Medium overriding the message?


When presenting the final project of my undergrad here on The Flying Trilobite, (see the process here: one, two, three, four and five) some excellent points have been raised in the comments of the last post.

My Art Evolved peeps Craig and Peter have been discussing whether or not unconventional mediums (like a wooden cube with busted slate tiles painted and hanging from wire) end up muddying the message more than conventional, easier to read forms.

Here are a couple of more photos, different from the the last post in that they show off the individual paintings more:
Click to enlarge.

This picture was taken on a weird angle. Sorry.


It was an interesting experience for me to have some of my artwork turn off someone for being post-modern and medium-focused. Typically, I am a painter in love with creating representational, realistic paintings.

As Craig pointed out, the medium is the message. We see here not only a 3D series of paintings hanging in a cube, we see them through the lens of a camera and displayed on a computer screen. It's very removed from say, Darwin Took Steps, a much more 2D picture which translates better through scanning and being online.

How much can the presentation enhance or interfere? Would video of a 3D object present better online, panning, zooming and with soft techno music in the background? Would it be clearer to scan individual pieces and present them as head-on photos?

Is this presentation in the immortal words of Mo the bartender, "po-mo; postmodern; weird for the sake of weird" or is something more getting across?

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under
Creative Commons Licence.


Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Next time on The Flying Trilobite: my interpretive dance fossil project!

Art Monday: Science Checkmate

A couple of days ago, I used Photoshop to edit my painting, Science Chess Accommodating Religion. I want to try changing the relationships of the pieces, and making the image more graphic and cartoony so it could appear on a t-shirt. I am thinking about captioning it "Science Checkmate".

Michael Barton, of
The Dispersal of Darwin suggested placing the pieces around the fallen bishop. Great Idea, Michael! It changes the way they appear utterly. Finally, I will need to punch up the whites and reds so it can be printed on fabric with more vibrant and clear colour.
I have to say, I'm working with Photoshop Elements these days, a program that came in in the box with my Wacom Intuos 3 tablet. I didn't use it on my old computer, but Elements (so far) appears to be superior to me old Photoshop CS. The selection brush is one of the coolest things ever. I thought it was just for tracing and it took a moment after selecting the outline of the Mendel piece to realize it simply expands the selection field to wherever you've brushed! It was a magic moment.


I'll post the final cartoony image and t-shirt another day, once it's in the repro shop.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery
*** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Science Checkmate

Using my oil painting Science Accommodating Religion, I've been noodling around with the image.

This might look good on a t-shirt if I punch up the colours to a less painterly, more graphic cartoony look. Hmm. I saved the image with all the pieces in separate layers so I can move them around and resize them easily. Now that I look at it, perhaps the pieces should not be so evenly spaced.

Looking for opinions: how should I tweak it for a shirt in my repro shop?

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Contest winner!

Winner of my first contest:

Coturnix!

Bora, you will receive a signed print of Science-Chess Accomodating Religion some time in the next few weeks.

Holy Monkey that was close.

I had to call in a second judge to weigh in accuracy factors and the timing of entries. I've also already, (appropriately, I think) tweeted the winning announcement.

Here are my original ideas, and a breakdown of how Coturnix won the print:
Pieces in the back, left to right:
-Darwin's tree of life drawing
-Wave-particle duality
-Kekule's dream of an ourobouros representing the benzene ring
-Mendel's peas
-Copernican heliocentrism
-Red bishop as religion, transparent, cracked, alone and with a halo, the halo being a symbol that most religions incorporate into their visual iconography
Toppled in the foreground, left to right:
-Stem cells
-Needle representing vaccines

But dude, this was close.

Basically, by mine and my second judge's tally, Scicurious actually had all of the correct answers - but the last after contest closing at noon today. Sorry Sci! I had to draw a line.

The piece representing wave-particle duality was the toughie - some of the answers had me scurrying to look up science concepts or history I was unaware of! Anonymous-Trish had it almost bang-on, but if I am looking at the difference between Coturnix's "radioactivity" answer and Anon-Trish & James' "
Curie's theory of radioactive decay and using it for carbon dating", I chose the earlier answer.

Thanks to everyone who played along - this was fun. And I like Bora's suggestion to see this on a t-shirt. And I think I need to send Greg Laden a Mr. Bill made out of plasticine.

Thanks everyone!
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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

"Science-Chess Accommodating Religion"...contest!


"I'm thinking scientific accommodation of religion is akin to letting someone take your King's Rook off the board because you're winning."

This painting was originally created due to the above Twitter tweet I made, inspired by the writing of Jerry Coyne, Ophelia Benson, PZ Myers, Mike Haubrich, Stephanie Zvan, Greg Laden, Jason Thibeault, Russell Blackford and Richard Dawkins. This painting is an homage to your writing, and the other atheists out there unafraid to speak up (I am sure I have left many out). Mike liked it enough to add it to his rotating quotes, and that got me thinking about how I would visualize it.


Since I began blogging my art, I have struggled with themes of secularism and atheism without being cartoonish or overly mocking. Science and my surreal riffs are fun and fascinating for me, but atheist painting concepts have been a challenge.

The contest
: identify all the pieces. I will give the first person to figure them all out a signed print from my reproduction store. Blog comments here at this Flying Trilobite post only to qualify (not Twitter or Facebook at this time, please, it will be hard to see who was first). A higher quality view of the image can be seen in my
Reproduction Shop.

Let's say...in order of left to right, with the two toppled pieces in the foreground following the red piece in sequence?
I will be away for my usual Art Monday, so let's leave this contest in its stead.
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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Hesitation

Some paint is on canvas.

I hesitate.

Traditional painting involves planning. Sketches. A clear vision. There is no "undo" function. Oil paints are capricious. As they dry, they darken but also become more transparent. Mistakes are revealed, old compositional frameworks exposed. The graphite in pencil can float to visibility on the surface.

Bah. I don't worry about the graphite. These days I aim to immortalize the pigments and oil with pixels and photons. But I must get the composition right. I want this painting to be able to be framed as an oil.

I need to begin my altered chess pieces. They make the painting. This is only the background.

Yet I hesitate.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under
Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***

Art Monday: sketching with iPod Brushes

Still getting used to it. Brushes is a pretty powerful program for digitally painting on the iPod Touch. I'm hoping to grow in skill with Brushes as I go - perhaps I need a stylus. Right now, I'm using my fingers.

When the idea for my Major Billy Barker & his Pterosaur Squadron hit me,
I was walking in a park and tried to sketch it out. The final colours ended up looking pretty different. But it caught the perspective and clouds.

Here's a slightly more detailed sketch for a new piece I am working on about the accomodationist / science communication uproar that's been happening on science-based blogs for the last little while.
It was again, one of those ideas that I needed to sketch immediately. I filled a couple of pages of my sketchbook, and this image before beginning the final piece. It's a great way to do a quick colour study without the mess. Not sure if the DNA pawn will make the final image though.

The stuff at the Brushes site is pretty inspiring, and illustrator Eric Orchard did some nice work with it recently. I think the key is to spend time with it, as you would any painting medium, rather than solely for sketching as I have done so far. I'm sure I'll be posting new images as they come.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

Flying Trilobite Gallery *** Flying Trilobite Reproduction Shop ***