Do You Understand Contemporary Art?

drawings

Contemporary Art

After spending over 30 years in the electronics, automation and robotics field, I found myself on disability and going back to school to start over. It’s a completely new direction for me and although my grades show great promise for the knowledge I have gained, I have to admit that I just plain do not understand some forms of art.

I went to the San Antonio Museum of Art last year and specifically went to the contemporary art exhibit first to see what people were creating that was considered art. One of the pieces I saw was the Pink Electric Chair by Ivan Navarro, made in 2006. An interesting concept but not very practical. It’s a full sized chair made with Fluorescent light, color sleeves, metal fixtures, and electric energy. I get it. Re-purposing something to make something else. It’s original and I probably would not have thought about doing something like that myself.

Another piece I saw is apparently no longer on display or the website does not show it. I must admit that it confused me. It was a larger piece, probably four foot by eight foot hanging on a wall. It contained what I saw as a bunch of garbage (bottles, metal scraps, etc.) glued together on a base plate and the entire thing was spray painted gold. I remember taking a photo of it and a photo of the artist statement but still do not understand what the heck it meant. It obviously meant something to someone because the museum purchased it.

My Artwork

I have created several pieces of art. Some were made in 2013 while others have been made in 2014 and 2015. I have also taken photographs of things.

The artwork I did in 2013 is a set of drawings made from pastel oils and colored pencil. They are a contemporary vision of the “Life of Christ” and have five pieces in the set.

The first piece shows a droplet entering a body of water. The piece is called “By Water and the Spirit.”

The second piece is a close-up of an eye. If you look closely, you will realize that it is not a typical eye. It is representative of a bionic eye. The piece is named “The Blind See.”

The third piece shows a US Marine who has lost a leg in the war. He has a prosthetic limb. The title of this piece is called “The Lame Walk.”

The fourth piece is a line art piece that looks like a stained glass window. In it are the elements of Communion. The title of this piece is “Amazing Grace.”

The fifth and final piece shows the feet of Christ while He is on the Cross. The title of this piece is called “Paid In Full.”

Together, they represent a contemporary view of the life of Christ. Will everyone like it? Probably not. Will some like it? Yes. I like it. My wife likes it. I hope you like it too.

I’ll introduce some other work I have done in posts in the near future.

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Video Production II

stop motion

Stop Motion Video

Maybe you recall as a youth, the practice of drawing small images on the bottom of a pad of paper. As you flipped through the pad, the images would dance across the bottom of the pages to create something like a movie for you to enjoy. Stop motion videos use the same concept to create that effect in a digital form.

Stop motion videos are created when you place a series of still photos together, one after another to create a video. It usually requires a huge number of photographs to make. I was involved in making one a year ago but because I did not feel I was able to participate at the level I wanted to for the project (it was a group project), I decided to make two others. One of the videos was made in the fall of 2014 and another one in the spring of 2015.

The First Video

Stop motion videos can be made from anything. The first video was made based on the story of Stone Soup by Marcia Brown. I have placed that video on Vimeo for you to see. Keep in mind that it is based on the story and not a direct representation of the story. I realized a lot by creating that video. One of the most important things I learned was to make your set at a level that makes sense. For this video, my set was placed on the floor with the camera on a tripod about four feet off the ground. This caused me to have to constantly get up and down throughout the process. It took hours. With bad knees to begin with, this certainly did not help. It took me several days to get the pain under control.

The Second Video

The second stop motion video was created as a How-To documentary. The requirement for the class was to produce a one minute video. I initially made a two minute video and then cut it back from there to meet the requirements of the project. Because I felt that the two minute video better represented what I was trying to say, I published it on Vimeo as well.

Claymation

Although I have not created a Claymation video, they are similar to a stop motion video. Maybe you are old enough to remember a kids show called Davy & Goliath or Gumby. Those were Claymation videos. Wallace & Gromit are newer versions of Claymation.

Editing

I chose to edit my stop-motion videos using Photoshop but there are other programs you can use. Three other programs that come to mind are iMovie, Final Cut Pro and ProTools. Today, you can even create simple stop motion videos using your smartphone simply by downloading an app. If you have never attempted to create a stop motion video, I would encourage you to try it. You might just have fun doing it and create something amazing.

Video Production

church1

A New Skill

This semester at school, I am learning some skill with video production. There are actually two classes where we are producing videos. The first class is Digital Video Production I. The second class is Advanced Emerging Media Production.

So far, I have created probably five videos. The first video was to get setting shots from two locations. The way that works is you take an establishing shot which is like a wide angle shot of a scene. The next phase is to take a medium shot which is a bit closer to the scene. Finally, you take a close-up shot. The last portion of the video was to take a simple shot of me walking away from the camera and then back towards the camera. An effect was used to simulate time in those images so that you are not completely bored watching me walk the entire way, back and forth. That effect is called transitioning which allows for the passage of time.

You can see my first video on Vimeo.

I can honestly say that I have come a long way since this video was produced but also realize I still have a long way to go. I’m pretty proud of what I have been able to accomplish so far and am looking forward to producing more videos in the near future.

My Computer Imaging Final Project

Part of my class in Photoshop included coming up with a final project that used the software to produce some digital art. I chose the topic of Analytic Cubism. You might be familiar with Picasso or Braque as the originators of the concept. I had seen some cubism art pieces in the past but had never tried it with paint on canvass. It was a learning process for me to try and figure some of this out. Below, are my attempts along the way to use the concepts of cubism for my art pieces. Preacher1This piece is titled “The Preacher” and uses two images of a person looking in different directions, combining those images and overlapping them to produce. The idea behind Cubism is to try and look at an object or person from several angles to get a full picture of the image. Yeah – it took me a bit to think through that too. Self-Portrait1This piece is titled “Self-Portrait.” I got to this point in the process by looking at several of the works of Picasso again and seeing that he focused on shapes a bit more as well as hatching or gradient in this case. I used the gradient tool to emulate hatching and probably could have done more work on that but I am happy with the way this came out. Cubism Bride1This piece is titled “Bride.” Another aspect of Cubism is the idea or distortion. Rather than showing things in realistic proportions, shapes were exaggerated. Using some of the other aspects of Cubism, I added distortion to this image. Cubism Bottle1This piece is titled “Bottle.” Early Cubism focused on landscapes and objects such as bottles or fish. A key element in Cubism is to only use a portion of the object. Colors are usually subdued as well and I tried not to have too much variety in the colors. As you can see (maybe) there are parts of the bottle in various locations throughout the piece. The bottom is shown, the top, portions of the side. I like this piece a lot. Hope you do too.