ddrees art

My art work and thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘digital art’

Identity Images

Posted by ddrees on January 10, 2011

took a course in semiology in 2002 at U of Baltimore for my Doctor of Communication Design work.

Semiotics, also called semiotic studies or semiology, is the study of cultural sign processes (semiosis), analogy, metaphor, signification and communication, signs and symbols.


Richard Stanley, principal of Swisstrix who studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule Basel with Wolfgang Weingart, taught the course. Richard was quite fond of Hoffman and Hoffman’s graphic design ideas and has remained his friend throughout the years. Through this contact, I am but two degrees of separation from the Swiss Style. I like being aware of these connections, reflections in the net of gems. Many of my Skidmore professors from way back when, Robert Reed, Arnold Bittleman, Arthur Anderson, Victor Ligouri and others were directly connected to Josef Albers. I remember the day that Bob Reed and Arnold Bittleman had Alber’s newly published folio of Homage to the Square silk-screens in hand and were showing them to our class. Later I met many other Alber’s students, like Norman Carlberg at MICA. So there I was two degrees of separation from the Bauhaus version of color theory, which I have enthusiastically passed along to a multitude of CCBC art students. I discover that Weingart was also attached to Yale so the net of gems image continues to work.

One of our projects at UB was to develop sincere identity images. The two you see here are my results. Perhaps due to my many years on the planet yielding many interests or my older brain finding it difficult to hone things down to a single essence, my icons of self remained fairly divergent. They also reveal a lot to me if not to anyone else. They are somewhat of a psychoanalytic exercise.

D Drees ID 1 ©2002

D Drees ID 1 ©2002

D Drees ID 2 ©2002

D Drees ID 2 ©2002

Because I make images with an array of traditional media, plus digital media I do not think of myself as a painter or printmaker but as an Iconographer. Unfortunately that word does not mean to most people what it means to me. My take on it has more to do with art history and semiotics and less to do with graphic user interface icons that many think of, or paintings of holy figures in byzantine style. My icons include representations, likenesses, symbols, and signs.

So my sincere identity images incorporate some visual ideas that I have developed over many years including;

  • Spectrums embedded in an array of natural creatures like the ring of butterflies;
  • Aspects of fractals, like marbling passages;
  • The physicality of pictures as opposed to the abstraction of words;
  • Delight at the variety of creation as expressed in Pied Beauty by Hopkins;
  • The hand of higher power from which all ideas and talents flow;
  • Layers or dimensions of reality that we float through constantly;
  • Relationship of words to pictures, (allowing the troubling word iconographer to be present.)
  • Pens, brushes hands palettes keyboards, all very trite images standing for artists, I allow because they are what affords the transition from mental/internal to physical/external, hackneyed or not. (In our class we also discussed where to draw the line between hackneyed, obscure and simply understandable; what we do to make sure something is being sent out and received.)
  • My image of myself as the fairy godmother or good witch improves on a very early image of my aged self as the crone 1968-1969. The crone can be transformed into the good fairy.
©d drees 1969-3 The Information, oil

©d drees 1969-3 The Information, oil

©D Drees 1969-4   Revelation, oil

©D Drees 1969-4 Revelation, oil

©D Drees 1969-12  24x18 pen&ink

©D Drees 1969-12 24x18 pen&ink

Our primary readings in Richard’s class were from Arthur Berger’s Seeing is Believing.

Later I would incorporate these and other readings into my CGVC246 course, Graphic Design for Communication. My other reading suggestions for that course:

  • Hot-Wiring Your Creative Process; Curt Cloninger;
  • Semiotics for Beginners; Daniel Chandler;  http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/semiotic.html; free semiotics tutorial
  • Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art,
  • Hillman Curtis, MTIV; Process, Inspiration and Practice for the New Media Designer,
  • Jim Kraus, Idea Index,
  • Rick Poyner, No More rules; Graphic Design and Postmodernism,

If an artist ever wants to clarify his/her messages, these sorts of studies are essential.

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More about op art

Posted by ddrees on December 30, 2008

r-ms1eturning to my discussion of Optical Art, I would like to share some of the ideas of US design education in the third part of the twentieth century. At Catonsville Community College, the two of us who were the main two-dimensional design teachers for years, though very different in personality, shared in the indoctrination of our alma maters, Bob Dale from MICA and UMD and me from Pratt, PSU and indirectly, Yale through Skidmore, and so we saw eye to eye on our educational objectives. I handled the Color Design class, which was more Albers than Albers. I do not think we were too much different than most of the country in our points of view.

