3: Palm process

Well, I decided I wasn’t interested in any of those ideas – they weren’t making the text part of the image – they were just text on images and I wanted something that was completely incorporated into the image. I was walking home the other night and looking at trees and thinking about how interesting it would be to take Python code and the image that it drew and somehow incorporate the code into an image, showing that code is art in it’s own way – functional and if done right, elegant. I don’t remember enough Python coding on my own, but it got me thinking about making objects and literally making them out of the letters. I stayed on the thought of trees and decided to do a palm tree.

I spent a long time last night going through fonts I had installed and fonts I had that I hadn’t installed yet (I recently got a huge package of fonts, not knowing this assignment was even coming) and decided on 3 Prong Tree as the font for the palm leaves. I intend to use a different font for the trunk. The leaves will be made up entirely of the letters “PALM” and the trunk entirely from the letters “TREE”. Unfortunately, I think I might have picked something that might be too large in scope – it’s taken me over an hour and a half to do only this.

raw // with tree

I really like this idea, but I’m worried that even if I get this image done, I’ll not be able to put as much effort as the other images deserve on top of my other homework for my 3D Design class. :/

I haven’t heard back from my interview yet, so at this point, I don’t have anything going on for the rest of this week except for an hour on Thursday and an eye doctor appointment on Friday, but that might screw me up for most of the day since my eyes are getting dilated. Other than that, I can dedicate ALL of my time to homework, but I’m scared I won’t have enough time. :/ Why can’t I just stop time and have enough time to do everything I want to. Bluh.

Edit: 9/23/11, 2:49 am

So here’s where I am right now. At this point I’m somewhere between 9 & 10 hours in on this. I’ve been doing a lot of experimentation with the warp tool and have learned a few things about it – most importantly, that you can’t use “custom” in the warp section to move specific anchors in the grid as you see fit without rasterizing the text – it’s an image-only action! So now that I’ve figured out how to do that, I’ve gotten a lot of the curve effects I really wanted in the foreground prominent frond.

With how long this has taken, I’m estimating 12 more hours to finish the fronds (4 fronds in 8-10 hours), plus however long it takes to do the trunk, including deciding on a font that feels appropriate. Then I have 9 more images to make. Fortunately, 5 of those are going to be putting THIS text treatment into other images, so it won’t be as work-intensive as this. I have no idea what I’m going to do with my other text treatments right now. I haven’t even had time to think about them.

On top of that, I have 3D design homework due Monday.

Sleep – I have a feeling I’m not going to be getting a lot of that between now and Sunday. :/ I wish my eye appointment was next week. It’s probably too late to cancel it and I really need contacts, but I really don’t have time to be out of commission with my eyes dilated for several hours. Boo.


3: process : ideas

Should I go at this picking an image and thinking of the words that come to mind, or picking a word and trying to come up with different ways it can be interpreted via images?

The first is to take an image and give it five different type treatments, thus, changing the meaning. The second part is to take one of those type treatments and change the image associated with it.

These directions tell me I should look for an image first. But there’s always the idea of working in reverse.

Word ideas:

Bound – leaping (the font bouncy), tied together, marriage, for a destination, ?
And then which one would I then play the swap game with?. Hm. /shelf

Empty – empty room, empty cookie jar, person or outline of person, empty field, ??
Field could be incorporated to have different words on them.

Degree – diploma, angle, temperature, being grilled, ?

Trust – money/bank, cuddling/holding hands, gift, ??

Image Ideas:
I think I could just spend some time scrolling through image places and think. I’ll post here as I come up with ideas.

Veronica Lake in Paramount Pictures (word that comes to mind: muse. (another image with muse would be someone thoughtful?) fate.

Think about the text visual distortions. Twist.

Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore.


This idea punches me hard, because I think it’s often so difficult to pinpoint people who are suicidal and/or suicidally depressed. Some people hide it so well. I think it’s a powerful statement to work with and I really might try if it doesn’t end up triggering me too much. There’s also another side to this statement – it doesn’t say “I want to die” or “I hate my life” just “I don’t want to be in this world,” which often categorizes my own depression of “I just don’t want to be,” but I wonder if I would feel different in another world. Maybe I would or maybe the problems that are so difficult for me now would follow me, like a flaw in my own person.

Protect me from what I want (( Protège-moi )) This could be played with in the same way.

And then one of these images can be pulled and then placed with different “thought” ideas. I could stretch it using different fonts, colors, etc., but I’m really interested in keeping that same flatness, forcing the words to do the work rather than the typography, but we’ll see.

Also, “removed” as a word theme, either for this assignment or another. The word “removed” or a phrase that indicates removal and a piece cut out of the image and clearly missing, either with white in the background or another picture showing through to represent the missing subject. I want to play with this idea, even if I don’t use it for this assignment.

