Brace Yourself: The Love Affair Between Art and Tech

It’s an advertisement hawking Adobe software products. It’s exciting and scary at the same time: I know that it’s a futuristic vision of graphic applications, but I also know in about 18 months just might be considered “old school.”

Still, there is a surprising intuitiveness in these design elements: basically no lag time between the artist’s thought and the action on screen. It’s almost like finger-painting in kindergarten. What we slop is what we get.

The exciting truth to emerge out of this partnership is: Artists – known for thinking in radically different ways – are now helping shape advances in technology, and it appears Adobe is responding to their needs. Because of this symbiotic collaboration, head-exploding innovation is practically guaranteed. And perhaps most important: better tech serves our creative spirit.

Related link: Creative pros like Macs, but Adobe cozies up with Microsoft 

New Year’s Revelation: Artists Make The Rules

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(Pic #1) My new 4-year-old muse for 2015. Painting at our Hope’s Nest Christmas Art Workshop at Algin Sutton Recreation Center, South Central Los Angeles.

“Yes, Reindeer Can Be Red.”

This coming year, I am resolving to find fearlessness. The kind of fearlessness that showed up last week in the most unexpected place: at our annual Christmas Art Workshop in the heart of L.A.’s inner-city. 200 young artists with about 199 wildly different approaches to the art projects presented to them. (Pic #2).

The highlight for me came in the form of a question. A young man I had never met before began to tug on my shirt asking, “Miss, can you please tell me what color the antlers are on Santa’s reindeer?” I gulped. The former news reporter in me wanted to answer with scientific research (or course they are light brown, or beige, much like their coats of fur) — while the artist in me wanted to say, “You are the artist. You get to paint them any color you want.” Thank God I was able to let the artist out.

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(Pic #2) Young artist models her “all buttoned up” Christmas stocking.

I began to see that almost every child had “invented” his or her own color scheme, and that I might have been the only one tempted to search a National Geographic documentary for the “right” answer. The boy who asked me began to paint his antlers bright orange, and I nearly cried.

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(Pic #3) Pollock “splatter” painting technique

The girl next to him chose baby blue, and her sister went with black. I couldn’t have been happier. One girl actually covered over all of her back-and-white lines to create an abstract cloud of sparkly bliss. (Pic #4) Another painted a free-form, textured Jackson Pollock. (Pic #3) Color me ecstatic.

I need to remember there are no rules in art — and if only for a second we think there are — we have lost touch with those critical creative qualities we are born with: an innate sense of exploration, experimentation, freshness, and whimsy. These are the touchstones of great art – and I thank God I get to witness them in their full glory every year. Whenever I am short on inspiration, I will remember the reindeer.

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(Pic #4) Left: Two artists collaborate.  Right: Close-up: Sparkly abstraction

 

 

Step Away From The Desk! Find Your Creative Zone In New Places

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(Pic #1) As I make a total mess poolside at a tony Santa Barbara resort, server / musician “Ian” stops by to investigate the scene of the crime.

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(Pic #2) A few last strokes with Sennelier oil sticks. Exploring use of my left hand. Awkward but exciting.

I recently committed to keeping art supplies with me wherever I go. It’s been one of the most effective means of producing creative work. I keep a sort of “lunchbox” filled with little goodies from my local art store. Basics: tubes of acrylic paint, Sennelier oil sticks, graphite pencils with sharp points, newspaper (for ripping collage pieces as well as a way to protect the table you are working on), illustration board, colored paper, glue sticks.) These little treasures provide me with instant opportunities to paint, color or play with paper. Whether I’m waiting for my ride to emerge from the foamy poodle brushes at the car wash, or I’m staring resentfully at the blank walls of the DMV – I’m armed.

A few weeks ago,  Josh and I headed north for a couple of days in the sun at a seaside resort in Santa Barbara. At first I felt guilty, but then I realized I get to take my office outside. I got to create my own ersatz art studio amidst some of the most inspiring scenery on the planet.  All I needed was a table, which poolside server Ian (and his “man bun”) gladly shifted my way. (Pic #1)

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(Pic #3) Notice nature’s patterns and play with them.

Real productivity doesn’t mean you have to bury yourself in your routine. It means finding new ways to produce – and new places to do it.  For me, just being surrounded by fresh colors and quirky shapes is enough. Try exploring what surrounds you; find patterns in nature (Pic #3) or crazy color combinations in some lady’s muumuu. Play with those ideas and see what takes form.

A change in scenery can change your view — and the quality of your work. You will find yourself noticing things you passed by before, and that new habit will expand your visual vocabulary. Then, each time you paint, write, or make music, you will create something deeper, richer, and uniquely yours.