Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ipods and Ipads

I recently downloaded onto my Ipod the only app I have ever paid for (and a whopping $5.99 it was too!)  The app is "Inspire", an advanced drawing/painting app that has become, since downloading it, my best friend and favorite hobby.  It's painting without the mess.  And just so you can visualize what I'm talking about, here's an example of one of my recent "paintings":

Alexis Hamann-Nazaroff, Turtle, painting on Ipod, 2012

Using Ipod apps for art is apparently more than just my hobby; museums have started to take an interest.

I was visiting the Oakland Museum the other day, and was intrigued by a wall they had covered in "Faces of California".  The set-up on the wall mimicked a old-fashioned method of displaying art, in which a museum would squeeze as many paintings on a wall as could fit.  Today this style of display has mostly been replaced in museums by hanging paintings surrounded by a lot of empty space, a method more conducive to intense viewing of each individual work.  But although each individual portrait on this wall in the Oakland Museum was not positioned for the best detailed study, all together, they made quite a vibrant texture.  The set-up made me feel that California was a whole tapestry of personalities, historic and contemporary, famous and unknown, the feeling I'm guessing that was exactly the curators were going for.

Oakland Museum of California Faces of California, exhibit space, 2012

Notice the two portraits a row up from the bottom, in thick black square frames with rather simple stick-figure faces?  Those "canvases" are actually Ipads.  And the portraits on them are contributions from museum visitors.  A table had been set up next to the "Faces of California" Wall with Ipads and mirrors for visitors to sketch their self-portraits.  Then the fresh and amateur self-portraits were displayed in a rotating manor in the exhibit.

Here am I, sketching my soon-to-be-displayed self-portrait:

This technology allowed the Oakland Museum curators to take their message of a tapestry of Californians one step further, and to very visually have California history instantly include the regular art museum visitor.

The "Faces of California" at the Oakland Museum is not the only exhibit I have seen making use of the Ipad for art.  One of today's most prolific and well respected artists, David Hockney, took up Ipad drawing a couple of years ago, and his exhibit Me Draw On Ipad, has travelled through an number of world class museums.  I saw it last July in the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark.  Hockney's taken his significant drawing skills and applied them to an art app on his Ipad, reveling in the fact that, with this medium, the drawings automatically glow.  And that to a two-dimensional art form, one can add the fourth dimension, time.  At the exhibit, it was possible to see the drawings in action, watch as the marks appeared and changed on the screen, becoming a lyrical meditative performance.  Here are some of Hockney's works, and one of the videos from the exhibit, which show you what I mean by the fourth dimension:

David Hockney, Various iPad drawings, Me Draw on Ipad, Louisiana Museum, 2011 (image source)

David Hockney, i-Pad drawing, 2011, video source:


  1. looking forward to seeing your self portrait! your turtle is carrying a beautiful home on it's back!

  2. Thomas Kinkade passed away today. Though I know he wasn't your favorite painter, he definitely was well known even by non-art folk and thus impacted art. This article estimates that 1in 20 homes have a Kinkade piece.

  3. Thanks for sharing! I had never seen the painting "The Mirror of Venus" before, and it is both beautiful and interesting. I wrote an entry on the Pre-Raphaelite artists of England back in September, if you're interested: