Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Project Photofly

This could be considered the second part my recent post "digital distractions."  While playing around with Sculptris is fun, I was lamenting that I couldn't simply scan sculptures that I make by hand, IRL  I'm aware that three dimensional scanning technology. exists, but the cost is still prohibitive to something that I'd have to label as a whim at this point.  I've Googled, and it seems that some people are working on some hacks for Kinect to to make a more affordable scanner, but I'd suspect the resolution will be pretty crude.  While I cheer for power to the people, I surely am not going to waste precious studio time learning to program to help the open source revolution.  So, suffice to say I've been thinking on this lately and imagine my surprise when my October issue of Wired arrived and I hit page 68.  

On page 68, they reviewed Autodesk's Project Photofly.  The gist is a free program that allows you to use your point and shoot camera to make a 3D scan. No doubt every geek who reads the issue will be driven to scan their own head, their friend's heads, and all the knickknacks within reach, but I think this program could be of great use to artists with a few more enhancements.   (Autodesk, if you want to hire me on as a consultant, gimme a call.)    A caveat to the casually interested:  the process is very labor intensive, and involves making well over 40 photographs, and an upload to a supercomputer to do the real work.  That said, I was rather impressed by the results.

The truly amazing part remains, sadly, trapped in my computer.   Trust me, my sculpture is scanned into virtual space.  I can play with it, relight it, zoom, and rotate it in any angle.  As a novelty feature, the program allows users to plot a film of their own Matrix-like rotations and upload the video to YouTube.  While you could wave a video recorder around an object for the same experience produced by this video, remember the part currently trapped in my computer.   If I had the necessary digital skills in other software to clean this baby up, I could print out a version for you, and then things would start to get really interesting.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

Digital Distractions: Sculptris

Sometime in February I picked up an old block of clay and started playing around. The result were a couple of sketches that were a fun distraction from my core paintings, but unrealized as to their application to my recent nocturnal explorations. As I responded in a comment, I perhaps came to making figures as naturally in clay as a child as to sketching.   In grad school, a colleague remarked that "I painted like a sculptor."   While I may have suspected at the time he was simply trying to sound profound, I have since agreed with his proclamation.

Often, when I am painting a form in two dimensional space, I imagine it as if I am forming it three dimensionally.   A curving line in space gets compressed by the flattening demands of the illusion, as the 2D eclipse follows the same flow as in the mind as a 3D circle it could represent.   It's not an easy concept to grasp if you don't draw, so I hope that my non-artist readers will forgive my musings.  Suffice to say, when I heard about this computer modeling program which mimics some of the hand manipulations of clay forms, I was intrigued.

I admit, I've very briefly experimented with programs such as Painter (about one evening's worth), and found the initial learning curve of the Wacom tablet as in input to be off-putting. Similarly, while I've watched other veteran painters like David Hockney as they experiment with the ipad as a painting tool, I haven't been personally interested in making crude marks with my fingertips.  In the digital age, if technology grows more accessible by the day and I'm holding out until someone makes an actual artist-level touch interface in a reasonable price-range.  The free download of the Sculptris beta met my last criteria, and I was impressed by the rather natural interface.   While I may have lost five hours of painting time, I did manage to make a mushy version of a clay sleeper above by sheer trial and error from imagination.   The intense symmetry is a result of using a mirror option with each step that builds form in half the time.  While I have yet to play with the program any further, or add hair to the guy, it's a neat tool that I would recommend to anyone looking for alternatives to the tablet interface.    Now, I will just have to wait until someone makes a Kinect hack so that I can just do this in real space with my hands.....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lewiston Studio

Although the studio has been set-up and operational for about a month, I haven't posted any pictures.  Allow me to make amends with a glimpse of the interior in its fresh "decor by Dexter" state.  Note the abundance of natural light.  Somehow, I'm not missing the old cave just yet. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

From the Archive: Drawing 2

Another favorite that I posted to the archive last week during my somewhat massive portfolio website overhaul and update.   The drawings are still a bit dark, so I will be adjusting them and re-posting them as I get a chance.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Postcards to Siena

I recently sent three little collages to Siena, Italy in response to an open exhibition call by the Siena Art Institute.   They're made up of scraps of interesting paper and spills that I had been keeping for years, embellished with bits of odd sketches that I had also been saving.   While the show called for any work that's the size of  postcard, I couldn't help but think of the idea a bit literally by adding some text to the images.
Last check, the Institute had over 1000 submissions from around the world that will go on display and end up filed somewhere in their permanent collection.   There's a sweet irony to the thought that I rescued these little drawings from obscurity to only to have them lost and reburied in a new pile of work on the other side of the planet. Although artists often strive for solo attention,  this project better resembles the demographics of art-making in a global context.  Who knows---by today's deadline, these three might be tucked in amongst 10,000!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

From the Archive....

As I was sorting through piles of drawings after the move, I kept coming across sketches I had liked once upon a time but had forgotten.  Out of sight, of mind.  More unforgivable to the contemporary artist, I had forgotten to document them.  In an effort to rectify the situation, I will be updating the portfolio website soon, and expanding the archives section to make it more comprehensive and easier to navigate. Yet, there may be a bigger problem---how many of you know there is an archive section?  I became aware of this issue when I was giving an artists talk earlier this Spring. Some of the audience was surprised at all the "new" [old] work I was showing, that they didn't see on my website.   Although my original intent in making the archive was to highlight the newest work in the painting section, it's a shame if all that not-so-old stuff falls victim to being too out of sight under that archives tab in the navigation bar.  So, while I am at work on new projects in the studio, I may post up the occasional oldie-but-a-goodie to get it out there.