Trying to find a way to make my work work better as prints – maybe i am on to something with this retro-graphic / quasi-Japanese-print style
About my prints: The paper i use is museum-quality and meets the strictest industry standards. The paper is internally buffered to resist fading and acid-free to eliminate degradation. I use inks with a very high pigment density, allowing for the sharpest possible image, most ideal reflection of light, and widest range of printable color. The pigment colorant also resists water, light, and gas for superior archivability. The color and quality of our prints are made to last for generations.
600 x 600 ‘Interior – Exterior’ 1/10 Diasec prints £450 each or the pair for £800 email me for details
The artwork is backed with aluminium with clear Perspex mounted over the top which accentuates the colour and deepens the blacks to give a punchy, rich feel.
600mm x 600mm – 1/10 Face mounted Digital print – £450 email me for details
The artwork is backed with aluminium with clear Perspex mounted over the top for a very contemporary look.
The graduated sections of this piece were produced programmatically using js and svg. Each randomly selected hue is first tonally compensated to mid grey, a process i call tonal balancing. This process allows a smooth tonal graduation to be applied to spectrum regardless of hue. In the example output from the script below the right hand side has been converted to grey scale to demonstrate this principle.
svg version working with firefox and ie9 only: chrome in this instance mashes it up completely LOL
Needed a little trigonometry to generate this in svg. Drawing it out like this helps me to pin down, what i am trying to do, exactly – it is not always so clear… LOL
Poem from artwork.
3/16th shy of
All knowing falls off
No matter; no phenomena @ all
This total burst of power
I’m currently playing with a concept for a new gallery site in which users can upload artwork and see their pictures displayed in a number of editable gallery settings. Users of the site will then be able to download the resulting view as a desktop wallpaper. This is just a mock-up without any functionality.
Carlos Primo is a brilliant Spanish art critic who has written for a number of noteworthy Spanish publications. Last month Carlos launched a new blog http://www.elpintordelavidamoderna.tk/. In this site Carlos, hopes to illuminate emerging web based artists and provide a critical eye to this new genre and evolving artistic language. Below are some of the questions Carlos asked me for his blog and my way too serious answers:)
The full interview and an introduction is written on Carlos’s site in Spanish although he informs me a English translation of his introduction will soon be available.
CP – How did you get to create works with a mathematical basis and inspiration? have you ever been accused of doing “cold” art?
The geometry in my work is not there as an underlying structure which organises an additional independent artistic language, but it is the very fabric of the work. The choice to derive the work using specific families of geometric relationships has to do with limiting my options. This is limiting my options in terms of where and how I can create one element relative to another and relative to the entire work. In poetry and music, we call this ‘meter’. Meter in art is as old as art itself. Actually all artist’s subconsciously and consciously create meter in their work. It is what determines the style of one artist compared to another. For instance, Picasso, when he was young, limited his palette to predominantly blue hues. There was much more to his output at this time than just this, but as a simple example this stylistic limitation, or meter, as I call it, gave the young Picasso the artistic freedom to express something very precisely. I believe limitation is just a necessary condition of creative expression and it’s the invention and variety that is found by the artist within the limits that gives an expression power. Of course, this again is nothing new. The ancient Greeks talked about it in terms of ‘variety within unity’. From Zen we have ‘All in One: One in All’, in Zen however, the whole of reality is like this, not just art.
CP – You work with geometrical figures, but what are your other aesthetic (or ethic, maybe spiritual) influences and inspirations? because your images are complex and interesting, but also so beautiful…
I think our interests and personalities inevitably find there way into all our creative work and activities. In my case I have broad interests in many things, such as technology, architecture, mathematics, engineering, and, of course, all areas of art and design. Perhaps what influences my work the most, however, is my practice of Zazen. This is Zen sitting meditation. Through this practise I am learning to breath with my eyeballs and see with the pit of my belly. This is the most important skill for any artist. Without this, an artist can not make one original mark.
CP – Why so many black and white images? something to do with minimalism?
My use of a greyscale palette is again about limitation – ‘meter’. Actually, for the first few years that I was developed the Root2Art canon of work, I only used three tones: white, black and a mid grey. A large majority of my more recent work only uses 5 or 7 tones.
