Sunday, November 27, 2011

A microcosm of my working method.

I just did 11 quick exercises in composition that really highlight my current artistic practice:

The premise:
  1. Find a large scan of someone's sketchbook that is posted on the internet.
  2. Open in in Photoshop CS5
  3. Use the selection tool in areas you want to make new shapes, where you want to fill negative space
  4. Hit Delete and choose Content-Aware (this is a tool meant for filling in a realistic image)
  5. Continue as much as you like, you can even hit delete again if you don't like the composition that it created as many times as you like, it will generally go back to 3 main compositions (I don't know the algorithm used, but it's very fascinating)


  • It's easy enough to do (not many steps) that I reveal how it's done with an interest in having others try it themselves, like a set of instructions
  • The ability to create interesting products still remains on the part of the creative individual to make it have interest or starting from interesting material.
  • Misuse a tool from its original intent to reveal something about how the tool works
  • It was made when I thought a little about what I have access to and what I can do right now
  • Something is automated
  • Something is generated that is organic while at the same time appears calculated
  • It fulfills a subconscious desire for instant gratification
  • It involves stealing/referencing/remixing of existing work
    I can do it in a series to discover the range of possibilities and therefore create a new language and rules
  • The format of its presentation matches that of its origin (taken from online portfolios in a set)
    It subverts an aspect of how most people think about art (in this case mark making with other people's marks to subvert the idea of the artist's hand while still achieving this quality)
  • It's inspired by information I just encountered or just read (Everything is a Remix)
  • I created as many as I could until I felt bored or that I wouldn't find anything new before things looked too much like each other
  • The whole exercise took me around 2.5 hours
  • I come up with ideas and then only act on them when something 'hits me', in this case, I stumbled upon sketches and thought that work could be better, and that there's something that I didn't like about other sketches that I found that seemed to highlight style or cultural cliches in graphic design over any conceptual concerns (I am aware that it's a sketchbook, but the fact that sketchbooks are put on display on the same level of finished works makes me want to critique them in a similar way)
  • I can use them to consider different new works that might not involve aspects of the exercise that  I didn't like.