The Littlest Magpie

Just another UMW Blogs weblog

Digital Art

April 26th, 2011

Before this class I had a go-to idea of what digital art was. I automatically thought of the sort of thing on Deviantart, art that was created entirely or mostly in photoshop. While I was aware there were other kinds, that was what my mind inevitably went to. I didn’t think of the modifications and animations computer software could generate, I didn’t consider video art, I didn’t think of website building. I didn’t think of text-based removal or additions to photographs, or of works projected upon buildings. It was not that I wasn’t open to such ideas, just that my knowledge of digital art was very limited.

That is certainly something this course has corrected. Through exposure to new artists and artistic techniques I have gained a much better understanding of digital arts, and found the field to be much larger and more diverse than I could have possibly guessed before. And while I do have more knowledge than previously, I also got to experiment with my original interest: creating art in photoshop.

Little Red Riding Hood

April 26th, 2011

Little girls, this seems to say,

Never stop upon your way,

Never trust a stranger-friend;

No one knows how it will end.

As you’re pretty so be wise;

Wolves may lurk in every guise.

Handsome they may be, and kind,

Gay, and charming — nevermind!

Now, as then, ‘tis simple truth —

Sweetest tongue has sharpest tooth!

Sleeping Beauty

April 26th, 2011

Musings of M.H.Horton, Richmond PI

April 26th, 2011

The night before the digital art final, and Maggie Tanner had vanished. Now, normally this wouldn’t be in my jurisdiction. I’m just a small-stuff detective; I stick to paperwork. Nice, safe paperwork. But apparently before her disappearance Tanner had left some paperwork that needed to be filled: namely, the second half of her digital project, logging her 15 hours of work time.

Again, normally, this wouldn’t have much to do with me. But I don’t like unfinished things and, technically, as her mother’s sister’s cousin’s grandmother’s sister-in-law’s daughter’s husband, if Tanner didn’t get this assignment logged in her name, it’d reflect badly on me. And that was messy, very messy. I couldn’t very well let my wife’s mother’s sister-in-law’s granddaughter’s cousin’s sister’s daughter get a bad grade.

So first, of course, I just tried to find the girl. But you think it’s easy finding a student when that student doesn’t want to be found? You think it’s easy bringing one down during exam week, when three-forths of them are ramped up on caffeine and sleep deprivation just like little stress bombs about to go off? Trust me, it’s no day in the park. So instead of tracking Tanner down, I just used the old detective skills to get an idea of her timeline. Had to polish ’em up a bit first, of course. Skills get a bit rusty.

I started with her class record. Attendance showed she was there both classes the week of the 12th and the 15th. Both times she signed in, and then left – “to draw,” I heard, or “to research.” Fortunately I found evidence of both things on her camera – handy of her to leave evidence lying around like that – so that’s 3 1/2 hours right there. Some more drawing followed the next Tuesday and Thursday, again backed up by photos. 7 hours.

The evidence:
1st drawing – Looks like she ended up nixing this one, but it kept her busy the first week.

Last week she moved onto a new drawing – Sleeping Beauty. The class time pics:

Then things got screwy. Looks like Tanner forgot to document some of her process – Miss Sleeping Beauty went straight from bare bones to swirly hair the next time I saw her again. Most people wouldn’t have noticed, but nothing gets past this eye. Of course, I suspected she was hiding something. I tracked down her Friday-night study partner for the interim, a friend and ex-roommate who swore she’d seen the 30 minutes worth of extra drawing. Call me crazy, but I believe her. She has a trustworthy hat.


Next time the picture showed up, it was Sunday morning.

She finished it. But Tanner and Easter apparently equal gutsy – or foolhardy – and instead of working on her previously drawn Little Red, she started another.

Now I had to follow the trail to the digital lab, where Tanner had hunkered down and claimed a computer for the majority of Sunday and Monday. By now we’re at 11 hours and counting, and I’m feeling like I got this case in the bag.

Tanner signs in at 2 o’clock Easter Sunday. She leaves at 9. There were plenty of witnesses if I needed it; but again, she makes it easy for me.

