“What is a utopia? The etymology of the word points to no-place, but literature and political theory point to the place we desire, a situation where perfection has been reached.” –Christof Migone
I tend to prioritize aesthetic beauty in art. For me, it is a constant struggle between needing to create expressive, meaningful art -which can get a little messy at times- versus producing a cleaner, representative art. I say expressive art is messy because often times the materials used to create them are expressive themselves, with many colouring and textural possibilities. These wonderful options however, come with the possibilities of hard to erase mistakes, smudges, and imperfections.
For my work Concealing I used my previous work as raw material. Titled Alice, it is a pastel drawing on self-identity, inspired by the colourful mushrooms in the novel, Alice in Wonderland. It was my first time working with such a volatile medium, which made more susceptible to the cons of working with pastel. Pastels are not permanently fixed to the surface of the paper and can be easily smudged. Although I consider my first attempt to be fairly successful, I still disliked the messy finish, the muddiness of some of the colours, and the imprecise line work. Digitally painting over them allowed me to fix these flaws and achieve the neat look I considered to be aesthetically beautiful. No mistakes, no smudges. Perfect.
However, I realized that in trying to cover up the imperfections, it took away something from the work that only hand-drawn art could achieve. With excessive blending, the luscious, velvety textures were flattened. The laborious strokes I made for hours gone, making it look effortless. The slow transition can be easily seen in both the video and the images.
So yes, I would say that digital art satisfied all my previous expectations of what “perfect” art should be, but in striving to reach it, I destroyed its expression and character. Both of which are considered things that define a good work of art. Working on Concealing been a heuristic journey for me as an artist, and I hope you can experience some of it through website.