In my exhibit at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art in 2007, I showed a new body of work of fully integrated drawn, painted, and photographic images that I
am calling ‘Digital Drawings,’ or ‘Hybrids.’ These are my most demanding undertakings yet, both technically and conceptually, in this new medium. ‘Hybrid’ is a term I’ve been using to define images drawn directly on the computer screen combined with images from my own paintings and photographs. Or, using a digital matrix created out of my own drawings, I use the resulting image to paint on. I aspire to achieve an aesthetic integrity and complexity that would be almost impossible to accomplish in another medium.
In painting, one is aware always of the artifice, by definition. In digital photography, everything is subject to change, reinterpretation, or just plain deceitfulness. In these digital drawings, though, I’m attempting (and I believe succeeding) to bring the images, though created digitally, totally back into the realm of art– or artifice— by making them totally unreal and metaphoric rather than literal or photographic. The photographic elements are used only to make the artifice more involving. For instance, Elephant is composed largely of images of antique Santos which function more as surface articulation and emotional underpinning than as photography.
Another virtue of this way of working is that I can save my work at any point in its creation and move back and forth in its history to reexamine the directions it
could have taken, allowing fruitful sidetracking and experimentation. I have the option than to develop alternative lines of thought. As a traditionally trained
contemporary realist painter, I have often painted serial images of the same subject to allow myself just this sort of multiple possibilities. Now, drawing
directly on my Wacom Cintique monitor-tablet using Photoshop tools, I have access to subtler variations on a theme, and can compare, change, or combine
these various versions as I desire. As well, I can print in in several different sizes, which gives the pieces great flexibility in what can be shown and how it is
The core original image of each work is drawn on the computer screen as if it were on a paper or a canvas, generating an entirely digital file. I can then embellish this digital drawing with pieces of my own paintings (or photographs) almost as if collaging, but to a very different effect– In essence, I draw with areas of my paintings themselves, and can refigure, revise, repeat, and reform them as I need. I remain in a state of heightened attention because there is no longer the tedium of copying the original painting to allow for experimentation. The original has become an endlessly reproducible file, subject to nondestructive
mutation at any point in its creation.
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