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I’ve shared previously in Blog posts my passion for visual art and the desire to move further beyond the traditional limits of modern digital photography. In fact the very first couple of Blog posts I created for my website describe what Pel Maché is and where the concept for it came from. Pel Maché literally means to mash up pixels, which is exactly what this form of art is very good at doing. By photographing digitally and mashing images up through the use of computer software and traditional art mediums something new is created. I’ve shared a bit of the work I’ve created in the gallery on my website and just recently have decided to pretty much dedicate The Davis Arts Legacy Website Gallery to this new and exciting medium of self expression. So after over three decades of dedication to the art, craft, and business of traditional photography, it’s time for me to move into the next phase of legacy creation; the art, craft, and business of Pel Maché.
I’ve also noted that these Blog posts would cover the work that appears in my website based gallery each week. Wanting to be true to this statement this week’s Blog will be about the 14 pieces I’ve selected to showcase. I’ll describe each piece, its conception and what it represents to me as the artist. Some are personal, others playful, and a few meant purposely to illicit thought and perhaps dialogue and discussion about the place art occupies in the social commentary of the current times. I hope you’ll grab a beverage of choice, sit back, and either read or listen to this Blog with an open mind and perhaps a pen and paper handy to write down any comments or questions you may have. Like I mentioned earlier, I sincerely wish to begin a conversation with you.
For starters let me give you a little background on this specific collection of gallery images. Each one began with a digital photo created using a phone camera. My tool of choice happens to be the iPhone, but it doesn’t really matter what the initial imaging platform is. What does matter is that each image was created specifically with the craft of Pel Maché in mind. Most of these images were made in my home environment and within a week of this Blog. In fact many were created on the same day. It’s a personal goal of mine to create new images, if possible, each week, to share in my website gallery. That’s not to say that I won’t sprinkle in some previous work or will miss a week of getting out to create as I hope to. But I’ll do my best to keep up with my goal of new art each week. Goal setting is a prerequisite for any long range strategic planning objective.
Some of you may be interested in the nuts and bolts of the technical side of the equation like the names and brands of software that I use etc. This is understandable and I certainly won’t avoid answering your questions. Just know that I experiment...A LOT! The creative process is one of discovery, involving many trials, resulting in a good number of errors and a few happy successes along the way. It’s life itself, played out on the creative stage where endurance, courage, and discipline are well used tools of the trade. After all, where do you think those popular two and three word slogans like “Just Do It”, “Shit Happens” and “No Fear” originate? Undoubtedly they come from the hearts and minds of those who’ve tested them out to a further degree and at a grander scale than most. This isn’t meant to discourage or dissuade you in the least. It’s meant to actually do the opposite and help you set your own foot on the path to the greatest creative adventure of your life. If that sounds over the top, well, that’s part of my goal for my legacy, so prepare yourself if you dare.
Now to the question about the software I choose to use to help with the Pel Maché creation process. The basic adjustments are often done using the tried and true wares of Adobe, both Lightroom and Photoshop, to get my contrast, exposure, color tint, saturation, and sharpness where I want them to be. Then I’ll move on to one or more of the following programs and apps available. Warning; this is a long list and not for the faint of heart or those with very shallow pockets. Topaz Studio, Adjust, Sharpen, Simplify or Gigapixel. Aurora HDR, ACDSee Gemstone, Camera Bag Pro, Corel Painter, (Not Paint Shop Pro), Luminar AI, On1 Photo RAW, DXO Pure RAW, NEAT Projects Professional, Smart Photo Editor Studio, JixiPix Aquarella, Artoon,Chalkspirations, Chromatic Edges, Dramatic Black and White, Fold Defy, Grungetastic, Impresso Pro, Moku Hanga, Pastello, Photo Formation, PhotoArtista, Pot Dot Comics, Portrait Painter, PuzziPix Pro, Rip Studio, Spektrel Art, Vintage Scene or Watercolor. Oh and Inspirit, Varnist, Flux Vortex, Animatix,Prisma, EFECT, Fluid, Oilist, Splash, Vector Q and Filterloop. If you are counting that comes to a digital software tool chest of 48 programs and apps. I’m sure I left a few out.