Image and Text

They say a picture is equal to a thousand words, but adding some of those words to an image can change the way it is interpreted entirely. The same can be said for the image that you choose to associate a word with.

Assignment #3 has two parts. The first is to take an image and give it five different type treatments, thus, changing the meaning. The second part is to take one of those type treatments and change the image associated with it.

This assignment appeals to me in a lot of ways, as I have difficulty picking one final piece, but at the same time, it kind of gives me a foreboding feeling. I have a hard time with typefaces. I always see amazing things that people do with typeface and love the things it’s capable of, but I feel like I’m awful with it. I can never get the right font, arrange the letters in just the right way, and don’t even get me started on how frustrated I get when photoshop starts doing weird things to letters for no discernible reason.

My current fixation got me thinking about the posters that circulated for the movie The Social Network. I’m sure anyone who reads this is sick of hearing me talk about it, but it’s topical, I promise.

First I’ll address the fonts chosen – Klavika and Futura. As mentioned Klavika is the base for the font actually used on Facebook. Both Klavika and Futura are excellent fonts for superimposing over an image – good for readability, making a point and feeling modern without going over the top into futuristic. Nothing gets lost, even in the complicated background of Jesse Eisenberg’s face on the movie posters.

Now, take the way this font was applied to the following images:

This is the default movie poster. This is the same phrasing that was used on the movie box. Now see how the feeling changes when you look at some of the promotional posters that were hung up and digitally broadcasted when the movie was being promoted: (note, some of these have been defaced, which also lends to a change in feeling when viewing them).

Imagine the posters with only a single word, conveying only a single meaning instead of what you just saw. It changes something about the way you view the subject of the poster. It changes the way you think about the message of the movie. All of the words are important, falling back to the same message I talked about in my last piece regarding the different layers of people – what’s important in this message is the different perspectives people have of Mark Zuckerberg.

I wanted to illustrate the different feeling, not only by removing different words from context, but also the feeling having so many words over one face looks. In my search for a blank image (I know they exist because the parody posters exist) I found this post on tumblr which includes a link to a photoshopped blank. Perfect. Now let’s see how things look when we play with them. Immediately we see that the one that says “prophet” and the one that says “traitor” conjure up wildly different feelings just by the connotations of those words. “Punk”, for some people, resides more closely to “traitor,” in emotional feeling, whereas genius does something else. This is just an example of the power of words when intersected with images. Now, as the assignment suggests, I’m going to pick a word and stick different pictures in the background. Obviously, this is just a rough representation with not a lot of effort put in, but the last one in particular changes the meaning drastically. (images to be added later. They’re on my other computer)

I’ll continue to try and come up with ideas of how I’d like to go about this assignment into work, but this is me just processing it.

Reading : Show & Tell

Questions based on reading Show & Tell.

I’ve never understood why some people don’t consider comics an art form, especially modern day comics. My question is why not? What is it about comics that keeps some people from considering them art? Could comics do anything to change that? Is it the words involved? The way panels are arranged? Subject matter? Style? Relating these queries back to digital art isn’t difficult, as we’ve discussed before that digital art often struggles to be considered in the same arena as other art forms.

And what caused us to create such a divide between words and pictures? It seems natural that they would go hand in hand – they did once. Was it for more specificity? Native ability? Not all writers can draw and not all those who can draw are good with the written word, but often, anyone can string a sentence together. Does this relate to the reasons for the gap?

Appropriation Process 2

So I tried the mosaic idea and it wasn’t really doing anything I didn’t hate, so I went back to the layered idea that I was working with with the forest piece based loosely off the work of Idris Khan. I’m actually very happy with how the forest turned out. See here, here and here, but I didn’t feel like it pushed me as much in terms of creativity and skill, so I wanted to try other things once I finished it.

I spent one workshop day in class working on this image of an octopus that I mentioned in my last blog post, but ultimately scrapped it because I wasn’t happy with where it was going.

So here’s how my layered piece using Mark Zuckerberg as the subject came out, but I still wasn’t happy with it visually, although it was more approaching the meaning I wanted with the mosaic piece.

I got distracted somewhere in the middle with the stress of my personal finances and made a few versions of a piece that also imitated Khan’s work, entitled Debt, in which images of various sample billing ledgers were used to create a chaotic piece that embodied my anxiety and frustration. Although, I’m unhappy with any of the versions, I’m documenting my process here, so I’ll include them for the sake of completeness. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Finally, I went back to my idea mentioned earlier of a composite portrait. Although it may not immediately be as visually pleasing as the forest piece, I feel that it’s a more significant work. The purpose here is to show a layered person – we’re all multifaceted and it’s important to remember that there’s more to a person than just one side of them. In this piece, I strove to capture things such as public persona juxtaposed with a more personal, private or relaxed side the subject. This takes into account perceived personality and usual appearance, work ethic, how time is spent and divided between work and leisure and other such important issues of a person’s life. I chose Mark Zuckerberg as the subject not only for the reasons mentioned in the last post, but because there is such a conflicting public perception of him as a person, entrepreneur and businessman, not to mention the privacy issues that are constantly coming up in terms of Facebook and the line between public and private faces that many people worry that the social network blurs.

