Painting on the phone July 17, 2009
Robert Genn Yesterday, Albert Root of Spokane, Washington, sent us some rather good examples of iPhone art. With an inexpensive application called "Brushes," some artists are busy making tiny paintings on their cell phone screens. So you can get an idea of what I'm talking about, we've put a short (two-minute) YouTube video at the top of our current clickback. http://clicks.robertgenn.com/lonesome.php Other artists have asked if this sort of thing can be legitimate art. In a very short time, 40,000 of the apps have been sold. Some artists wonder if the mini-media might be a threat to traditional brush-and-paint. Like the innumerable effects possible with Photoshop, Modbook, Sketchbook Pro and other products, there are concerns. Hey, aren't these just more creative tools in need of exploration? And like all media, won't they find their masters? Take Wisconsin painter Susan Murtaugh. She paints tiny ersatz oils of remarkable quality. Hers is an art that can be made in the corner of a dog-park in Green Bay and sent in a cloudless nanosecond to a villa in Italy. She also makes and sells prints. Leonardo would have been impressed. Ever since the print revolution started in the 1800s, through the Kodak and photocopy reproductions, and the giclee and electronic transfer phenomenon, image procurement and distribution have mushroomed. At the same time, like the doomsayers at the advent of photography announcing the death of painting, one-of-a-kind art using traditional media continues to thrive as in no other period in history. Both the success and failure of digital-electronic art lie in its viral nature. Facile, mysterious and beautiful though it may be, some folks think it may become too ubiquitous to qualify as permanent art. By threatening rarity, art 'gone viral' clouds collectability. Everything was once a novelty. Only a few years ago I was speeding to the local cell phone store to put in my order for a rumoured phone with (like, wow!) a built-in camera. I wanted to be the first on the block. How "Ho-hum" now, eh? Best regards, Robert PS: "It took me a little while to get the hang of it but once I figured out my work flow it was almost like painting on canvas." (Susan Murtaugh) Esoterica: You can begin with a blank canvas or an existing photo. Using fingers and thumbs, the app allows users to make use of various painting tools and brush sizes and pick up indicated colours using the eyedropper tool. The "pinching" gesture, a feature of iPhone, is used to zoom in for detailed work. There's an undo and redo function as well. It's tricky--and mighty difficult for some. But for those who excel, can gallery representation be far behind?