Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Other Art Show.

Floss or die.

So the two most immediate art shows for me are the aforementioned paleo show, which is going to take a million years to put together, and this one, which will have twelve completed images in two or three weeks.

It's based on the work I've done for the last two issues of Swill, pieces composed using scans and photographs of bones and other objects.

I start off by composing in Photoshop, sometimes using a sketch as I did in this case, sometimes by using an image in my head. Frequently the visual possibilities of the material suggest unforeseen directions.

I learned more about light in the three weeks I spent taking and using photographs than I had in twenty years of drawing.

In order to make the images work I had to keep the lighting of the finshed piece clearly in my mind -- if I was going to use an object and reverse it in order to make a gate or a set of claws or what have you, I'd have to shoot the same object from the same angle and reverse the light. Lots of little details like that...

Then I flatten the images and convert them to bitmaps, in some cases at seventy-two ppi, sometimes at one-hundred. These are composited at about seven and a half by ten. The coarse bit-mapping is done in order to make the images clearly reproducible when using a photocopy process. But this is a case of deriving style from necessity...

The bit-mapping of the image helps to make the separate elements inhabit the same visual space; in some cases I've gone in and drawn on top of things and the drawing is indistinguishable from the photographs or scans.

These are then resized to fifteen by twenty inches at two-hundred and forty ppi. This is done as a bitmap to preserve the clean blacks. At this point I convert it to an RGB file, add one white layer for the background, one clean layer for colors, then on top is the bitmapped layer. I select the white areas in that layer and delete it so that the black pixels that define the image at this stage overlay the layer on which the coloring will be done.

Then I use the pencil tool to place flat color onto the color layer, which is on top of the white background layer and the bitmapped image. The result is very much in the style of comics and animation cels -- the color palatte is influenced by old-fashioned four-color comic books.

The images initially published at seventy-two ppi are colored using more experimental methods than the one-hundred ppi images. The simpler works need the additional information that fully-rendered color can give.

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