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Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

:: Boston CyberArts Festival ::

In Art, Feature, Interview, News on April 28, 2009 at 2:25 pm
- Children of Arcadia -

- Children of Arcadia -

Presented at the 2009 Boston CyberArts Festival by the Cambridge Arts Council, Children of Arcadia was created by artists Mark Skwarek, Joseph Hocking, Arthur Peters and Damon Baker.cyberartsfest_rgb

Luminous Garden by Beth Galston

Luminous Garden by Beth Galston

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Conceptualized and organized by George Fifield, the Boston Cyberarts Festival is an electo-digital fine arts festival “dedicated to the presentation and exploration of artists working with new technologies.”  Click here to visit the Boston CyberArts Flickr Photostream.

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- (video still) Nature...can be fabulous by Halsey Burgund -

- Nature...can be fabulous by Halsey Burgund -

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The 2009 Boston CyberArts Festival

An Interview with George Fifield

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Hi George, welcome to AD Mag

Thanks Max, it’s my pleasure

So this year celebrates another Boston CyberArts?

Yes, that’s right.

And how long has it been going on?

Well this year marks the 10th Anniversary of the festival. And since the festival is a biennial (held in alternate years) the 2009 festival marks the 6th of its kind.

That’s impressive, that a [digital] new media arts festival has had such continued success for more than a decade now.

Yes, but your see, Boston has for many years been at the forefront of new technology. Most people know of MIT, which of course is well-respected in the science and technology fields, but the Greater Boston area was also the place for the first “art television” experiment (experience) called the New Television Workshop.

Really, all those years back! That’s before I was born!

But there’s more, because from the first show, Media and Medium, the Paik Abe synthesizer was used to create the first artistic video distortions. This then paved the way for what would be the first “virtual reality” interactive computer installation; an exhibition in 1993 called “The Computer is not Sorry.”

Amazing. Truly, this is a lesson in history. But sticking with your event, I’m not sure, but it appears to be a group of events? So my next question is, how or why did the Boston CyberArts come into existence and what’s it’s structure…how’s it organized?

As it’s founder, I created the Boston CyberArts festival to celebrate the history of the New Television Workshop; also acknowledging the overall legacy of new media in Massachusetts…in Boston. The organization serves in two distinct capacities. The first is that it is an exercise in collaboration between many, many arts organizations; . The second opportunity that the festival presents is that it’s a place where all mediums are celebrated and appreciated. In other words, this is not just about computer based art, it’s ALL new media, from the performing arts, literary arts, digital prints and everything in between.

That’s an interesting phenomena in the new (art) technology realm. You serve a lot of people.

Yes we’re an umbrella organization. We do the organizing and set the tone and theme. Each year, we have a different theme. For instance, this year our theme is virtual reality. As a result, an exhibit will be going on over at Second Life, the virtual reality world. It’s called “Traversing Sweet Reality.”

I’ll be sure to check that out. And lastly, could you tell me about the Children of Arcadia. I saw that piece on your site. It’s very interesting.

Yes, that one seems to be drawing a lot of attention. The Children of Arcadia is a virtual reality of a the Wall Street area in NYC. It’s a sequence of moving images that respond to the current financial situation. If the markets are faring well, the video shows a beautiful scene, clear skies and all. But when the markets go sour, it’s a different story. The buildings crumble and the streets rip themselves apart.

Well, I think it’s a wonderful piece…very dramatic. And with that, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to speak with me.

You’re welcome, glad to be here.

"Cracking" by Dawn Kramer

"Cracking" by Dawn Kramer

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April 24, 2009 - May 10, 2009

April 24, 2009 - May 10, 2009

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Solomon Walker: Portraits in Color, Texture and Form

In Art, Feature, Interview on April 14, 2009 at 8:54 pm

nesting

“Nesting” by Solomon Walker

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Born in Jamaica, Afro-Canadian artist Solomon Walker uses the digital pallet to create painterly prints and photographic canvas; deep, rich, textural constructions — images that are the embodiment of color and form.

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The Sleep Over
The Sleep Over

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Feature Interview:  Solomon Walker

Pretty Things #16

Pretty Things #16

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Hi Solomon, welcome to AD Mag

Thanks a lot, Max, am very glad to be here.

Let’s jump right in shall we. How long have you been an artist?

