My dad was an artist who used oils, and later pastels, to create some beautiful landscapes and designs. I was thinking about him this week when I read about a British artist who has exchanged canvas for the medium of iPad and iPod screens to produce some innovative art.
Not sure Dad would have understood, but he would have appreciated the risk-taking nonetheless.
The British artist is David Hockney, and he unveiled his work in Paris recently in a show still underway. As the Associated Press reports on Hockney’s creations: “Canvas is just so 20th century. That’s the message of David Hockney’s new Paris exhibition, where glowing iPads and iphones – their screens a changing medley of still lives and landscapes created … on the ‘Brushes’ application – replace traditional canvases.”
Lessons from kindergarten
You might call it Fingerpainting 2.0
So, instead of perusing framed portraits, abstracts, and landscapes, visitors to Hockney’s exhibition stare at dozens of plastic and steel contraptions made up of the hi-tech screens and wall adaptors. Each of them feature a cascade of color objects highly defined by the magic of digital technology.
A famed pop artist, Hockney has named the show, “Fleurs fraiches” or “Fresh Flowers.” The name is pegged to the still lives he paints with the iPhone Brushes application that lets you use your finger as a paintbrush. The name also connotes the immediacy of the show, which is updated regularly with new images.
A Where’s Waldo element
And, by the way, those images are e-mailed to the Paris exhibit by Hockney from wherever he is in the world at the moment.
A new kind of flowers by wire delivery system.
Brushes began as a communication medium but it has evolved into more of an artistic endeavor by Hockney. Over the past 18 months the artist has created more than 1,000 drawings, first on his iPhone and then on the larger iPad, curator Charles Schelps told the AP.
“He would lie in bed and draw what he was seeing – the scenes out his window, his desk, or more often than not, the bouquet on his bedside table,” Schelps said. “And then he would e-mail the latest drawings to his friends. Besides the 20 or 30 people who get his e-mails, this work has never been seen before.”
For artists on the go
The Brushes painting application was designed by Steve Sprang for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. It is the winner of the Apple Design Award for 2010 and it was even used by artist Jorge Colombo to create the cover of the June 1, 2009 issue of The New Yorker.
Brushes uses an advanced “color picker,” together with several kinds of electronic brushes that are moved by the touch of a finger. The application features multiple layers, extreme zooming, and a simple and deep interface.
It allows the user to choose any color using the hue/saturation color wheel, and you can undo your mistakes easily and move on from there.
The application also features a Brushes Viewer that makes a video capturing each step of how you compose your painting.
Removing the oops factor
Jorge Colombo says he depends a lot on the “undo” feature of Brushes saying, “It looks like I draw everything with supernatural assurance and very fast – it gets rid of all the hesitations.”
Further evidence of the suggestion found in the virtual unknown as elsehwere, “If you build it, they will come.”