The final work is entitled Pieces Form the Whole, and the title is appropriated from the song of the same name off of the score for The Social Network film. (You can listen to the track here on youtube.)

Disclaimer: Individual images for the “Forest of Trees” piece were gathered from stock on deviantArt and can be found at the following locations: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Pictures of Mark Zuckerberg and sample billing ledgers, as well as components used in the octopus piece were gathered via Google image search and Bing image search and I didn’t save the URLs. All images were appropriated and I can only take credit for the final work and not the individual images that make up the components of the work.

Appropriation process

I’ve been really sick for 2 days now, so I ended up missing class today. I’m laying in bed, thinking about what I would be doing if I were in class – working. I’m a self-admitted workaholic in terms of my creativity. I spent the entire weekend working with wire for my 3D design class, but this project has been looming in the back of my mind.

I’m happy with the trees image that I made, but I had it finished before class even started last Wednesday, so I spent that entire class period working on an additional image that I’m not happy with. I’m scrapping that, too, and starting work on something else.

Things catch me and sometimes they stick with me. I’ve always been big into being a fan of things and those things can hold me anywhere from a few months to years, flitting in and out of the content of everything I do, from writing to art. Something that’s been running in the background for me a lot is the movie The Social Network as well as its accompanying soundtrack. I know the movie isn’t factually accurate (I do my homework about things like something possessed sometimes if the information is out there to accompany whatever I’m into) but it’s poignant and it hit something in me that I can’t shake. I spent most of class last time trying to figure out how I could work my latest interest into my work unsuccessfully and ended up making an octopus with an elephant trunk and horns. I’d post the work in progress (that probably won’t be finished) but I feel awful and don’t want to get up to get my flash drive. I can lay here in bed and type just fine, maybe even work, but getting up and moving isn’t something I’m up for right now.

I was thinking of making some kind of composite portrait out of pictures of him but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Then I found this and it’s just perfect. It’s a portrait of Mark Zuckerberg made with pieces of Facebook. It’s licensed under a creative commons license that doesn’t allow for derivative works, though, so I feel hesitant about building anything similar. I’ll probably stick with my original idea of making some kind of composite portrait, but we’ll see how it goes. It just stunned me to see someone thinking along similar lines to me – of building someone out of something they’re known for. It draws back on the last assignment of an archive in a way, when you think about the fact that it’s a repetition of items used again and again – ie: a mosaic of a teacher being made out of pictures of classrooms, etc. I don’t know if I’ll have time to come up with something full off this idea by Wednesday with how awful I’ve been feeling, but if not, it’s something to pursue in my free time and I do have the finished tree picture to turn in. Proof that even through the haze of cold medicine, my brain is still trying to work.

I didn’t feel well enough to make it to more than one class without throwing up today, but I didn’t take the day off. I feel good about that.

Appropriation Ideas

The second assignment is to appropriate an image (or images) found in the digital world to create an original artwork. I’m definitely not unfamiliar with the concept of photomanipulation to create a new piece.

Some examples of things I’ve created previously include “Yum, Blood” and Hidden Drive. Hidden Drive was one of my early forays into the process of digital manipulation. As you can see, it was created in 2003. I’m really not proud of it anymore, but it took me a long time to make, and was a good exercise into learning some of the things that Photoshop was capable of.

After looking at the images by Idris Khan, I decided that this time I might try something similar to what he did – sort of stacking images and playing with levels of opacity, softness, size and try to create a feeling I was happy with. I found his images to be unsettling but intriguing – something I wasn’t completely comfortable with but not something I wanted to stop looking at.

Trees, over the last few  years, have had a very large and strange pull for me for reasons I won’t get into right now. My second venture into the archive project led me to begin creating a “forest of trees”. (you can see the as-yet unfinished work in progress of that here) I think I’d like to try that same idea, while pursuing something more along the lines of what Khan creates: layers of trees superimposed over each other to create a dense forest. Black and white seems easiest to make a level playing ground for the various colors that are to be found in such images. Also, to make myself feel more comfortable about appropriating images, I’m going to work as exclusively as possible in stock and creative commons licensed images.  The easiest place for me to begin that search was a site I was comfortable with retrieving stock for practice use – deviantArt. If I can’t find enough of what I’m looking for there, I’ll probably check out flickr and see what I can find.