Well, I am blessed to be born into a very creative family, and background, with a long list of creative folks with skills from all areas of the arts. When I was ten years old my family immigrated to Canada from the Caribbean. Very soon afterward, I became fascinated with cartoon characters in comic books, and started to copy the images of my favorite heroes. Landscape and the outdoors also fascinated me, and soon I started practicing drawing all sort stuff depicting nature. I became pretty good at realistically capturing what I saw. The big turning point came for me when I graduated grade eight, and was awarded “Artist of the Year”. I was elated! Then, a recommendation came that I should enroll in my city’s top Art school, and I did. That school, Wexford School of Art, is where I pretty much learned the various techniques in Fine Art.

The work that I’ve seen online appears to have been created with digital tools; correct? Do you work in other mediums?

Yes. I would classify myself as a fulltime Digital Artist. I try working with every digital graphic tool I find; those recommended to me by friends. Creating digitally is fun for me – and no mess!

I started my career on the real canvas, with a traditional education. I was a portrait artist in the early days, and also did graphics and illustrations. My favorite traditional medium is still watercolour, and I do mess about with this on my leisure time. But, for the moment, I have no big desire to get back to mixing watercolour paint. I wish I started my career in digital, but there is certainly no replacing the traditional tools, it was extremely valuable for me.

So, you have a website that you moderate. It’s called Urban Stone Gallery. Could you tell us about that site – its name?

Essentially, it’s a personal blog site where I try and update my fans and associates of what I am currently messing about with on the digital canvas. Although I cant seem to find enough time to spend there. The USG name came about several years ago (late 90’s – I believe). I wanted a unique name to use as a blanket for my digital and traditional art, and possibly a gallery in the city some time in the future.

I do have a few other sites online, including a new project, Museum of Digital Fine Art. With this project, I am trying to inform, to educate artists and art lovers, of the lucrative potential of Digital Art as a serious medium for a future art industry. I also founded and moderate a digital arts group on Imagekind.

In Construct #3218, I see influences from the early Modernist period; could you talk about that piece – that series?

Construct 3128

Construct 3128

I am influenced by so many schools of art that its quite hard to pin-point just one. My hero in tradition art is Rembrandt, while my heroes in modern art are all those from every corner of the globe. Though most are mainly from the American schools of the 1940’s – 1960’s. The Polish school of surrealism is a big influence for me at the moment, and some of the new Chinese artists inspire me as well. Am forever learning to learn, and everything deeply inspires me!

The “Construct Series” started about a year ago, when I was trying to fuse my love of Architecture and Design with my painterly style of digital art. I seem loose my senses when I view great architecture (even naturally formed) – and at home I try to keep a collection of books and magazine nearby to peruse. It’s an ongoing series, which I will continue to add pieces as times goes.

You have an incredible use of color and texture in your pieces. At the moment, I’m thinking of the Mandala-like images; those wonderful circles that seem to be cross sections of the seed pods from fruit.

That a wonderful definition, and thanks for that. Although I paint and work mainly on the digital canvas, my influence comes from traditional means. I doodle a lot, and like details. And since I was a portrait artist for a long time, I do consider that training to have embedded itself someplace in my psyche. The “Mandala Series” is like doodling for me, very fun and stress-free!

At the moment am starting to explore more the use of texture and colors in making art digitally. I think that’s very important for me, because I paint from my emotional connections to a subject, and it’s a very quick caption which I ultimately pull from my mind to define that relationship. That’s the main reason why I paint in the abstract. Texture and color are very important in my art.

You’re a Canadian artist, from the Toronto area? What’s that like? Are you a part of the local art scene?

Yes. Toronto is my home, and where I got all of my early art education. It’s a very beautiful and culturally diverse city, with lots creative people to bounce all sorts of whimsy ideas with.

I do have a lot of artist friends here. But, for a long time, I stay out of the hub, mainly because I had to try and make a living away from art. I went into motion picture acting for about five years, and then enrolled in Computer College, becoming a computer technician. I opened a retail store, built and repaired computers, while I painted digitally in my spare-time. Since the autumn of 2007, I started focusing full time on my art career. It’s been a fun ride thus far!