The point I hope to make here is that there’s a myriad tools available, all have their merits and their weak points, but a place where they will fit in when needed. Like visiting a well appointed ice cream shop, sometimes you feel like one flavor over another, or you want to mix a few to see what delightful concoction results. Like the painter who has many different brushes and pigments, you don’t often limit yourself if you wish to experiment and create something you haven’t done before. After all they are only the means to the end, which should be the art you wish to create, that makes the statement you intend. Do I have my favorite tools? Sure! As you begin this process of Pel Maché yourself, that is if you intend to embark on this creative path, let’s see if you can figure out which ones are my favorites. Or I’d love to hear which one’s you’ve found, that aren’t on my list already, that you couldn’t live without. Let’s share a little!
Moving on to the pieces I’ve shared this week we’ll start with the first one in the gallery titled “Cityscape” This is my personal nod to Dutch abstract artist Piet Mondrian whose famous style of abstraction reduced a scene to its essentials of form and color. His work while definitely in tune with abstract modernist leanings was tempered by his interest in Theosophy. In fact he seriously considered becoming a minister. What I find compelling about Mondrian is his conviction and belief that his art making process was “directed and led by the intuitive” and powered by what he referred to as “unknown forces”. Anyone who has been enveloped by the power of the unknown guiding force behind their creative endeavors understands completely what Mondrian was saying. The power of this force is undeniable and intense. Which brings a whole new meaning to the quote made famous by another very popular and undeniably creative person; “May the force be with you.” But then I’ve been told my head’s been in the stars for some time now.
The second piece in the gallery titled “Pop-eyes” pays homage to Andy Warhol. Pop, as in Pop art, brings soup cans to mind, but also the personality behind the art. No one can say that Andy Warhol didn’t have a bigger than life personality to match the style of work he created. Love it or hate it Andy’s work brought a whole new aspect, a Warhol aspect if you will, to the modern art scene. You can almost see another Pop artist with a larger than life personality in this piece. Who but Elton John could put on a pair of glasses like these and pull off the publicity he created in doing so? Don’t forget how important your unique personality is to the creation of your art.
The next piece is titled Stars and Stripes and the connotation of both is pretty easy to find in this image on its visual surface. It’s a little busy and crazy, which sums up what the United States has been all about for quite awhile now. This image seems to indicate that we’ve all gone “Postal” in our own way as we play front seat witness to all that the U.S. represents. I’ve often made the comment that we live in Disneyland in this country whether we recognize that fact or not. Traveling to almost anywhere else, outside of Dubai, possibly, will convince you of the validity of the Disneyland syndrome we’re affected by. Art is a great medium for pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of society and is often used as such. In fact of matter it should be, whether as a comedy dialogue, or a song, or a Pel Maché. Art is often the vehicle used to point a finger at the proverbial mirror confronting us in life.
The fourth piece is personal as this cat is an integrated part of our compact and cozy family unit. Comicat is a depiction of this little furball of constant fun and frustration. She’s got a beautiful coat and expressive eyes that will steal your heart and a personality that can be as comical as it is inquisitive. The style of this Pel Maché was developed to fit her personality more than anything. It’s a good thing when an artist can use the right techniques to get a piece just right.
Techno-Diet is definitely a finger pointing to the current social pressures that technology has forced upon us in today’s AI biased world. We are literally eating, breathing and drinking a cocktail of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in the form of a force feeding tube shoved down our collective throat by a corporate rush headlong into the desire to control every aspect of our life. It’s no longer a subject of fiction, (1984 anyone?), it’s now fact that controlling a population en mass, ala China, is a real thing that many in our own country look upon with envy. Again, art is sometimes a stealthy way of bringing to bare upon and unmasking serious problems which society’s have faced throughout world history. Our current society is no exception.
Just imagine. I mean really. This piece could be viewed by a thousand people walking through a physical gallery and every person, if handed a piece of paper and writing tool, or how about a tablet, could create a personal story about what this piece is telling them. Often it’s not the artist’s place to tell the viewer what their art means. There are usually hidden clues in the title, if a piece is titled at all that is. But I believe it’s more creative to leave the visual queues open ended and then let the magic happen. With that, I ask you, what is this piece telling you? Let your imagination fill in the proverbial blanks and make use of this time to create a story. If you’re brave enough I’d love for you to share what you write with me. If you’re REALLY brave I’d be willing to share it with others who visit my Blog and social media.
