A Dragon and Two Birds

A Dragon and Two Birds

Images from CG Textures

A dragon and two birds, a haphazard choice.  Or say the images attracted me so I used them.  This isn’t science, it’s art.  And every artist grows a way of working as unique as the whorls on their fingers.

I’m driven to combine images — it scratches where I itch. (Monet obviously itched somewhere else.)

I think of my work as clastics.  Here’s what geologists call a clastic rock:

Clastic rock     via Kean University — kean.edu

Clastic can also describe a take-apart anatomical model such as this doozy by Jason Freeny:

Kewpie Door by Jason Freeny      via Moist Productions

Synchronicity break — because I’ve been looking at canvases by Jeff Koons I have to include another Freeny work.  Note that #49 designates the frontal lobes.

Pneumatic Anatomica by Jason Freeny       via Moist Productions

So clastics are made up of pieces.  Glued-together glass, collages, the call-and-reponse of colored lights on aluminum panels.  My brain in pieces does work.

Patterns: pieces in repeat.  Collage: piecework but with different assembly rules.  Digital joinery has yet another set of rules.

Thus yesterday the dragon and two bird images got combined with these two patterns.

patterns by Sloan Nota

To make what I’m now reaching for in art, a richer pattern.  Here’s one repeat unit.

Pattern Unit 051313 37, by Sloan Nota   (copyright 2013)

Here’s what joining repeats into a pattern does.

Pattern 051313 38, by Sloan Nota  (copyright 2013)

It pleases me that what reads as an owl’s face (but isn’t) also feels indented in deeper space.  The luck of not drawing.  Meaning I’m a digital not a plastic artist — which provides me benefits that other artists don’t have.  One side of the balance sheet is well known — digital art lacks certain niceties available to artists using paint or stone.  Let me extol the digital side.

In geology the clastic rocks are the sedimentary ones, where chunks of this and that percolate down through the soil and get cemented in sand, silt, clay.  My percolating chunks are the whole of public domain imagery — no image ‘doesn’t fit’ or bounces out of bounds.   And  I get to play with them and see what hijinks they get up to together — eg: a nice non-owl owl.  I can take a snip of Rembrandt and half a drawing I made when I was six.  Or an Audubon swan, an iPhone snap and a clipart taxi.  Because the digital tool shop is rich I can slice and dice, blend layers, mask with a porcupine silhouette — and/or wrap on a 3d object, distort with displacement maps, and on and on and on.

I can do in an instant what would take a painter days to do.  Yep, it’s a shortcut.  I hear booing from the balcony.  But the ultimate test should ask an image how good it is.  What I do quickly represents decades of experiment and dogged doing.  And I goddam love making digital artwork.

Pixels have power too.


look further:

The clastics.com domain is taken by the geologist Chuck D. Howell.  I salute him here.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *