Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Artist Blog: Harold Cohen

Harold Cohen was born on May 1st, 1928, in England. Amidst a lifetime of creating art, he has also been a prolific professor, spending more than three decades teaching at University of California, San Diego. He is the noted creator of AARON, an artificial intelligence system that self generates incredible art pieces. This system he has created has attracted attention internationally. Now 86 years old, Cohen has since retired from UCSD and is now spending all of his time furthering the development of AARON.   

For me, one of the most striking qualities of Cohen's work is the incredible color scheme. While Cohen is mostly representing organic life in his work, the colors he uses to render the plants are almost radioactive. Many of them are not found in nature and they suspend the reality of the scene as something that takes place in the natural world. The line quality is also particularly interesting. It is very involved and complex, which lends itself to the aspect that it was not completely made by man's hand. Many aspects of Cohen's work- the line, color and composition, all refer back to the synthesized origins of the art. Cohen brings the dichotomy of nature and technology together in his work to provide a visually interesting interaction between these two very dissimilar aspects of life. Cohen is constantly reminding us of the huge role technology plays in how we see the world- even nature can be altered and warped with the hand of technological innovation. 

 Cohen's work, through the coding of his AARON system- provides for some very aesthetically pleasing artwork. The complimentary colors used in his chromatic pieces are easy on the eye and almost trick one into believing that the content could move at any instant. This vitality, which is encouraged by vigorous line use, engages the viewer in a dynamic way and allows the viewer's eye to roam freely around the work. The inclusion of the human figure in some works allows for a sense of relatability to pass between the work and the viewer- this makes for an interesting conversation on human vs nature vs technology. If anything, I would like to see a variation in subject matter, perhaps moving into larger landscape scenes, with more human subjects. However, Cohen has such a large body of work he may well have covered this.    

Works Cited:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Artist Blog: David T. Wenzel

David Wenzel is a contemporary illustrator, working mostly in the areas of mythology, fantasy and folk lore. He is best known for adapting J.R.R. Tolkein's The Hobbit into beautiful illustrations. Wenzel has worked for many major publishing companies and has created art for a plethora of successful books, such as The Wizard's Tale and Kingdom of the Dwarves. Wenzel has the uncanny knack of imagining fantasy worlds in his mind and penning them down for all to see in great detail; he often creates creatures and characters that do not have a place in pre-existing lore. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and two sons, who are all talented and successful artists. 

Much of David's body of work is inspired and contracted from previous literary writings. That being said, these canon works (such as scenes from The Hobbit, as shown above) are re-imagined and told in a refreshing new light. The scenes depicted so eloquently in Tolkein's words bloom with light and saturated colors in Wenzel's illustrations. Many of the scenes involve the figure and landscape in some way; a great sense of depth and grandness can be attributed to entire works and smaller panels within a storyboard. His use of warped perspective in a landscape further adds to the sense of scale in a work, allowing the reader to see more than would physically be possible. Suspending the world in this unreal way lends a fantastical vibe to the work. Just as Tolkien manages to weave an epic tale, we are able to see the epic scale of the characters' journey in Wenzel's paintings. 

   With the ultimate goal in mind of becoming an illustrator, this work is extremely appealing to me. The style is mature and treats the viewer as a competent reader who can grasp the complex themes and moments of Tolken's novel, but the work succeeds in also capturing a sense of vivid imagination and adventure. It is delightfully childlike in it's genuine zeal for the journey, but sophisticated in content and style. Composition and busy imagery bring these works to life, but they are organized enough that a viewer can comfortably follow through the images without trouble. You can tell Wenzel is a lover of fantasy, and even if that genre isn't your cup of tea, his renderings will tempt you to love it just as much as he does. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Photo Corrections


…and After. 

I made many minor changes for an overall less washed out, more saturated photo. 

And, another before...

...And after. 

I worked a lot with color balances here, again no monumental changes but I think the picture looks better than before.