Tuesday, November 30, 2010

the hand that rocks the mouse

The fascination I have with drawing instead of photo manipulation is something that has grabbed me from the very start. To tell you the truth when I take a camera picture I don't have a habit of messing with it. But I guess you can get quite artful with that. In all my paper wasting days I have always wondered what I might fit on a blank page. Sometimes I know what I see in my head will not materialize because I haven't got the specific skills to put it on paper the way I see it.

This all is awkward because if people ask me to share my GIMP skills with a group I would have to tell them how little interest I have in photo manipulation. The other thing they ask for is how to draw stuff like a person or an object. I don't do people though I would like to draw objects the same as in my sketchbooks. Drawing with a mouse is like tying a pencil to your elbow. I can see why computer clubs don't venture beyond fixing photos and scrap-booking.

Many, many computer artist are doing web graphics, desktop publishing, CD covers and what not. My interest are more design graphics, fine art, drawing, painting and my aim is the home. There is a certain thing with around the house art, while the cutting edge of art is complex, art for the home tends to be............what you thought I'd tell you? Depends on the persons living there. 

I'm also looking for the illusive African Modern Style. The African art influence has been legendary for decades and yet there is no African Modern Style. There is Italian Modern, Scandinavian, even a Contemporary American Country. It's not directly about race, but Africa is the mother of us all. I think because there are so many geographic areas, climates, cultures, peoples, etc. in Africa that there is no one influence or school of thought to use as a framework for an African Style. More than not styles tend not to change as rapidly as trends and fashions. They are reworked in the latest appeal yet keep their essential classic elements. That is what makes them so endearing and when you talk to a designer they know what you are talking about. So, classic styles are a kind of a familiar language.

A lot of African style is wrapped up in textiles. You say Africa here and most see Kente cloth or Kuba raffias or Mali mudcloths, masks and drums. I had hoped the internet would cause an explosion of African influence in design down to the product level, that is, on the store shelves. This has not happened. What we have is so watered down it doesn't even pass for souvenirs. Folks here are still thinking safari and savannas and natives. There are progressive modern cities all over Africa filled with intelligent and creative people. If our American gov makes the connection, we children of slaves get shafted along with Africans getting bilked. If we children of slaves make the connection there is a transference of ideas and commerce. That is my opinion, but I haven't seen different yet.

Anyway, it is kind of cool to view but limit all the American influences. Again it is not so much a race thing as it is a cultural thing. This African culture is often not so apparent among American blacks as we are pushed to embrace diversity so very strongly these days. If we are left alone, the African comes out. Still seems if we are Afro-centric in any visible way we are suspect, labeled un-American and are in rebellion of the American Euro-centric way. OK, I admit I didn't come from Europe, so sue me. There is still a fight to be seen and heard in America, even today. And just because Hispanic peoples are taking the hits today doesn't mean Black peoples have arrived. The arts are often what is sustainable about any culture. We are all hip (hop) to what is the entertainment of the day. There are folks we've forgotten. They have devised the next cool thing already. The age is turning again keep your eyes open, you ain't seen nothing yet! Keep playing with the GIMP.

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