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Friday, March 24, 2023

The Bridge Artist - Defining Old and New Mediums in Art


Crossing the Medium Bridge

The Medium Bridge, is quite literally the bridging of old art mediums and new. Old mediums would include painting, sculpture, collage, abstract, or a host of other mediums artists have used in the past. New mediums would include digital art, computer animation, virtual art, or any other new medium that is based often on technology as an assist to the artists skills. 

The bridge merges the two mediums together. We too often put artists using new mediums in one camp and artists using traditional mediums in another. We seldom think to merge the two mediums together or if we do, we are not even consciously aware of it. 

Traditional artists tend to work with their hands, where New Medium artists are often working in front of a computer or tablet. I believe this creates a barrier that the artist is sometimes not even aware of. A bias towards one or the other. I am better because I work with my hands or I am better because I work with hi-tech. 

This is false. There is so much room to merge the two together. We are not taking advantage of it. 

Until recently I did not even realize I was working on the Bridge. I'd been using digital art in association with more traditional arts for so many years that I failed to even realize what I was doing. I also failed to realize that others would fail to understand that also.

It wasn't until recently that I began to see this fracture in the art world. I was suddenly being accused of working with AI art. That my work, because it had a polished and refined look to it, must be created by AI and not by me. 

At first I was offended. People were missing the depth of work I was placing in my art. They were only seeing what they perceived it to be. Then I began to look closer at the problem. It suddenly dawned on me that viewers of my art were unable to realize that an artist would be working with both old and new art forms. While my work was never AI, it still had some of the qualities of it. 

So why was this happening? 

It was happening because no one had taken the time to understand it. We were still functioning with a "them or us" mentality. Those who could relate to the new medium, especially younger artists, could only see that within the art. Old Medium artists might take more time to question what they were seeing to try and understand the process, but still formed an instant reaction to what they were seeing that said "this can't be created any other way except by a computer program".

So what could I do to make them understand better? 

First I could define what I do. So I created a new term. A "Bridge Artist". I use this term as a starting point towards understanding. A Bridge Artist is an artist who uses traditional art mediums with new and emerging art mediums. We literally bridge the gap between the two. 

I would guess there are a lot more Bridge Artists out there who do not even realize what they are. And this has led to misunderstanding that artists work. They may not have a clue why their work is misunderstood. 

So let me give you an example of what I do and why I consider most of my work to be Bridging mediums. 


This piece of art is multiple mediums rolled into one. I'll go over each since each one is a distinct form of art, blended with other forms.

BODY PAINTING: The model for the piece was body painted in a unique abstract form of art, developed by the artist. This method is called Wet Abstraction because the model is not painted in a specific way, rather the way the paint is applied creates an abstract pattern. Its called Wet because the paint is not left to dry. More and more paint is applied throughout the session, constantly changing the pattern on the body and adding more and more colors to the painting. 

PHOTOGRAPHY: The whole session was photographed, the model posed over and over again. The final photos chosen will become the final art later. Any given pose of the model may be photographed up to 100 times in different positions and different lighting.

SET CREATION: This would not seem to be important but it is a crucial part of the process. The set by itself is an art form that the model interacts with throughout the shoot. 

DIGITAL ART: When the session is completed, each photo is looked at carefully for lighting, position, angle, etc and a single image is chosen to represent the final art. That digital art is then used to pull all of the mediums together into a single piece of art. It may add other elements, color changes, enhancements, etc to the photo until it represents what the artist is looking for.

There is also one final medium that is completely overlooked by most artists: 

THE IDEA

No concept ideas that go into creating the art is equally important. Without the basic idea, then the art had no foundation. In the case of the piece above and all the pieces in this series the basic idea was Structural Chaos. This is the blending of geometry and chaos into a single piece of abstract art. It is a concept that I've explored before and will explore again in the future. 

There is also the overall arching concept behind all of my art at this stage, which is EROTIC SURREALISM. Everything I do and every idea I create fits into this art concept. 

From beginning to end a single piece of this art may represent hundreds of hours of work. When you include the brainstorming of ideas, the artistic development of the sets, the interviewing of the model and the modeling session itself, and finally the choosing and completion digitally of the art. 

IN THE END this art is not one thing. Its a constant interplay of old and new mediums with a lot of room to expand and explore multiple mediums within. 

It is just one example of the Bridge. 

We must stop thinking about art in terms of what it was. Art by its very nature takes into account changes in the whole world. So why would we place barrier between old and new mediums?

As much as I detest AI art right now, its not because I don't see it as a valid form of art sometime down the line. Its because programming a bunch of words into a computer is not art. Art is something that makes you think. Something that makes you (the artist) want to explore deeper and deeper meanings in what you create. I do not think AI art has been around long enough to allow this. Right now its just words translated to picture. Later though I do believe it will take its place next to all other art mediums or it will vanish as many fads or trends do and be forgotten about. 

Do you practice a form of Bridge Art? Had you not even thought about it before? Tell me your story. I'd like to hear it.

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