Toronto has hundreds of top quality art galleries and museums, and the art scene here is usually quite lively. At the moment it’s a bit dampened because of the uncertainty of the economic situation across the globe. But, am sure things will pick right back up as folks gather optimism and confidence within themselves and from other places. I am looking forward to participating in some local shows this summer and autumn.

As you might already know, in America there are very distinct “racial” lines, with it being so much the case that in the course of everyday life, Negros, Black people (African-Americans) live a parallel life; an existence apart from (alienated?) the mainstream, yet which deeply influences the mainstream – white society and culture. In so far as, that no matter how acceptable we (myself being a Black man) become are appear to be, we continue to be outsiders; by force and by choice. We are apart of – we are apart from. And nowhere is this more seen than in the art world, as most of the mainstream moneyed galleries represent Whites, Asians and a small percentage of Latinos, but very rarely representing a Black person. In America, the art world is largely a racist (anti-Black) segregated place. There was even a documentary film called Colored Frames, which was created to speak to this issue.

From looking at your photo, you appear to be a Black person. Though, regardless of your race or ethnicity, I’m curious to know if this dynamic is what you also see in Canada – your experiences?

Well, its definitely not a color-blind world, even in Toronto, or elsewhere across the globe. I do feel fortunate that I was born in the Caribbean (of mixed heritage), where folks are not usually pre-occupied with the issue of race. The big issue there in the tropical climate is class-ism, which certainly has its dark side as well. Being here in Canada, I cannot say I personally felt that kind of racism, but I know it exist. The interesting thing we seem have going here is a sense of assimilation. Racial lines are usually blurred on the surface, and folks inter-mingle quite freely on a daily basis. It may sound a bit Utopian, but that’s the sense I gather as I move about the cities and rural areas.

Regarding cultural issues in America, I don’t really know enough to give it proper justice. What I do know is that art is universal, and even though an artist may feel trapped in one corner of the globe, they may gain big praise in other places. It’s very important, from my experience, that people, whether in the creative field, or otherwise, step outside comfort zones. Don’t let others define you; you have to make a concerted effort to define yourself, always. That goes for any group as well.

My hope is that African-American artists, and other artists from various ethnic groups, who may feel neglected or mis-represented, stop waiting for any one gallery, or set of galleries, to approve their work. It’s just too small a peep hole to try and get everyone through! Since art is basically measured by its perceived value, by the amount of folks collection it, market demands, etc…then its very important for the individual artist, or group in a movement, to persistently up that perceived value daily, weekly, yearly, in order to have the painting become even sought-after by those folks who perceive that its important. It’s the best way to win the game!

Another thing to consider is the universality of the subject and themes of the art itself. I believe, to truly thrive and survive in the art market, an artist work has to have some sort of appeal to perspective buyers not only on the busy fashion avenues of Paris, nor gated cities of Boca Raton, or French Riviera; but in Bombay, India, as well and Kowloon, China. Artists shouldn’t get stuck just painting their own cultural experiences, but do try and step outside their neighborhoods and find empathy with other cultures, other causes.

How do you see art? What is art – its role in life?

I see art as personal, just as I perceive faith and belief. It comes from inside. When we draw or paint, we can then share this art on the surface with our fellows to enjoy, to contemplate. We are essentially giving the beholder a sneak preview of an otherwise private world. Of course, every artist has his/her definition, and that is why it’s such a personal experience. I could not say why another individual may create art, neither can anyone else. I believe the need is deeply complex, and for some a must, in order to continue the long journey through life. Art is whatever it’s creator conceived it to be; and then the role it may have in life is pretty much whatever the viewer can extract from it. Whether to heal or to motivate, its role is endless as the sky above.

Your hopes and ambitions for the future?

To keep creating interesting images. Am an optimist by nature, so the world around me is an open canvas, to add dabs of paint here, a bit of shade there, and some texture yonder…

For myself and the readers of AD Mag, I’d like to say thank you for sharing your life and your art.

My pleasure. I very much enjoyed this session with you. Best wishes and continued success.

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More of Solomon’s work can be seen in the AD Mag Artists Gallery. A be sure to visit him on the web.

