Monthly Archives: February 2014

Transfers onto Acrylic

This is mostly for my own use. Collecting useful links about creating digital image transfers for different materials.

Acrylic Gel Medium Method: http://www.instructables.com/id/Image-Transfers-with-Acrylic-Gel-Medium/

This is the concept drawing that has the most most potential for this project, although it’s early days yet.

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And I made some cube nets and tried them out in paper.

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and the patterns on their own

patterns in one

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Games: Media Hysteria

ExtraCreditz is a user on youtube who does very interesting videos on video games in relation to psychology, sociology, politics, art… etc. In this video he references a game that was designed to inform people about the perils of war by portraying the battle of Fellusia. It was meant to be informative and thought provoking, unlike US Army propaganda games like Call of Duty and Medal of Honour, and had the blessing of the soldiers who had fought in the war there. Because the medium of video games was used to create the piece, there was a huge media backlash and the producers caved and withdrew money from the project rather than actually defending it. Had they chosen the medium of painting or sculpture they would have been fine.

 

“An alluring rawness and freedom in it’s simplicity”

An interesting short documentary about the origins of pixel art and how it’s relevant to today’s artists and gamers.

The documentary by Simon Cottee references “Understanding Comics” by Scott McCloud.

“Perhaps you’ve experienced this before: You feel a connection with a simple cartoony character, such as Charlie Brown, but not a realistic character like Prince Valiant. Why is this? According to Scott McCloud, this is because the mental picture we have of ourselves is simple and basic (Understanding Comics Page 36). Therefore, we are able to project ourselves into the simple character but not the complex one.

This is a valuable lesson because it deals with the important need to make your characters relatable. If you want your audience to feel like they are the main character, make sure the character isn’t overly elaborate and detailed. Leave the interesting specific details for the colorful secondary characters.”

The narrator references pointillism, minimalism and abstraction in painting, which is interesting because I’ve never heard anybody else make those connections. He says that pixels were at the birth of digital art and are the rawest building blocks of all modern digital art, being equivelnt of the hammer and chisel to stone carving or the pencil to drawing.

Contextual bits and bats

Here are two articles I read from The Guardian website, both on opposing sides of the “Are Video Games Art” argument.

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2012/nov/30/moma-video-games-art

This first article (by Jonathan Jones) is basically a troll post mocking the idea that games can’t be art. He picks examples of games which definitely aren’t art and were never intended to be art as examples of why games aren’t art.

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/gamesblog/2014/jan/08/video-games-art-and-the-shock-of-the-new

This is a response piece by another Guardian journalist, Keith Stewart, which is a really well considered response.

Aaaand here’s another piece by Jonothan Jones again where he makes the same points and uses examples of games that nobody would ever consider being art as examples of why games aren’t art, this time with extra condescension.

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2014/jan/07/playstation-video-games-art?commentpage=4

This is probably going to be my dissertation now. It really winds me up. I’ve seen whole groups of art critics on the culture show attack video games as a legitimate medium and it doesn’t really make any sense. It’s like me watching all of The Fast and the Furious movies and using that as a basis to say moving image can’t be Art, but it seems to be a much more popular opinion within the Fine Art community.

http://www.pixeljoint.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=11299

This was linked to me by my dad and also by someone else on a pixel art group I joined on deviantart. I think this is a popular site for pixelo art advice.

Here’s an interview with rockpapershotgun.com with Charlie Brooker.

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/07/15/gaming-made-me-charlie-brooker-part-1/

Rockpapershotgun.com is a really good site that does games reviews but also talks about sexism in games, games in relation to the art world and interesting articles about gaming psychology… etc. It’s very high brow for a video games site. It’s just about his life as relates to video games and their influence on him and his early work as a games journalist.

Here’s an image I drew in Hexels. It doesn’t really relate to this post but it’s mainly so my tutor can take it into account towards my grade.

