The Dancer or the Dance?

“People call me the painter of dancers, but I really wish to capture movement itself.”

– Edgar Degas

I don’t have a name for this new series of images yet, nor do I really have a name for the type of artwork it is (as Miki has pointed out in previous posts it is hard to find the right name). The combination of photography and painting in this manner is a little unusual – it’s certainly neither of the two but what to call the combination? Mixed media is so overused as to be almost meaningless. While the computer plays a crucial role in putting the two together, most of my time is spent on creating the original paintings that are used as well as the photographic image. The part on the computer usually constitutes less than 5% of the total time. Any suggestions?

I seem to always be drawn to making artwork that is a little difficult to explain to people. I guess this has it’s advantages and disadvantages – maybe the uniqueness increases interest, but sometimes it just confuses people. I am often present when my work is shown and always struggle to find the right amount to say about how something is made.

I will be showing this work (as well as some monoprints) at the upcoming juried ARTrails Open Studios event in October. If you are in the area, stop by!

3 responses to “The Dancer or the Dance?

  1. Hi Bob, thanks for stopping by my blog,

    I just started reading yours here and already had to comment on this post. On the subject of digital art, painting, and mixed media etc., I really relate to your thoughts. I take great pride in my by hand style of painting, but I do digitize the work a little bit sometimes for corrections. Also I will make derivative works from the photographed painting. In these derivative works I could not have achieved the effects and look of the piece, had I not started with my painted image. You ask a good question, what do you call this kind of work? it’s not just digital nor is it just by hand.

    -Ed T.

  2. Ed

    My experience with the general public when considering art is that there is a pejorative bias against anything “digital”. I’ve given this a lot of thought over the years and have several theories as to what contributes to this.

    There is a belief that if a computer was involved, then it did most of the work – just push a few buttons and out pops the art. This, of course, is generally not the case. The computer is a vast new set of tools that the artist must master – often the work takes longer or is more complex than before because there are more options.

    Second, it isn’t “handmade” – less of the artist themselves is involved in making the piece. This is true in some ways, but in other ways it takes more involvement from the artist.

    Finally, everyone has a computer and can do some cool effects themselves, so there is a tendency to devalue digital work because of it’s accessibility. Most people feel they can’t paint at all, and hold those who can in higher esteem – everyone can do some interesting things on a computer. Photography suffers a bit from this as well, since everyone can take a good photo on occasion.

    Overall, I have found working digitally a boon and a curse. As you say, there are some things you just can’t do any other way. On the other hand, the public tends to look at it with some suspicion or lack of understanding.

    It will be interesting to see how or if this changes over time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s