It was a wonderful weekend connecting with great minds, seeing new art, and meeting artists at the Keeping an Eye on Surveillance opening over the weekend. I took some pictures and will be posting very soon. For now, take a look at one of the artists from the show – Jim Campbell. Highly intelligent and well executed concept. More to come!

Volunteering at GAFFTA has been an amazing experience thus far. Learning how art and technology converge and intersect has really got me excited about the future of art. At the same time, I’m venturing back into the philosophy and critical theory I read in college as well as exploring new text.

With the latest UpgradeSF meeting and attending GAFFTA exhibitions and artists talks (some of the most amazing minds gather at these events, by the way), I’m excited to be in the midst of re-defining new media arts and witnessing creativity and innovation amongst scientists, engineers, interactive designers, programmers, and coders. Art has always been used as a way to educate people and reflect what is current in society and culture.

Yes, people, a drawing on an iPad, an imagined landscape that requires participants in an alternate reality or virtual world, or a logographic system of language can all be artwork (the artist of course dictates what is produced and whether or not it is artwork BUT this is a whole different discussion).

So, tell me, what is your definition of New Media art?

Painting in our room at the Andiron Inn (Little River, CA)

Over the weekend, my girlfriend surprised me by reserving the “Nature” room at the Andiron Inn in Little River, CA. It was an amazing couple of days at the Inn. The overall ambiance and decor of the cabins was reminiscent of 1950s/early 1960s in New York’s Andirondacks (that I’ve ever been but I’ve seen pictures thanks to the vintage Viewmaster in the room). I posted the picture above because I didn’t want to be so critical with these few posts because I’ll just come out and say it, my mind has been all over the place and feeling a bit fried from art theory, art criticism, and art history. I needed to post something fun and quirky so here it is.

My girlfriend speculated it was done in oil, which is a bit odd considering most paint by number kits are done in acrylic. Although paint by number paintings are simple and straightforward (what you see is what you get), the story behind this phenomena piqued my interest. I found a Wiki that notes the origin of the paint by number kits. Of course, with further research, I found a Smithsonian site dedicated to the history of Max S. Klein, the owner of Palmer Paint Company of Detroit and creator of the Paint by Number kits.

Conceptual Art, to be specific.

After attending the opening night for the Spread exhibition, which is currently showing at the SOMArts Cultural Center (San Francisco, CA), I’ve been thinking quite a bit about conceptual art. I’ve been asking myself why I enjoy it so much.

Conceptual work makes sense of the world. With all its antics, it’s a movement that evolves, grows rapidly, and is reflective of the times.

Some may see conceptual art as rebellion and departure from tradition, which, for some, ceases to be art. With its lack of representational images functioning as the device from which to begin understanding, conceptual work is an extrapolation on complex ideas and in many cases, the viewer is required to participate in some aspect of the work. There’s a particular type of engagement that gives conceptual art its pulse. From our perception of sound to notions of politics and society to the human condition, conceptual art has something for everyone. Yes, I’m serious. It really does.

Over the next few days (maybe week, it really depends), I will be taking a look at the Spread show much more closely and spending a bit more time fleshing out the relationships between the artists and the works and how the vanguard artists are viewing their legacy in a new generation of conceptual artists.

More to follow…

Technology on its own just isn’t as fun. It needs art. To some extent, I do agree with the following…

The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people. ~Karl Marx

Artists are extremely USEFUL people.

Writing letters, drawing, doodling, and even your handwriting can become art. The documentary 1000 Journals includes interviews with individuals who have received and/or given away blank journals. The creator of the project, Someguy (yes, this is the name he goes by) is based in San Francisco thus tugging a bit at my heart-strings since I call this great city home. The distribution and circulation of the journals has been ongoing since 2000 and it has expanded to 1001 Journals! The journals have gone all over the United States as well as 35 other countries (if I recall correctly). As the journals traverse the world, it’s fun thinking about where they’ve gone and all the types of individuals that have filled the pages.

I’m actually working on a project for Valentine’s day at the moment and hoping to get it done within the next few days. Of course, now that I’ve mentioned it, I have no choice but to finish it, which is a great thing. I’m pretty excited about it. In any case, my project, primarily, is based on tons of doodling (that would otherwise be in my journal). Seriously, like many people, letting go of my drawings and doodling has been made easier now since I’ve learned more about the 1000 Journals project. As I watched the documentary (which kept skipping due to a bad disk – does anyone use the word ‘disk’ anymore? I digress!), it occurred to me that many people wouldn’t consider themselves artists or creative but there’s something, intrinsically, that makes people want more in life. People want to be more than their job, more than the money they make, and to be more than what another person thinks they are. This wanting more involves the creative spark. Trust me, even mathematicians and scientists need to be creative when looking critically at problems. Likewise, artists must problem solve when they are creating art work.

One of the most wonderful aspects of the 1000 Journals project is the idea of impermanence. The act of letting go of what you have created can be difficult. Yet, knowing there are others that have created something from their unique experiences and perceptions of the world is pretty extraordinary. I highly recommend looking at the 1000 Journals project and maybe put in a request to receive and pass a journal onto another person. Whether you create something dark, happy, sardonic, scathing, highly rendered, classical, abstract and/or write in the journal, it would be exciting to see what other stories are out there in the world. 🙂