At 18 hours, and halfway through her first drawing, there the trail ends. Oh, there were some more pictures – she came back that night, and then the next, but all I’m paid to do is find those 15 hours, and by God, I found them. It doesn’t help that right as I was rifling through her desk this morning for more evidence or spare change she comes prancing in with two dozen donuts and not a single offer to share, spouting some excuse about long lines at Krispy Kreme and midnight showings of RHPS in D.C.

Not that I believe her for an instant, mind you. I know what’s going on. Got me to do her work for her, AND no donuts. Selfish trollop.

Stephen Vitiello

April 5th, 2011

Stephen Vitiello is an American audio and video artist as well as a musician, often creating songs which he sells in CD form. He has collaborated with a number of different artists as well as had his own solo exhibitions and commissioned work. Location is an important part of his work – obviously because the acoustics of his chosen location or gallery can change/shape the form his audio work takes, but also because, as in the case of his World Trade Center piece where he recorded the noise of the building creaking under the winds of Hurricane Floyd, the location’s native noises are sometimes what form the audio aspect of his art. He has had/will have exhibitions at the High Line, NYC, Museum 52 in London, and the Stone in NYC.

His audio work is striking, the combination of sounds both jarring as he manipulates their volume, repetition,and basic sound structure as well as blends audio to make a cohesive whole. I do not recommend listening to Box Music late and alone at night; the quiet, discordant notes are extremely, fantastically creepy. The available track he has up on his website, Glass Marimba Frog Caller, has the simple but slightly foreboding inclusion of a music box playing against a background of an unidentifiable jittering noise (perhaps one of those wooden toy frogs with the playable bumps down the back?). Other works, like The Gorilla Variations, are much more soothing. His work is undeniably beautiful and often haunting. Vocalization is rarely used and, when it is, is often jumbled or otherwise made incomprehensible. The fact that the artist lives and works out of my home city is extra exciting.

Glass Marimba Frog Caller

Coping gif

March 31st, 2011

Paul Pfeiffer

March 29th, 2011

Paul Pfeiffer is an American artist who is best known for his video art. Sound is extremely important to his work, and he edits it just as much as the actual video. Work such as Live From Neverland and The Long Count have a great deal to do with iconic pop culture icons like Michael Jackson and Muhammad Ali; in other works he references contemporary culture such as The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror.

There is something very playful about the withholding of visual information in Pfeiffer’s work, the way he’ll edit out figures or jersey numbers or other seemingly important information. The attention to detail, both in the sound and the visuals of his pieces, is precise and satisfying. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of his media available online, and most of the information I have I had to gather from second-hand reports. While artists are certainly not required to have an online presence, I found the lack of availability of his work disappointing, as I’d have really liked to see more.

Paul Pfeiffer\'s The Saints – amateur video

Muybridge exercise

March 22nd, 2011

Bill Viola

March 22nd, 2011

Bill Viola is a New York-born artist who works in video media. He has a certain kind of zen aesthetic which can be seen in a lot of his work, as well as a desire for balance – fire and water, light and dark, etc. Likewise he’s very interested in the expressing of emotions, usually extreme, usually grief. His videos are usually stark, with black backgrounds, so that the figures are the most prominent aspect. Water features heavily in works like Ocean Without a Shore, Acceptance, The Crossing, The Messenger, The Plunge,, and the Lovers. There is also a subtle allusion to art history in the compositions of some of his pieces, the poses the actors strike and that sort of thing. He occasionally works with his wife and co-artist, Kira Perov.

His work is theatric, powerful and chilling, traits enhanced by the use of extreme slow motion. The concept behind some of his work, like Ocean Without A Shore and Acceptance, is cool in theory and creepy in practice. However, it is definitely a very awesome sort of creepy, born of a person’s natural discomfort with seeing the display of strong emotion – particularly grief – in others, as well as the discomfort of seeing someone apparently set on fire or doused in a waterfall.

Fire Woman (which probably has another title that the youtube uploader wasn\'t aware of)

St. Thomas 20 photos

March 14th, 2011

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