The CCC art faculty used to differentiate between types of op art effects in a manner that would help the students gain control of the art elements both one element at a time and elements combining with other elements. Other objectives were to develop abstract thought capacity and hand eye coordination. In those days we believed artists should have an ability to objectively assess what they put out for communication and to realize that there might be a difference between what they were recording to the material world and what portion remained in their imagination. The students were supposed to realize what was the perceiver’s share. This is not a new idea in education, think Henry Adams “One sees what one brings”, but with many ripples about what is really real. Since I somewhat believed in objectivity, this was important to me.

Let us not forget that Plato worried about the unreality of images many years ago and the discussion goes on and on from there. Oh yes, there was also the graven image item in the Ten Commandments and what that would expand to. In the sixties and seventies, the op artists were making their manifestos  and I remember Victor Vasarely declaring that after him there would be nothing more for anyone to do in the art world. I think he missed something basic about creativity. He must have missed Arabesque designs which influenced Maurits Escher and also quilt designs to mention a couple of precedents.

Maurits Escher- Butterfly

Maurits Escher- Butterfly

NYPL arabesque designs 4

NYPL arabesque designs 4

NYPL arabesque designs 3

NYPL arabesque designs 3

NYPL arabesque designs 2

NYPL arabesque designs 2

NYPL Arabesque designs

NYPL Arabesque designs

I have used quilt design motifs in a number of my works like these two below.

magnolia quilt-©1989 DDrees

magnolia quilt-©1989 DDrees

magnolia quilt-©1989 DDrees

magnolia quilt-©1989 DDrees

We are really all remix artists. Some pieced quilts

c1tcht2 pieced quilt

c1tcht2 pieced quilt

japanese-quilt-show-at-the-la-connor-quilt-museum-wa1

japanese-quilt-show-at-the-la-connor-quilt-museum-wa1

le159v1 pieced quilt

le159v1 pieced quilt

oleo-1973

oleo-1973

Some call Vasarely the father of op art, but with so many design precedents I cannot see how anyone could lay claim to that. At an AIGA speech at the Baltimore Museum I recall hearing April Greiman laying claim to the circle. I think she was at least fifty, so old enough to know better. She startled me.

The basic starts in our 2d design class were line transitions as previously discussed. Previous

Line transitions were made out of even width lines that might or might not wave or change direction. The line had to be repeated many times at intervals or negative spaces that were close in width to the lines, to create ambiguity at the edge of vision’s tolerance for seeing things as discreet lines and spaces, and optically mixing them as visual gray. The result of the ambiguity would be difficulty in keeping the image static. You could delight in how something as simple as a line system would produce flashes, depth and motion arising through perception. Many traditional artists and engravers already knew all this because they had to control the elements to tease them into illusionism.

https://ddreesart.wordpress.com/tag/op-art/

Diderot's Encyclopedia Sandal detail showing line transition

Diderot's Encyclopedia sandals engraving

Diderot's Encyclopedia sandals engraving

When I was a student in Bittleman’s class he would have us take small pieces of Albrect Durer’s mature woodcuts and copy them with brush and ink very magnified in order to study the relationship of the line pattern to image formation.These traditional artists were not so interested in focusing on these tricks as on some other content of their preference.

If you start to use shapes rather than lines, new experiments can be generated. Adding color shifts, hue, value or intensity adds the next development. So from line transitions we took the students to shape transitions. From simple figure ground ambiguity we moved to reversing figure ground designs in which the shapes had additional content, like being letter forms or creatures, (think Escher). I hope that the students were following this train of thought. I assumed they were because it was so laborious for them to craft these items in pen and ink that they had plenty of time for their brains to ponder on it. Their results were often very good. As more elements join in the game, possible creative results expand exponentially. Using a vector program makes this all the easier. My computer graphics students can proliferate designs so fast it would make Victor Vasarely roll over in his grave. I do not think they care to imagine what it was like to make these by hand. The end of art is nowhere in sight.

Student’s digital line and square op art examples:

	121cg1_cmc_opsquares2.jpg

121cg1_cmc_opsquares2.jpg

121CG1_JW_checkers

121CG1_JW_checkers

cgvc121_lmp_checkers

cgvc121_lmp_checkers

cgvcd121_eab_oplineart2

cgvcd121_eab_oplineart2

cgvcd121_eab_opsquares4ai

cgvcd121_eab_opsquares4ai

jhorstmanCHECKS

jhorstmanCHECKS

trudylrwbheart

trudylrwbheart

How tos;