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prettythings15– Pretty Things #15 –

Jim Nilsen: The Flavor of Photography

In Art, Interview on April 14, 2009 at 8:24 pm

italy-604

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With a portfolio of photographs that cross the continents, Jim Nilsen uses his camera to capture the color, hue and flavor of the world.   In his travels, he has toured everywhere from Italy, America, Mexico, France and Italy.  Recently he took a break to chat with AD Mag.  Here’s what transpired:

Mexico # 55

Mexico #55

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The Flavor of Photography

An Interview with Jim Nilsen

by Max Eternity

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The spiritual nature of art – photography; can you talk about capturing the moment?  Some photographers say is it a form of meditation?

When I do happen upon a scene in my travels that excites me, it does have a sense of timelessness — flow, being very much in the moment. I have been asked by viewers of my photographs why I composed an image in such a way or why did I choose to photograph it in the first place………this if frustrating for me to answer because I am really not aware of why.  I don’t want to know why. During the creative process, the less thought process, the better…the more intuitive it feels.

Choosing the pallet…color?

Again, choosing in not conscious but paying attention to my reaction and excitement level upon viewing a scene is how I work. Of course, most of my pallet choices are vibrant.  Originally they were enhanced with Velvia, and now with [digital atmospherics] Photoshop. It is interesting to me in all my travels in Latin America, the Mediterranean Europe, and Rajasthan,  in all the small towns and villages I find a lot of color in the architecture.  But, not all of the colors schemes go together in a pleasing combination.

I sometimes walk into a village and am blown away by how much color there is, which doesn’t feel right. Collectively, it would seem that the population of the village does not have a very artistic talent for color combos. So, I often compose house facades with the vertical lines of two different properties being designated by color. It can make for a very pleasing and complete composition if the colors go together.

What about using the camera as canvas and brush?

I have never really thought of the camera as canvas and brush but I certainly have begun to think that way now using digital tools; with Photoshop. I like being able to do a few or multiple little things in Photoshop; making an image come to life. Often it is as simple as dodging and burning different areas of the scene.

Do you have any projects you’re currently working on; new goals?

My style of course has changed.  Initially, I would visit a country in search of interesting and colorful facades. I would just roam with very little intent other than finding a Golden Easter Egg. It was a lot of fun but I would often strike out. I am not more intent on visiting new places to photograph very specific scenes. I am happy to visit old places where I’ve already been.  For example, I am returning to Tuscany this spring and will be visiting numerous scenes that I have mapped out on two previous trips.

I am thinking about a book project but I don’t want it to be a blatant showcase of my work. I would like to come up with a topic; a title [category] perhaps that my work may fall into.  Then go from there. One example of this is Hans Silvester’s book: “The Mediterranean Cat”.  It’s a great marketable subject with amazing images as well.

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To contact Jim or to learn more about his work, visit his website. And look for more examples of his work in the AD Mag Artists Galleries.

India #379

India #379

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A Photo-Tour with Michael Vayhinger

In Art on April 14, 2009 at 4:09 pm

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Michael Vayhinger:  Photographer

In his decade long career with Europe’s EuroStar, the transcontinental rail system of Greater Europe, Michael Vayhinger has photographed much of that corner of the world.  In one of our many conversations, I asked him if he ever set out to be photographer; to be an artist.  He replied no, going on to say that he has a difficult time thinking of himself as an artist.  But then when I learned that both of his parents work in the arts; one being a painter and sculpture, the other being the co-owner of one of Germany’s finest galleries, his statement about not being an artist surprised me even further.  Of course this then brings into question, what makes an artist.  Is it because one thinks of him or herself as an artist, or is it because others declare that said person to be an artist?  Wherein lies this decision; the line of demarcation?

Whatever the case, there’s no denying the incredible eye that Michael has for capturing the totality of a surround.  Whereas often it seems that most photographic artist have a specific area of expertise,  Michael seems to have that special gift of capturing the full breath of a moment in time.  It’s as if he has some intrinsic perception of the actuality of each scene; the  terrain, the composition and placement of objects, the ambient mood, atmospherics and the time of day.  So that whether he’s focused on a young bird standing on a well-worn path, or the  immense elegance of  Paris’ Cimitiere Pere Lachaise, his images inflect a subtle, transformative quality.

Michael Vayhinger 2007

Michael Vayhinger 2007

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Postcards from Europe:  France & Germany

by Michael Vayhinger

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AD Mag would like to thank Michael for sharing his work.  To see more of his distinctive captures, visit his website or look for him in the AD Mag Artist Galleries.

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