Sometimes, when I am struggling to resolve a piece of work I use colour, but once I become clear about how I want the structure to work, then I will be able to define the piece in monochrome. Introducing colour to my work would be like playing a piece of music composed for solo piano, with an entire orchestra. The Orchestra would bring with it a certain richness and complexity, but more often than not at the cost of structural clarity. For me, it is about revealing precisely and clearly the compositional invention of a work. I think this is best done without the distraction of colour. We can reduce colour to a tonal monochrome structure, but not vice versa.
I remember clearly, over ten years ago, looking at a pebble on a beach and thinking – “How can I create anything that adds something to the infinite complexity and richness of nature. Even on the surface of this simple pebble is a beautifully subtle texture and an infinite variety of colour. If I am to make anything that is a genuine contribution to the visual diversity of the world, then it would be futile to try and beat nature at its own game. “Using a limited monochrome palette and eliminating all texture is therefore also about removing the more sensual aspects of art, simply because this is something that can always be found in boundless abundance in nature.
As for minimalism I don’t know what minimalism is! Isms are really just the creation of the art theorist and historian. When we place a piece of art in to a category we become partially blind to it. If we think we understand what a piece of art is, then we’ve already lost sight of it. Me, here today, talking about my own work is also like this. I am much worse than any art historian. People who’s job it is to talk about art don’t know any better…LOL.
CP – You have worked in projects that are nearer to design (e.g. the greenhouse) Are you interested in the relationship between art and daily life?
When I make art then this is my daily life. When I am designing greenhouses, fixing the car, cooking dinner, talking with friends or playing with the kids, none of these activities produce or require a state of mind different from that when making art. When I am fully concentrated on what I am doing then that activity becomes a creative activity. Creativity is not something I draw from a certain place and wilfully apply to making a work of art or solving a design problem. As I see it, creative problem solving is about seeing a problem clearly and completely. Since when we look at any situation with our whole body and our whole mind, when we are fully present, then we see that every situation is unique and unique appropriate responses and solutions naturally arise. If we are fully present in daily life, them we will naturally find the ability to express ourselves creatively in all our daily activities. Yes, this can be the case, even when going to the lavatory…LOL
CP – Which kind of reaction do galleries and public have when they look at your works? do you consider yourself a successful artist?
I do not know what kind of response I would get from commercial galleries if I were to take my work to a random selection of them today. I gave up trying to find a gallery to represent my work about five years ago. The typical reaction I used to get was that my work was somehow something other than art. A parallel to graphic design was often drawn but my works relationship to anything more meaningful was often not apparent. It is not surprising to me that I have been unable to locate my work within any noteworthy gallery because at the end of the day these places exist to earn money despite any genuine motives to champion new work. If any art is immediately recognisable as being contemporary then its language must already be widely permeated throughout visual culture. When a work not merely reflects, but creates truly new visual language, then we should expect that work not to be instantly recognisable, not even as art. If something is not seen as art then how can you sell it in an art gallery?
As for success, how do we gage it? In conventional terms my ‘career’ as an artist is pretty woeful. In over 15years I’ve never made a dollar from it and I am still an unknown entity within the wider (offline) Art World. My exposure on the net is steady, but I’m unsure how a large percentage of this traffic is responding to my work.
Its funny, occasionally I’ll get an email from a student asking how I became a successful digital artist? Some people assume from looking through my site that I must make a good living from it. So in conventional terms I have managed through my website to at least, create the impression of success…LOL. Very funny, because to pay the bills, I clean industrial cooling towers, which is physically tough, wet and filthy work. It is one of the least glamorous jobs you could hope for.
I have learned this much in my life so far: if we place importance on abstract notions of success, then we will also place importance on the perceived absence of success. Both success and failure are both an illusion. The life of a man who thinks he is ‘successful’ is not always happy, and the life of a man who thinks he is a ‘failure’ is not always sad. The life of a man who sees no reality in success or failure is beyond disturbance…LOL
yes i am a fan of ‘Square Pusher’ tech maestro, but no this piece has nothing to do with his music. it just seemed like an apt name.