Making a Line transition with bend and twist in Adobe Illustrator- see figure

  • Make line stacks with a 6 point stroke
  • Transform /move /vertical -12 point . Copy the repeat transform 50 times or so
  • Option drag to get 8 or so stacks, Align and distribute the stacks
  • With direct select tool select points between stacks and move the set. Repeat till it looks like this
  • Then  apply the twist filter
op line-bent-and-twisted-part-11

op line-bent-and-twisted-part-11

op line-bent-and-twisted-part-2

op line-bent-and-twisted-part-2

mylinetranbendtwisted ©2000 DD

mylinetranbendtwisted ©2000 DD

Making a Shape transition in Adobe Illustrator

  • Shape blend between two triangles- one with apex to left one to right
  • Height of triangle must have multiple values that equals number of steps times vertical distance between top and bottom
  • Run the blend. Here there are 14 steps between two shapes
  • Make another set horizontal as a start guide to reset apexes for additional columns
  • Option drag column and edit apex- repeat to width desired
shape-blend-starts for op shape transition

shape-blend-starts for op shape transition

	shape-transition-1 ©2000 dd

shape-transition-1 ©2000 dd

Line transition with figure ground reversal

figure-ground-reversal-lines

figure-ground-reversal-lines

figure ground reversal dressed up ©2000 dd

figure ground reversal dressed up ©2000 dd

figure-ground-reversal-turned-decoration ©dd 2000

figure-ground-reversal-turned-decoration ©dd 2000

I plan to add an entry about more complex figure ground reversals in the future.

Art and life

In view of the playful, game-like nature of op art, despite the arguments that it points out ambiguities and conditional nature of meaning, I often worry that art is a minor pursuit. But I feel that I can be surer of my conditional statements in art than if I were to make huge blunders in the material world like our government has been making. In art, the players are line, shape and color, reference, etc. In politics and control of wealth I do not even know who the real players are. I do see some ugly results in the real world, so I hope the future will track down the truth.

This from Harold Pinter d.2008: excerpted from Nobel Prize acceptance essay 2005

In 1958 I wrote the following:



’There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.’



I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?…..

So language in art remains a highly ambiguous transaction, a quicksand, a trampoline, a frozen pool, which might give way under you, the author, at any time. 



But as I have said, the search for the truth can never stop. It cannot be adjourned, it cannot be postponed. It has to be faced, right there, on the spot.…

I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all.

My PSU printmaking mentor , Bruce Shobaken, used to say about being an artist, “At least I am not hurting anybody”

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Fish and Fowl Show – October 3 to November 9

Posted by ddrees on September 28, 2008

Fish and Fowl Show

Fish and Fowl Show

I managed to get my prints for the show framed and ready. Jane Morais installs the show Tuesday, September 30 in Berkeley Springs, West VA, Ice House Special Exhibit Gallery. Of the exhibitors, Olin Yoder and Jane have been my colleagues at CCBC, both now retired; Harvey Kirstel was in the Art Department at UMBC for years, now retired and Mark Adams I met many years ago when he was painting mostly nudes. He is now participating in a painting a day project on the web, which means his work is accessible to many more viewers and buyers. Below is an oyster picture in the Dutch tradition I nabbed from his site.

Dana and I plan to go to the opening in Berkeley Springs and stay over a night, as the reports are that it is a one of the”Top 100 U.S. Art Towns”. Years ago when we were planning our Interdisciplinary Humanities Courses at CCC, my colleagues and I stayed at a B&B there and the Art Department and later the Computer Graphics Department did two day curriculum revision retreats at Coolfont. Student Government used to go to Coolfont regularly with the student club leaders for Leadership Training. I am not sure that still happens. Times change and the money gets spent by different priorities.

At the top is the show announcement card and below the new pieces I made for the show. These in this blog entry are all digital. I had made real watercolor and marbling fish items earlier in the summer. The digital prints have some of my scanned marbled papers as source files. Some include the blend/extrusion forms I have been working on in Adobe Illustrator and I hope will show up in the next Illustrator Wow! Book by Sharon Steuer. They have been worked on both in Illustrator and Photoshop.

IllustratorCS3 Wow! Book

IllustratorCS3 Wow! Book

My new digital Fish pictures;

Promenade © Dedree Drees 2008

Promenade © Dedree Drees 2008

I Feel Pretty © Dedree Drees 2008

I Feel Pretty © Dedree Drees 2008

Three Way Conversation © Dedree Drees 2008

Three Way Conversation © Dedree Drees 2008

Treacherous Going © Dedree Drees 2008

Treacherous Going © Dedree Drees 2008

The Dory © Dedree Drees 2008

The Dory © Dedree Drees 2008

Two Fish © Dedree Drees 2008

Two Fish © Dedree Drees 2008

Red Orange Fish © Dedree Drees 2008

Red Orange Fish © Dedree Drees 2008

Blue Fish © Dedree Drees 2008

Blue Fish © Dedree Drees 2008

Spotty © Dedree Drees 2008

Spotty © Dedree Drees 2008

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