7: Low Tech Meets High Tech

An unexpected thing happened on the way to 8,000 hours of making digital art. My left hand demanded to be placed on the disabled list.

I thought: why not draw with a pen, with the right hand, to help make it more coordinated...Another unexpected thing happened. I ended up exploring this very old medium as if it were some brave new technology. I made experimental art with pens as I had made it with digital tools--aim for new kinds of beauty; try not to repeat myself; and, as Andre Gide put it, hope that God does the heavy lifting. I lost a hand but got a nice concept show out of this, called Low Tech/ High Tech (ink drawings, digital paintings), which took place in May, 2007.

I mention this personal saga here to touch on one particular point. Making art with a pen turned out to be, for me, SURPRISINGLY the same as making art with digital tools. Basically, my instinctive strategy is to subvert a medium, to make it do things that are bizarre and unexpected, and that maybe not many other artists are doing. Turns out I'm a natural-born experimentalist, in the tradition of Breton and Max Ernst. Digital is great for that kind of artist because you can try wild ideas at a rapid pace. Ink is also good. Surprise.

Sad thought: I find that the public hardly understands digital art at all--in particular, there is an unfortunate tendency to assume the art is somehow in the computer. It's not. No more than my new drawings are somehow in the pen!

Software companies did a great disservice to digital by sending out bogus press releases which seemed to suggest that the program makes the art. Bull. So I'll say again what I've been saying all along: paint or pixels, Artists Make Art.

Now I'm becoming right-handed. If your own mouse hand is starting to go, here's a happy thought: you've got back-up. A whole new hand. (I'd recommend to the digital world, start becoming ambidextrous now.)

To see both low and high tech, visit Price.myexpose.com (then Gallery, page 4). Low Tech/High Tech can be viewed by appointment at Word-Wise Modern, Norfolk, Va., 757-455-5020. Images above enlarge when clicked. Titles are: Civilization and its discontents; Enigma; Mist)