Checkout my all new www.patterncooler.com. Its a seamless pattern resource to replace the one i used to have on this domain, but had to remove for technical reasons. This collection of patterns are fully color editable plus you are now able to view and download them at different sizes. Its a cool feature that’s adds a new dimension to the collection.
The site is primarily aimed at those seeking MySpace and Blog backgrounds as this is where the demand is. There is, however a fabric shop where any design in any color combination can be ordered on a range of quality cotton fabrics.
One thing I’d like to develop for the future asides from adding to the collection of available designs is to have a flash based color editor. SVG which is what is used in the current editor still has accessibility issues and I have not been able to get the current editor working in Opera browsers.
Eihei DÅgen is a famous zen monk who lived in 13th century Japan. In his time he was a great teacher and established the Soto Zen sect in Japan after first training in China for many years under numerous great Buddhist masters. Part of his legacy is the ‘Shobogenzo’ in which contains the chapter called ‘Zazenshin’ which translates as ‘A Needle For Zazen’. Zazen being the type of sitting meditation that forms the core practice of Soto Zen Buddhism. In his translation of master Dogen’s Shobogenzo’, Gudo Nishijima writes the following at the start of the Zazenshin Chapter. “Shin means a bamboo needle that was used for acupuncture in ancient China. So shin means a method of healing the body and mind, and the word came to be used for a maxim that has the power to cure a human being of physical and mental discomfort. Subsequently, the word shin was used to describe short verses useful in teaching the important points of a method of training. In this chapter Master Dogen… …praises a zazenshin by Master Wanshi Shokaku, and finally, he wrote his own Zazenshin.” which is the one you now see above.
I’ve had to remove my pattern library, color gizmo and related elements from this site due to problems they were creating for my server. I will be moving these parts to a new pattern orientated site sometime in the future. This has also prompted me to purge my site of various bits that were only here to drive traffic, but traffic I now figure on reflection, that is not really interested in the core theme of my site.
Generally however, over the coming months I will be taking some time away from creating artwork and other projects to concentrate on deepening my Buddhist meditation practice.
I haven’t posted anything in a few weeks, the simple reason being: I have made nothing worth posting. I’ve been going through old simple motifs looking for suitable material to print on t-shirts.
I wish I could think of something intelligent to write on my pictures.
Yes, i’ve been making a new homepage. The top is the same, but if you scroll down you’ll see I’ve had a tidy up. My site has become a bit messy over the last year with lots of pages left over from older versions of this site. The new home pages marks the start of a concerted effort to unify and condense the different parts of this domain.
The picture above is nothing really, I just liked the retro brown vibe going on.
Im not sure how retro my designs really are, but they might appeal to someone looking for retro-esk garments.
25% OFF – NOW Â£15
I guess designing t-shirts appeals to me as it is such a pure medium. From my point of view, as a vehicle for carrying artwork, the tee is like a pure white blank canvas: its hard to imagine how it could be made less fussy or more efficient at what it does. I wonder if the t-shirt will still be around in 100, 500, 1000 years. The blank canvas probably will be. Maybe more of us will be wearing unique designs in the future, and the boundaries between art, design and the clothing will become less clear.
The other reason I’m becoming increasingly keen to design some good shirts is that it is a way for just about anyone who likes my work to own and enjoy it on a personal level. I’d get more of a kick from going to a big city and seeing a stranger wearing one of my t-shirts than going into a big commercial gallery and seeing my art on the wall. Its still a very, very slim percentage of individuals who every set foot in a commercial gallery. Nearly all of us however enjoy wearing a t-shirts on a regular basis regardless of our demographic. In a sense it is one of societies levelers: the fact that we can all gain access to unique and inspiring t-shirts and make a statement with design.
I’m finally getting round to ditching my Cafepress store and getting some new shirt designs made here in the UK with a quality screen printer. My new retro shirts will be for sale in my new print shop within a couple of weeks.
I’ve been quiet on my blog these past few weeks because I’ve been busy building a new print shop. All being well it will be live within a week or two. In an attempt to offer a range of one off and limited edition ‘lounge friendly’ works (as apposed works suitable for gallery settings) I’ve also started designing some ‘color field’ formats for my work. These graduated color foils combined with the face mounted medium produces a deep, dynamic and sensual effect. The Dutch print and face mounting company I will be using is PlexiPhoto.com
Here is what they say about the visual quality of their face mount technique:-
‘By directly gluing the front side of the photograph to the back of a sheet of Plexiglas, any light reflections between the photograph and the glazing of an ordinary frame is eliminated, thus increasing image sharpness, contrast, and colour saturation.
