Here is a new series of drawings I've been working on. In it, I want to explore the place and function of traditional drawing in our brave new world of technology. Of course, a large number of people, from the general public to professional art directors and gallery owners, etc, still love the look and feel, as well as the artistic possibilities presented by, hand-made representational drawings. This series of drawings on art and technology grew from my thoughts on this subject, along with the fact that, like many people, I am constantly surrounded by high tech gadgets. I love the ease of use and new possibilities for expression afforded to be by my iPhone, Macbook Pro and Wacom Cintiq tablet. For those who follow me on twitter, you know I like to occasionally post about high tech news alongside news from the art and illustration worlds. I especially like to read about Apple, a company that in my opinion has captured the public's imagination and is innovating and changing our world significantly. So perhaps it was inevitable that one day I would turn to the pieces of high tech all around me... and start drawing them.
I like these drawings because they do a number of things: on the one hand, they acknowledge my own struggles as an artist who does so-called "traditional" drawing. It can be difficult to get this type of art noticed and taken seriously, despite people in general "liking" the look and feel of hand-drawn work. The other thing this series does is nicely problematizes traditional drawing in the context of our fast-paced high-tech world. For one thing, despite all appearances these are not actually hand-made drawings using pen and ink, but rather 100% digital, made using Corel Painter software on my Wacom Cintiq 21UX tablet. When printed on fine art paper, however, they look like pen and ink drawings or etchings. What does the exclusive use of digital technology to create the drawings say about the way art can be mediated by technology in today's world? Also, the subject matter of these drawings is clearly technology itself (or, more precisely, technological products) but the approach is 500 years old (that of the European still-life). These drawings take a traditional still-life approach to objects such as the iPhone, an object of amazing complexity and design. Apart from challenging the traditional notion of a representational still life (can an iPhone or a mouse have the same silent beauty and provide the same scope for reflection as a landscape or an artfully arranged bouquet?), they also kick up a lot of interesting formal questions. For instance, how do you represent the luminous iPhone screen using black and white lines? (Personally, I think I still need to work on this... maybe I'll do a whole series of iPhones or computer screens to try and push this even further because it really is one of the things that fascinates me most about drawing technology).
Apart from all these considerations, I also hope to draw attention to the beauty of the high tech gadgets we keep around us. When's the last time you really admired the slightly recessed key of an aluminum 2008 Macbook Pro, or the patient curvature of a black computer mouse? I hope these drawings invite this kind of contemplation and admiration of the amazing technology that surrounds us. I hope you like this series. More to come next year!