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Mastering the Art of HTML

In Art on January 7, 2009 at 3:44 am

Clotilda, 20090102, HTML, 450 x 450 pixels

Chris Ashley: Clotilda, 20090102, HTML, 450 x 450 pixels




Everyday, for the last several years, Chris Ashley has created a new piece of digital artwork.  And unlike almost all other artist working in the digital media realm , where some sort of patented software is used as a virtual pallet, Chris Ashley is quite different.  He paints with HTML code; a process that is better known for creating text…not artwork.  Primarily, this being  because of the  inherent HTML “markup” limitations.

Next month, Chris is slated to be featured on this site, with an exclusive interview.  But because I find his work so compelling, I wanted to go ahead and offer a taste of what he’s about to my readers.  First by sharing what Chris states on his own website about the HTML art process ; specifically the way in  which his work is presented on his own website, called “Look, See.”

He says:

The HTML drawings exist within a specific context- anyone who has followed the work for awhile will have a sense that

  1. The drawings have or respond to a subject, and are somewhat representational, but not always of tangible things;
  2. This is really about making images, not about software.
  3. The drawings also derive their meaning from the fact that they exist within a weblog with a daily deadline: one drawing (typically) is exhibited each day, and the weblog serves as a gallery and an archive, all public;
  4. Meaning is also inherent in the fact that the drawings (almost always) are in series, so that each drawings is part of a body of work;
  5. Making these requires working up against the edge of the extreme and simple limitations of HTML tables, so that even though the images are necessarily structured in a grid, great effort is made so that the images are more than just a set of blocks; and
  6. Color is painterly- conventions like mix, tint, shade are emulated and used for structure, space, and composition.

It’s all quite a bit more involved- intuitive, hand made, felt- than it might initially sound, which will be borne out by looking and seeing.


Percy, 20090101, HTML, 450 x 450 pixels

Chris Ashley: Percy, 20090101, HTML, 450 x 450 pixels

Visit Chris Ashley’s website. Then later in the month return to this site to see more of Ashley’s work and hear more of what he has to say.  I know I’m looking forward to it.

- Max Eternity, 2009
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