When light penetrates the layer of acrylic glass, the light reflection on the prints surface is completely different from the effect when a print is framed with a passe-partout and ordinary glass. With this unique production method the diffusion of light diminishes because of the homogeneous quality of acrylic glass. As a result the colours seem sharper, more brilliant, more intense and more immediate.’
The image above, (if its not obvious), is computer generated. I’ll be placing some orders of my own home soon which will give me the opportunity to get some real photos of the artworks in settings.
This method of presenting, enhancing and protecting prints is also know as Diasec.
Prints from PlexiPhoto also come complete with back mounting that holds the print off the wall and hangers.
Download this image free as a 1280x1024px desktop wallpaper
The guy reading the low-down in the photo looks like a fat Matthew Collings. It would be nice if it was and also if the picture was real. Surely he’d have something to say about it. Or maybe he’d pass it by thinking it was something other than art. You know that’s not as dumb as it sounds. Most of the art of our time seems to revolve around the single idea and the single theme. We are all trying to make art sound bites. There are no epic stories being told in art anymore – well very few. Take Damien Hirst’s latest work: the diamond encrusted platinum skull. Its a pure and distilled idea realised by expensive yet simple means. Don’t get me wrong I really like it, and think its a work that sits at the pinnacle of the present canon of art his work occupies.
My approach, of course, is very different from this and the trend Damien’s work so perfectly demonstrates. My work has never been about reducing and distilling, but rather evolving and building. I feel my themes are like characters in a novel, each with an individual history and each enabling a complex narrative to be constructed. I’ve always wanted to make a work that tells the story of Root2Art in all is complexity. The story twists and characters have idiosyncrasies I could never have imagined ten years ago. I could never create a sound bite art work that encapsulates this rich history. The essences of Root2Art is only really visible when seen in its full complexity. Organizing this complexity into a coherent narrative is the big challenge.
The ‘big ass’ title is not a reference to the Matthew Collings look-alike.
The Saatchi Online Gallery Showdown is an exciting monthly competition run on the massively popular www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk. Visitors to the site can vote on artworks from an open submission with numerous rounds of voting determining a winner that gets to have his/her picture hung in the new Saatchi Gallery. A quick scan of the submissions that received the most votes last month reveals a marked preference for figurative painting. No digital art as yet, which is not really a surprise.
Wanting to enter this great Showdown I’ve decided to draw on my archive of paintings from my pre root2art days fancying my chances more with this medium. I’m very fond of this painting and have it hanging in my studio. It has a history of some personal significance. It was the painting I made directly after being rejected from art school for the second time. It was my attempt to confirm my artistic ambition and self-belief when it was being called into question by my contact with the academic world. I brought together everything I thought I had learnt at the tender age of 19 and produced something that maybe is a little naive, but still has a spirit I think I will always be proud of.
It would be marvelously ironic if this painting was to do well in this showdown and be the first of my works to catch the attention of someone as influential as Charles Saatchi. I’ve read he has a liking for painting so this could be my best chance at wetting his appetite. Of course there is a vast amount of good competition so its all a bit hypothetical to talk about doing well. Early indications however are showing it is getting a thumbs up from the voters.
As part of an effort to get my work seen in galleries oversees I spent the morning looking at contemporary art gallery sites in Japan and Canada. I’ve long been interested in Japanese art, architecture and culture and although I’ve never been there I feel a strong connection to this country. Canada I have been to on a number of occasions and like for its people and exciting multi-cultural cities.
So anyway, I found this picture of the Maru Contemporary Art Gallery in Japan and was stuck by this wonderful space. As it happens the gallery only shows Japanese artists so there is no opportunity for me to use it directly. Still however curious to see what my work would look like in this setting I cheekily took to playing the digital curator in PhotoShop. I probably could have done a better job, but its good enough to get an impression of how the space and art would compliment each other.
Be sure to check out the Maru Gallery as it has some interesting artists represented.