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April 1, 2011 12:59 pm

If Picasso Had a Mac

avatar by Ron Agam

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Sometimes I wonder what Picasso, or better, Andy Warhol would have created had they been born in the age of computers. As for Picasso, his incredible production and constant reinvention would have probably been even greater; creativity wise, a synthetic digital brush would have been for Picasso a magical creative wand that his playful hand would have embraced without reservation.

Warhol, whose paintings were essentially centered on silk-screening, is an interesting example to analyze. I remember working with Rupert Smith who was his latest silk-screening atelier in Tribeca. Andy would be presented with ideas of portraits based on his favorite colors schemes by Rupert, and this collaborative work was the alternative to using Photoshop and digital printers that really did not exist yet at the level they are today.

Warhol, with his constant use of silk screening did in fact rarely touch a brush or a canvas in the traditional sense of art, his favorite medium was the precursor of the digital printer.

So the evolution of painters from brushes and canvas to silk-screening, where a great number of post war artists expressed themselves, finds itself challenged by a digital world that today explodes the notion of paintings. At MIT in Boston Massachusetts, the digital lab had for many years defined the role of computers in creativity, from animation to paintings. Some of these experiments dated as far as 40 years ago.

Today we are witnessing an incredible cross-pollination between new media and old-fashioned painting techniques. I have for my part found a new source of inspiration in the diversity of tools offered by the digital world. I embrace this medium without reservation always hoping for new revelations. By mixing my mind and fingers with Intel processors, my imagination is soaring to new heights I did not know existed, where only a brush and empty white canvas are the norms. Today’s technology offers me and my fellow artists substrates and platforms of expressions that keep our creative flow running towards new shapes, forms and colors constantly pushing the frontiers of  our imagination. My next exhibition opening in May 5 at the BDG gallery in Chelsea will includes a diverse visual experience based on this research, both traditional and digital.

Red Flower by Ron Agam.

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