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Pixel Art Project (Evaluation of sorts)

Here are some examples of the processes I used to design my sculpture

This was done in a modded version of minecraft. There is a shaders mod which gives the game rather beautiful lighting effects, HDR and depth of field (minecraft is a pretty ugly game by default). Another mod allows you to build with small cubes which are 1/8th the scale of the regular blocks which allows for more detailed smaller sculpture design.Image

I found a browser based program which let me work on a simpler version as the above form was too difficult to make in the amount of time we had.

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This includes the new colour for the outside surface as there was no white available in the University shop and there wasn’t enough time to order from elsewhere. I think the aquatic looking blue-green works rather nicely with the red.

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Here are some photos of my sketchbook. I was trying to work out the best way to build the sculpture, and typically went for the most awkward and potentially disastrous option. At first I was going to bevel the edges of the glass to 45 degrees so they would fit together at nice, perfect right angles and use the UV glue, which is very strong, to build the piece from flat panes of glass. Unfortunately none of the machines in the glass workshop are able to do that and the best I was able to get was a roughly 60 degree angle. Gluing it together without the beveled edges would leave a glaring seam line, which I wasn’t really happy with.

Pros: I think it could have looked fantastic.

Cons: Just a catastrophe waiting to happen, although may work very well with simpler forms quite well. I may still use it in the future.

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The next thing I thought of was using panes of glass but making it so only the corner edges were touching and applying some super strength gluing silicone stuff to fill in the corner space, and making it a feature. It made the process a lot more difficult and unpredictable and I really shouldn’t have tried it this way. It does actually look really nice as a feature when it is done well. They had various colours to choose from but I thought white would work best.

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The next idea I came up with was laser cutting horizontal slices of the piece and constructing it layer by layer using some kind of wood glue if I cut it from wood or solvent weld if I was going to use some kind of sheet plastic. The model would have needed redesigning slightly to accommodate for this construction method but I think it would have been quite hard to make a mess of once I had all the pieces drawn out to scale in Adobe Illustrator. Also the scale would have to be quite small. If I wanted it bigger I would have to make some of the slices hollow which would end up taking an impossible amount of time for the laser cutter to finish cutting them out.

The most important thing about this method is the fact that it’s much easier to make complicated forms. I did want to make four sculptures based on my mipmap drawings (The images of the four shapes drawn at different resolutions).

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I made a huge error in working out the number of pieces I needed for the inside part of the sculpture meaning I ran out of red glass and had to end up using a dark purple for some of the inside.

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working out how to build the outside part. This way of drawing out was a bit too complicated and hard to really see what was going on in the drawing.

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This ended up being the easiest way to figure out, with diagrams of what cubes needed to be on what layer and then drawings over the top to indicate what’s in the above and below layers so I know what I’ve got to try and accommodate for as I construct it.

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The construction ended up being very haphazard:

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A mock up of how it might look with surface textures sandblasted into each “cubes” face.

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Sandblaster pattern mockups

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My slightly iffy approach to sandblaster stencilling.

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There are advantages to having a pig sty of an art space. My sculpture collapsed the day before the exhibition and I had to spend all day trying to put it together and the various cans and pots on my desk proved useful supports. I’d also run out of sticky silicone stuff but managed to borrow some off another student although it wasn’t actually glue like the other stuff and the sculpture collapsed again the next morning and I had to spend all day fixing it and trying to clean it up then too.

 

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I ended up having to resort to good old fashioned duct tape, which I tried to cut up carefully and make into a feautre of the sculpture. The humidity in the exhibition space made it all come off after a few hours and took a really long time.

This is the finished piece.

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I’ve learned a lot from this project. I think I’ve found something I can run with within craft that is conceptually relevant to 2014 and that can lead to some interesting and unique pieces. Video games and the craft world don’t really cross very much, and the stuff that does exist is way more towards literal representation of video game personalities rather than relating to video games as a medium and I think there is a lot I can do to explore this with my work. I think the psychology of video games, in the way they are constructed, and the way the player enjoys them, or doesn’t and also how they relate to various aspects of the media.

I think for Trelissick gardens I need to start to make and test much earlier in the project. It’s hard to start making when the object already exists in drawing form and I know what it looks like. Making always seems a little bit pointless at the end.

 

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