Speaking of titles that tell the story the next piece almost does. Titled “Diverging Convergence” we are confronted by a duotone piece that shows converging and diverging shapes. We see the convergence along a path towards a horizon line with dark thick shapes that appear to converge and curl as they diverge way from one another, but then, look as if they will meet again somewhere along the lines they form. What does this symbolize to you? Can you think of things that converge and diverge in life that have nothing to do with visual art but which this image might symbolize? Let me know what this represents to you. When you do I’ll share my own personal analogy with you as to what this represents to me and what meaning lay beneath the visual surface. Sometimes art that is somewhat ambiguous is that way for a reason. It can help the viewer exercise their own imagination. The beautiful thing is there’s no correct or incorrect answer. Ambiguous art helps us exercise our own creativity in thought and, perhaps, even action.
Cat of many colors is just that. No ambiguity needed. This is feline number two who shares our dwelling with us. Rather the cat who owns our dwelling and aloofly allows us to occupy it, with her permission, as long as we promptly attend to her every need. This seemingly growing list involves feeding, cleaning, scolding and providing a warm lap in the evening for her to treat to as the dais she most certainly believes she deserves. She’s a cat of many emotional colors which she has most effectively succeeded in weaving into the fabric of our hearts.
The next piece illustrates this in an interesting way. Drawn into thought. But what thoughts? What do cats think? What do they understand and, more importantly, believe about us? We may think, as this piece alludes to, that it’s all black and white and simply drawn if you will. I seriously doubt this though. For knowing what we’re like they have decided to stick around and befriend us anyway. Building stories with your artwork provides a greater level of dimension to the vast expanse around you. It allows you to see and feel with eyes that are on the inside and not just the ones you wear on the front of your head.
Okay last feline in this gallery. I promise. It’s titled, “Life’s Little Puzzles”, which is just another name for what cats are. This image, more illustration than pure Pel Maché, represents visually what most of us feel when cat’s lives happen to rub up against our own. Many great visual artists have gotten their start in graphic arts as a job or vocation before pursuing their passion for an avocation in art creation simply for the sake of creating art. Even if all you wish to do is occasionally make art for yourself, a career in graphic arts might make sense as it will help you learn new techniques and work with tools you might not otherwise have access to.
Art On The Bleeding Edge is a representation of what being a progressive artist sort of feels like. Imagine Rembrandt or Van Gogh trying to make ends meet in their day. Most artists didn’t. Which unfortunately and occasionally meant the forfeiture of body parts, intentional or otherwise. It makes for good conversation and interesting art but isn’t something I encourage. So consider this piece a morbid comedic hats off to those who came before us and who felt having two of anything was just too much for them to bear.
Finally we come to the end of the images in this weeks gallery with a piece I’ve titled “Dogwood Daze of Spring”. Okay, yes, it’s a play on the term “Dog Days of Summer”, but cut me some artistically licensed slack here. Part of the fun of creating art is getting to name the pieces, the results of which just may succeed in causing some to be dazed while others are dazzled. This piece is an example of a duotone in high contrast that again steps lightly into the arena of graphic arts. I’ve been known to try my hand at graphic arts as I design my own logos and layouts and have a lot of fun doing so. In fact its a great way to dip your toe into the world of art for arts sake if you don’t feel confident enough to forge forward yet in your painting and drawing if that’s what you’d like to do.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Blog and will share your thoughts with me. I’d like to hear what you like and didn’t like about both the art and the words used in sharing these pieces with you. I also remind you to share your impressions of the pieces and what they symbolize to you or the feeling you get from them. If you have ideas about what you’d like to see presented or discussed here please let me know. I can be reached at email@example.com I sincerely welcome your input.
To be transparently blunt about it, and with no shame in doing so, my desire is to grow this Blog and website into a resource where people will visit, share, learn and grow within their personal creative disciplines, while also building a legacy of their own. To do this I am asking for your help, either through your sharing the link to this Blog with others you feel may enjoy it, or through informing your potentially interested connections that it exists. You can also let me know your feelings by clicking on the little “TIP JAR” button near the upper right corner of the site’s masthead and donate whatever you feel is appropriate in exchange for the information provided here. Any donation is appreciated as it indicates that what I do share is being received positively by those of you who visit.
I’ve got more things planned for the future of this site and beyond. That sort of sounds like a line from the movie “Toy Story” when Buzz Lightyear said something like, “To the stars and beyond”, but then as I mentioned near the beginning of this Blog, those who know me well have said that I do have my head in the stars as I explore the possibilities beyond what currently exist. You have the much needed fuel, with your vote of confidence, regardless of how that vote may be presented, that will help keep me there my friend. Until next time.
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