Saturday, April 11, 2009

what did you expect from Linux?

Not a very exciting typical day, eh? What did you expect, Mission Impossible music, hard drives smoking' " I disavow any knowledge of what happens to your PC". Believe me, when nothing happens, this is normal, you can use your computer to do stuff other than worry and fix it. And because I have a lot of these normal days in Linuxville, I have to have other interest to fill the time. Like.............

Figuring out the genius of art dabbling. You know one of the problems of our society is that we turn everything into a profession. In the process something is lost to many. In the art world, all the skills and techniques have been turned into a scientific method. Design itself can be taught because it has been formulated into exact principles. Of course one has to discover the truth of these things for themselves, but much laud is given for having been trained, not much if any for fumbling and dabbling with the inner senses. The final result is over trained to where these either get a job or seclude themselves to rediscover their artist sensibilities overshadowed by the years of training.

Come on, I've seen it. Hey you've got talent, why don't you go to school. Artists only need to improve their skills to better do what they are doing already. But to get trained to be a commercial artist is a different thing altogether. You are broadened to where you can do anything, everything. If a job focuses your work that is OK, but if your intent is to not be commercial, you have to rediscover your voice through all this stuff. You must relearn to trust your own vision. How do you show yourself through the added layers of stuff you learned.

I am going through this process. I went to school, took some classes, amassed some skills. In the mean time things changed, computers became useful for art. Now how do I turn my brush/pen into a mouse with the same spontaneity and finesse. How do I trust the monitor/display or the printer's output? And why is my work on this computer thing not valued the same as in other media?

I am going through the art process, it is not easy, there is no click, click, click and it's done. But I will admit, if I don't like the work, I can change it, delete it, sample from it for reuse, and make multiples and reproduce it. The do or die approach of the one time execution of an art work has been ended for ever. An oil painting might be a one hit original, computer output or photos, can be reproduced again and again, each an original because of the string of formatted 1's and 0's (a digital file). What is the value of a copy? The digital file can be copied, where is the means to make it rare, thus of value. Now, do you buy art because it is rare and of a famous artist (and of value because of it) or because you like the work?? Perhaps, there needs to be a different kind of value psychology for this digital art, not based on rarity because you can copy it, but on is it good art. Do you like it!!

There are many kinds of digital art, like art that is so realistic to fantasy art, comics and game art. Digital art could be photographic or obviously mimicking traditional art medias. Then onward to animation film art, cartoons and special effects. Much of ad graphics today is digital, signage, technical illustration and engineering drawing. Then on top of this some digital art never leaves the screen like wallpapers, screensavers, interface art, icons and some is meant to be printed out as pictures, photos or placed on products from quilts to business cards and billboards.

Digital dabbling is casual art. You have time to appreciate and enjoy and try stuff. And because we are often consumed with other things, time to dabble is all that's left. And it does not matter if the software is not "what the professionals use", so why spend $400 just to dabble?? I like to insist people try the GIMP because it is free, but there are other applications that push pixels around the screen. If you get well versed in some unfamiliar software package, does that make your work, not art?. If a guy can pluck his own hair to make a brush and paint a so-called masterpiece, do you think a $75 custom brush will make you a better artist? It is about making the tools, any tools, work for you. The tools that are available and convenient for you to acquire I consider your home court advantage. If all you can see is Photoshop, I hope you can put in the time to make it worth the expense. Besides, it doesn't run natively or well in Linux, thus I'm not so concerned.

The main argument I have heard against the GIMP was that it didn't have a CMS (color management system) or color separation tools needed by the large commercial printing systems. These tools I believe can be added or are provided by other software. These days and especially for art work the typical RGB color system used on all desktop monitors and printers can do wonderful work. Printers will do photo size 4" x 6" all the way to 52" wide using inkjet technology. If course there are technophobes who fuss with quality to the nth, but if precision and perfection is your obsession, will the cost of the final output satisfy the client who just wants something they like? I say, do a check print, tweak it, print it again, if it is OK, you win.

The Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt that has been applied to user's minds to keep them from looking at Linux is continuously being eroded away. I experience new things often that I would not have attempted in MS XP for the risk or things I couldn't afford to do. I remains that I will not insist on Linux as the all-solution, but if you try it at my suggestion and like it, I am greatly gratified. You have made the first steps into a larger world. Welcome to Linuxville!!

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