Click on the image to visit Hyperallergic

After reading an interview with creator of Colossal: Art & Design blog, Chris Jobson, on Hyperallergic, I have a bit more perspective on how to shape my blogging and art writing for the new year. It’s a relativitely short interview and quite informative if you’re looking into creating and building your own virtual space. I’m also taking a few days off from posting the heavy art musings since I’m working on a few pieces at the moment that require all of my brain cells!

Thanks again, Matt G!

Okay, so this particular data set may not be such a happy one but it's interesting, isn't it?

In recent musings regarding art and technology, digital/multi media arts has given me heart palpitations (in a good way, of course). Innovation is an integral part in bridging communities, cultures, and sub-cultures. A hybrid approach seems to be taking actual data and making it beautiful. Visit Information is Beautiful on the web. Again, exploring both realms can actually serve both Traditional and Digital/Multi-media artists. More recently, memories of Edward Tufte‘s work have been resurfacing from the crevices of my mind. I remember learning about Tufte’s work right out of college when I started the corporate grind. Not only did I find myself fascinated and engaged by statistics (wish that was the case when I was in college), I was able to relate information far better. Visual representation deals with aspects of politics, economics, culture, and society that seem far from my insular understanding of particular topics (i.e., US deficit or when people report break ups on Facebook because THAT is extremely important (no, not really)). It broadens the scope. Granted, I’m not letting go of my affinity for the traditional art and I’m not jumping on some bandwagon taking me straight to the to the Digital Arts Rally in some downtown plaza, which would probably be via Skype anyway (insert laugh track here – thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week). I’m advocating that people start expanding and evolving their understanding of what constitutes art. You would be surprised, I know scientists that don’t consider modern and contemporary works of art as Art! Yes…and these individuals have the capacity to research and create change towards medical advancement. You would think such individuals have the capacity to think outside constructs outside of science but no. So, imagine other individuals. 

Besides, I’m starting to think you can’t have one without the other. Yup, chicken and egg argument all the way on this one.

For you (or pass onto to someone you know may be interested) that WANT to delve into the world yourself…check out this call for entries!

KNiiTTiiNG

On my way to work, I was thinking how I’ve been writing about artists that would, categorically, put themselves on opposite ends of the art spectrum. Craft and Technology. Both types of artists may feel marginalized from the main stream art world. Yet, both have certainly found their way into art museums and galleries by using craft or technology as a means of conveying ideas. For instance, take a look at Stephanie Syjuco’s, The Counterfeit Crochet Project, which examines globalization. LJ Roberts’s creates large scale knitted installations forcing the viewer to confront Self vs. Other. Lastly, sculptor, Tara Donovan who takes Styrofoam cups and other everyday objects we may often neglect and create phenomenal organic sculptures that make you think twice about how we live in the world. Craft, in these cases, force the viewer to be in the world with others.

On the other end, you find artists that utilize technological expertise to create works that are interactive. Looking at Brian Knep’s work, the art works physically change based on museum or gallery patrons movements. His use of custom algorithms simulate organic forms in nature and showcase how technology binds us together (through interaction with the space and with each other).  Tim Roseborough’s piece, Singing Garden, the flowers bloom based on sound waves from a viewer’s singing voice. Technology (or New Media), in Knep’s and Roseborough’s work, make the observer part of the creation and brings the viewer full circle back to the self.

I started wondering, what if someone intertwined some type of craft (knitting) and technology (new media). I found this actually exists and not so surprisingly, was featured at the ITAB: International TECHstyle Art Biennial in San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles (San Jose, CA).

From the KNiiTTiiNG ‘About’ section web site

“KNiiTTiiNG was created by an artist and an engineer turned behavioral scientist.  Artist Rachel Beth Egenhoefer works with overlaps between technology and textiles. Scientist Kyle E. Jennings is interested in repurposing technology for creative human machine interactions”.

I’m a huge believer in seeing art everywhere. Many people believe art must be an object (i.e., painting, drawing, etc.) exhibited inside museum and/or gallery walls and reserved for some elite group’s viewing pleasure. The contemporary artist must be well-rounded though (i.e., staying apprised of the arts and technology). Look at Takashi Murakami. Fans of Hip Hop artist, Kanye West, are probably very familiar with Murakami’s art and design for album cover, Graduation. Yet, I’m wondering if these same individuals know Murakami had a series of sculptures exhibited at the Palace of Versailles or that his work is auctioned off by Sotheby’s to very wealthy collectors. Probably not.

Having the technical skills and a fine arts sensibility to execute graphic design and illustration that inevitably becomes a part of a culture’s visual language makes for one powerful artist. I like to believe that graphic designers and illustrators have that fine arts artist in them. Like Murakami, Aaron Lawrence is well on his way to designing himself into the Bay Area’s visual landscape.

So, how did I found Aaron Lawrence? Well, I was sitting at The Summit cafe (which is a fantastic and unique cafe/gallery/tech space and oh so fitting for my discovery) in San Francisco’s Mission District. As always, I was thumbing through the books and zines displayed in their library. I found a piece of wood with a well designed print on it. It told me to find its creator – Aaron Lawrence.

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Now…if he can only create more of that fine art. Crossing my fingers. Enjoy his answers to my Art 10 questions.

* * * * * * * * * *

1. What is your favorite (art) word?

Collaboration

2. What is your least favorite (art) words?

Cannot

3. What keeps you going when you’re in the studio?

Everything. People, architecture, nature, other art – there is inspiration all around, if you look.

4. When do you know you’re done in the studio?

Time schedule or when I finish a piece.

5. What words do you love to hear at an art show (your show or any show)?

Inspiring, fun, and had a good time.

6. What words do you hate to hear at an art show (your show or any show)?

$10 cover

7. What is your favorite curse word?

Shit

8. What profession other than being an artist would you like to attempt?

Helping the poor.

9. What profession would you not like to do?

I saw this TV show where this guy’s job was to squeeze the shit out of baby chickens. I don’t want that job.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Welcome.

You can learn more about Aaron’s work by visiting his website.

A special treat for you – image of  next month’s SF Guardian’s Christmas issue! Thanks, Aaron!