Global Living Diary of Digital Art
news, articles, and artist's experiences from around the world
Yugoslavia, July 1998
ENTERING THE GLASS CITY
- of computers and visual arts -
by Kolja Tatic, Yugoslavia
Before you continue reading, look carefully at the accompanying paintings. The
word "paintings" may not be appropriate, because the technology involved in
their creation is new, so the precise word for this painting technique, like
photography, does not exist yet.The terms "computer graphics", "compugraphics",
or "rendergraphics" also does not precisely define the technique used to create
The technique involved it this case is using the computer. Whether it is a
painting technique, only time can tell. It took a long time for the photography
to be recognized as an art, which it undoubtedly is. Recognizing and accepting
anything new takes days, if not years and centuries... The parallel with
photography is not accidental, as it too, in its beginnings, was thought of as a
mechanical technique for recording reality. After a time, copying the painters,
the photographers realized that their technique could create the results apart
from just recording the reality, and blossom into an art, enabling the artists,
despite the cold and precise machines involved, to express themselves and mark
their creations with a sensibility that sets them apart and renders them
The new technique today can be compared to photography before. On the average,
the computers are thought of just as the machines that should do manual an
repetitive tasks, calculations, and so on, but they became a lot more. The same
as a camera, or any other artistic tool, the computer is only as powerful as the
imagination and the sensibility of the artist who uses it.
Different techniques of painting embed their inherent limitations, borne by the
technique itself. Those limitations are not necessarily negative, as they in
some cases make the fundamental properties of an art. For example, the
photography cannot portray anything that is not lit by a natural or artificial
light, but that is the limitation that defines its true meaning - capturing the
value of a moment in a perception of a real world. The sky, the clouds, the fog
- all of that is impossible to adjust, except waiting for, if the motive is
static, different lighting conditions to bring themselves about according to the
artist's sensibility. The possible adjustments are limited to focal length of a
lens, different viewpoints, contrast filters, depth of field ... It is also
possible to further change the captured moment in the darkroom, nevertheless
what exists in a photography has to exist in the real world.
On the contrary, classic painting techniques, requiring extensive craftsmanship,
and mastery of the different ways of creating a painting, enable an artist to
show something that could never exist in the light of a day, his imagination
limited only by his articitic abilities. The new painting technique, using
pixels of the computer's monitor, also has no limits except the imagination and
the mastery of the artist. In this case, the mastery over a graphics software.
The absence of any physical touch with the painting, contrary to the classical
painter touching his canvas, paint and brushes, can be defined as a limitation.
Here, the physical touch is impossible, as everything, including light, canvas,
brushes, paint ... is simulated.
Using rendering and animation software, one can create, as in the classical
painting, the objects that really cannot ever exist. The limitation of the
background, which is usually a static image, requires a feeling of unifying the
lighting of that image with the lighting of the scene generated by the computer,
that can be changed. Searching for the right vantage point, choosing the field
of view, and adjusting the lights, resembles photographic work. It is possible
to check lots of different settings in a short time, adjusting numerous
parameters - but, the feeling is crucial! One needs lots of intuition and
experiment to achieve certain visual goals. Assigning the sponge texture to the
pillars, and human skin to the ground, are some examples of such effects.
The true touch of the author, however, can be seen in the use of image
processing sofwares, creating the final touch. There, the sense of atmosphere
and wholeness is imperative. Lots of tools that allow postprocessing of
contrast, brightness, sharpness, and other features of the whole image, or just
a part of it, create numerous possibilities. Except basic effects, common to
almost all the softwares of this kind, there are lots of plugins, that
supplement the basic software wonderfully.
Any artistic creation is a fight with the white canvas, that has no end and no
result, contrary to the craftmanship that has a definite result. The wish to
show an image to others, and the existence of the audience itself, is the
essence of any artistic work. The image as a final product of this creative
fight in this case is just a picture on the computer monitor, gone with the
power off. These images can last only transferred to a hardcopy device, such as
color printers and slide makers, whose performance is even today enough for
creating exhibition material, and getting better all the time. Using computers,
the artists can present their creations to the audience in a new way. The
internet, the global way of communicating and exchanging information, can be
used for sending and exhibiting the images without the loss of quality, in
minutes between the continents. The number of people that can see the images is
infinitely larger than in any other way of presentation. Classic and virtual
galleries shall yet coexist for some time, because, despite user friendly
operating systems and the increasing ease of use of the software, the computers
still require a certain amount of technical knowledge. In the world of art they
are established as powerful graphic design tools, but not as a pure painting
instruments yet. The time comes when, simultaneously with the further
democratization of the personal computer, painters will realize that a powerful
studio is there, close by, and the future has just begun ...
Entering The Glass City ...
January 8, 2000
No Art Here-
>We will have show in New York City for June 2000 and you are invited!
>The India show is traveling to 3 other Indian cities then to New York.
WOW! Great! I am happy man... because of my distant friends... Thank you very, very much for your effort and care about Glass city...
>Maybe someday we can mail the show to you and show it in your "Dusty
I think that my dusty province not merit your attention... Here is not place for art and "world people" like you... I think about my first Glass city exhibition in very faraway place from here... Maybe New York or Chicago... or... I don't know... but, here is not place for art...
Best wishes from faraway...