I consider my digital printmaking to be an extension of the paintings and drawings I’ve been making for several decades. I think of them as unique, finished works as opposed to reproductions or studies for work in other media.
While I use Photoshop as a painting tool, I eschew the use of any photographic el- ements. Instead I build exclusively from raw pixels to create various visual modules which I then combine into compositions. I work in layers, enabling the movement of shapes and the shifting of colors. The newest printing technologies allow me to think and work in a large format.
Conceptually my work is abstract, although there is an environment which seems to contain vaguely recognizable though unspecific forms. Earlier practice involving both the figure and the landscape provide a familiar 2-dimensional framework for my current body of art to exist.
Late last night I was trying to watch a show on our PBS station about Mark Rothko. I kept dozing off, so I hope I can find it and watch it again. OMG! they were smokers!
I'm always surprised to see how much most of these icons of modern art struggled in their lives and careers. Even with major shows in New York galleries and museums, many of them didn't feel, or realize, that they had basically "made it".
So, it made me wonder, as I looked at one of my prints, "Do I care about what I am trying to do, as much as Mark Rothko?" Something to keep in mind. Well do you? Yes! Emphatically! - then prove it. No excuses. Rothko died trying. That's a lot to live up to. But there is nothing else.
Less than a month left! We started off with a bang, but now it's drawing closer to the end. I'm finding out that the most costly part of my project is the framing. That and shipping costs - both skyrocketing over the last year. These works that I am creating are very unique. It's one thing to simply create multitudes of images on a computer screen, but when you actually see those visual ideas printed, matted and framed, hanging in a gallery space - that's a whole new thing!
I have quite a few nice incentives that I'm offering for contributions to my project. I'll soon add new ones. Any amount would be appreciated. Any amount would help!
I could easily imagine a graduate student in a painting program, sitting in a studio with a Macintosh computer and a large format printer, cranking out work, week after week, month after month, and ending up with a real kick-ass MFA show.
I'm not sure if that would have been well-received when I was in school. Of course this stuff wasn't even around then. I'm also not sure it would happen today. For one thing, it would be very, very expensive. For another, people seem so stuck in traditional methods... either that, or everything is so far-out that it's all involved with animation, film, video, time arts(?), or stuff that ends up not looking like art - conceptual, I guess.
What I am doing is, working with a computer to create a pretty traditional type of art. It's two-dimensional. It hangs on the wall. It's printed on paper, with ink. It involves color, form... line, space, texture, balance, movement. All that good stuff. I spend hours, days, weeks at a time, in front of my computer. I dream about it in my sleep. I basically go through all of the same thought processes that I do when I am actually painting, with a brush on canvas and acrylic paint. The difference is that I can work on many different things simultaneously in a shorter amount of time. I can add, subtract and edit at will.
There are big problems though. It's expensive to print large works. Expensive to frame things. And then, many people still are not receptive to the whole idea. But I am, and I do it, and I plan to continue along this road of debauchery, this life as an artist.
Every morning I wake up and see this print, matted and framed, propped up against my dresser. I really like it. I see all kinds of new things each time, and I'm amazed at how nice the color printed.
I have a whole series of similar ones. I created them at a large size, 30"x40". I guess, in part, because a company that I've used to make prints has that as a standard paper size.
It takes a certain amount of imagination to create things that large, and even larger, especially when I'm working on a much smaller computer screen. In my head, though, they are big works of art from the very beginning. It's wonderful to actually have one printed and see that it actually "is real", not just a collection of 0s and 1s stored on my hard drive. The edges aren't fuzzy. The colors are true. "Good job!" I tell myself. If only...
I can also imagine a whole gallery filled with them, all nicely matted and framed behind plexiglass, one after another, all around a big, well-lit, white room. It's not that I want them for myself. I don't want to keep them. I don't want to store them here in my house. I just want to see them all assembled together, and then have them collected by people who truly love art, people who will cherish them and hang them in their great rooms - or museums that want to add them to their permanent collections. That would also be good.
I've had this one painting for quite awhile. I painted on it, on and off, for close to ten years. I really like it. But there are problems - warped stretchers, other things that maybe I don't even want to talk about.
I decided to do another version in Photoshop. It's not an exact copy, or a digital rendering, but rather another version. It's done to the exact size of the original, 48"x56", but this one is all in one piece, while the other one was three separate panels.
The new one is also created in high resolution with the best pixels money can buy. I might not be done with it yet, but I'm pretty happy with it so far.