the code has become as much a part of the art for me as drawing.

If "Music is sort of mathematics that you can hear," (Jean-BenoƮt Dunckel), then this art is sort of math you can see. is a portfolio and a specialized interactive drawing tool. It includes images of traditional media as well as digital art (both online and archival inkjet prints). Many of the paintings and drawings that are not digital were developed with the help of digital tools including the interactive drawing program provided here. For those who are interested, I also post software to emphasize the role it has taken in the development of the art.

I am primarily interested in painting and drawing, but I happen to have a background in programming. I create and use digital tools as a means to draw. Architects, filmmakers, photographers have increasingly incorporated digital tools in their work to enhance the creative process. I'm trying to show that painters, sculptors, and printmakers can also move their art forward using digital tools.

I began using the vector-based graphics platform, Adobe Flash, and found that it lends itself to developing these drawing and drafting-like as opposed to painting functions. Flash Actionscript makes it fairly easy to program eccentric functions like splat and wire frame. Other platforms (Processing, later releases of Flash) could be used to create functions that mimic painters' tools. I created the initial functions of the interactive drawing program to see if I could mimic splattering and slinging of paint. I wanted a tool that balances control and accident so the rendered image is modified something like texture, viscosity, gravity, and momentum modify brush strokes. I attempted to introduce the look of spontaneity and improvisation using random number generation to function like the accidental sling and splat of wet paint on canvas. The result to date is an eccentric digital drawing tool with somewhat recognizable brush and line functions, but with randomness and accident modifying the digitally rendered object. I am just partly successful in creating brush, splat, and ribbon functions that create marks as if slung on paper rather than drawn. However, in attempting the original goal I created a number of other, more interesting tools. The wire frame, ribbon, and perspective functions, as well as plot, grid, import, and splat have generated as yet limitless possibilities for new drawings.

I find creativity in writing software similar to painting or drawing. Some digital artists concentrate the creative process entirely in their software development. I have attempted something half way in between with a drawing program that gives considerable control back to the user, providing interaction. Digital art software and traditional media differ in that software shifts the creative process, sometimes entirely, toward the development of the tool. At one extreme the entire look of the drawing or digital art can be determined in software. Randomness can be interjected to make each rendering slightly different. However, I think I have yet to see any digital art that approaches the quality of traditional painting and drawing when the artist simply creates a program and uses randomness to vary each rendering. I have no problem taking this approach with my home page because it's only a web-based portfolio. I am, however, promoting the concept that when digital tools return control to an artist through interactive functions then the artist can create new, good art.

Developing software can be no less creative than the process of selecting and refining the tools of traditional media. When software is written to create drawing tools then the possibility of the end product drawing might not exist without the software. I have an idea what the software tool will provide before I code it, and I may even sketch or lay out a sample rendering. The process begins as a concept sometimes including a drawing, moves to coding, then back to drawing.

Creating software sometimes leads to accidental discoveries as spontaneous as painting and drawing. The tool I offer partly determines the result, but I leave the rest up to the decisions of the user, and to accident.