My Attempts at Digital Art

So, if my calculations are correct, we’re now at post #72, a reversal of the digits in my favorite number, 27. Even disregarding the arbitrary significance of this number, it seems right to mark the occasion with something different. At this point, my blog is almost exactly two months old and about half of my “back catalog” of essays are up. When my blog reached post #27 I commemorated the occasion with a look at some of my own artwork, and I’d like to do the same now. I have not physically dabbled in the visual arts except with the writing desk that serves as a cover photo on this blog’s homepage. That said, I have done a few things on the computer, some more significant than others, that I’d like to share.

Transformative Art

To start off with, anyone can create beautiful images with the computer; what I’ve done is hardly unprecedented. That said, I don’t believe the ease with which computers allow us to create things should negate from the appreciation we have for digital art either. The fact that anyone can do it means we have an abundance of beautiful things to look at, and why should it matter if a machine sped up the process? Given the time, patience and vision any person can take something mundane and turn it into something extraordinary. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me. For example, in the process of working on my writing desk, I acquired a lot of dice. I lined some up and took a picture, and from there I managed to create several unique images.

I’ve done a few other things in this vein. The header image of this post was the result of taking an image off Google and heavily editing it to the point being unrecognizable. (I never kept a copy of the original, and this was done years ago so I can’t find it again for reference unfortunately.) The background for my gravatar profile is something I made by taking a picture of a tutu that was catching the light. I edited the colors and now you’d never know where it came from.

Wonka Wallpapers

I got bored and took some color-corrected bananas from the Velvet Underground’s first album cover and turned them into wallpaper designs ala that scene in Willy Wonka.

Warhol Panels

Again, I made these when I was bored, following the Warhol style of just repeating the same image with new color schemes. I used a lollipop, a Leni Loud fanart, Grace Slick and myself as models. I also used a transwoman from reddit who had made a series of posts about passing in the fourth image. Unfortunately she deleted her account recently, but considering this image is so heavily edited as to be unrecognizable I determined that there was no harm in sharing anyway.

Self-Portraits

With the second and third images in this gallery (the “purple ones”) I wanted to express my transition without words. The first, fourth and fifth (the “rainbow ones”) were meant to express the idea that we’re all vastly different people in one depending on our mood, how we change over time, and the perspective of others.

Trans-Pride Iconography

This group is pretty self-explanatory. The first through fourth pictures utilize the dice from the Transformative Art section earlier but only in pink, blue and white colorations. The rest are alternate pride flag designs. In particular, I’ve always wondered how the original pride flag would look with the pink and blue reversed.

Incredible Collage of Copyright Infringement

This is the big one, which took many hours of on-again, off-again work over several weeks. I was inspired by the cover art for the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper and Frank Zappa’s parody on We’re Only in it for the Money. I wanted to do that kind of group shot but with the members of the crowd consisting of people or characters that are meaningful to me. The foreground has been changed from an outdoor picnic to a beach-front because, as I said in my desk post, I love the beach. I added a background cityscape for the same reason.

I actually had the idea to do something like this kicking around for many years. I even made a very rough attempt at this when I was a freshman in High school for an online group I was with. I didn’t know how to make pixels transparent nor did I have the programs necessary to do so. The result was this monstrosity made with Microsoft Paint.

I’ll admit that even this updated version of the project is not perfect: the scaling of the crowd-members is off and there are some digital artifacts I wish I could go back and fix. Unfortunately the assets it took to create this picture were lost soon after I completed it. (I made this picture two years ago, and since then my old computer crashed.) Plus, it took far too long to make for me to devote that amount of time again recreating the same thing from scratch. (At least for the foreseeable future.) All that said, I’m proud of it as-is. It’s not perfect but it’s my mind put to (digital) canvas.

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