Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Mixing The Old and New In Mixed Media
During my years as a graphic designer, I spent a fair amount of time in front of the computer. So when I decided to return to making fine art, I re-discovered the joy of tactile experiences. Materiality is very much a part of my process – and yet the computer remains a familiar tool.
I enjoy mixing old and new technologies/media. In my Interpretive Landscape series I combined digital collage with pinhole photography and encaustic medium. The digital component enabled me to seamlessly execute my vision with disparate mediums (photo and abstract watercolor) while pinhole photography and encaustic require the physical engagement I find so desirable.
The concept of an image captured through a tiny pinhole was around long before photographic processes became available to make the image permanent. (It was the basis of the camera obscura - a drawing tool used by many artists in the 17th and 18th centuries. However, documentation of such a device can be found as far back as the writings of the Chinese philosopher Mo-Ti in the 5th century BC.) The pinhole camera is based on a simple law of the physical world. Light travels in a straight line and when some of the rays reflected from a bright subject pass through a small hole in a thin material they do not scatter but cross and reform as an upside down image on a flat surface that is parallel to the hole.
Encaustic (a medium comprised of bees wax, resin and pigment) is another "old process." This sensory-rich material was used by ancient Greek and Egyptian painters and is currently undergoing an overwhelming surge in popularity.
So today, when it is so easy to capture an image with a digital camera, it is utterly appealing to “go at it from another angle” – to bring physical engagement to the process – and to combine ancient technologies with modern. For me, the computer is a tool among many.