I am a Melbourne based writer, primarily of speculative fiction. I find the writing process fascinating; the links below include examples of my work, fiction and non fiction, but also another story. How has a chapter evolved? How have places and the fictions of others informed and inspired my own. How do I research, develop ideas and turn them into narrative? Each page offers a different insight into the work and the story behind the work.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Desktop street art

I am not an artist, but I once was to some degree; many years ago I drew quite regularly, created illustrations for my fiction and painted in water colour and sometimes in oils. Later I worked as a computer graphic artist for a number of years. While most of my work was various types of corporate design and animation, after work hours and during lunchtimes I also experimented artistically with the computer graphics software of the time.

One of the reasons I suspect I was drawn to street art and ended up creating the Melbourne Street Art 86 site, is that it reminded me a lot of the sort of work I did on early computer graphics systems (this is the late 1980s and early 90s I am talking about). Those early systems were 8bit, which only allowed you 256 colours, but you could create vignettes of 10-15 colours at a time and use shapes filled with these to create an illusion of shading. The later systems were full 24 bit or 32bit, as all paint software is these days. On those more sophisticated systems you had airbrush tools, which are a kind of electronic version of the aerosols paints most street artists use.

Another similarity is that the colours on a computer screen are luminous, as is the paint used in many street art peices. I suspect this is because some of the paint they uses is fluorescent - fluorescent paint includes particles whose molecules are 'excited by some spectrum of the suns rays and actually give off visible light. So when some street art looks as though it glows in sunlight, it probably actually is.

Having spent many hours photographing and 'curating' street art on Melbourne Street Art 86, I was curious to see what happened when I tried to envisage some art of my own, using some of the 'vocabulary' of the art I have seen recently.

I sat down at lunchtime today and freeform sketched a few ideas. The page is shown below.

I have now spent a bit of time working up some rough colour versions of the ideas I had sketched.

Here, for better or worse, they are.

The first one started out as a idea for a solar system like an eye and I had sketched an eyebrow above it on the sheet above. The tears came quite spontaneously after I created the basic shapes and once I had added them, it seems natural somehow to evolve the image into a kind of cosmic face.

The end result is too dark really, but seems reminiscent of the work of James Reka, which I often enjoy when I come across it.

But I came back to it a bit later in evening and tried some other variations, until I ended up with something more less elaborate.

I think this is a kind of play on ancient Greek architecture and the fascination of some philosophers with  geometric forms. It also perhaps echoes the characters that often accompany the elaborate calligraphic names street artists uses. I didn't have time to create something that elaborate though.

Here is a version that is simpler...

This seems to echo the stencil form in street art.

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