The on-line tutorials for the Digital Fine Art MA program at the University of Art London have been a very important part of the course for me so far, and the several I have had with Jonathan Kearney, MA Fine Art Digital Course Leader, which were on the 10th of December 2012, 13th October 2013, and 8th April 2014 have been super helpful one-on-one tutorials. His strong emphasis on reflective learning has not only had a great effect on my own leaning process and out come, but has totally changed my approach to my own teaching methods. In the Fall of 2013 I introduced the use of blogs for my art students at the University of Redlands, California where I teach. I believe that Jonathan has had to get most students on this course to narrow down their projects, so that they were not going in too many directions. In my case it was the reverse, and Jonathan suggested that I expand my chosen project Mandalas of Light, which is when I started introducing the landscape and still-life backgrounds that gave some sense of context and also scale to my work. The emphasis for the April 2014 tutorial with Jonathan was preparing for the final art show. I had already decided to produce three books of my digital work, along with a display of seven of my prints in the form of scrolls. The idea of using scrolls was not only to complement the approach to my work, but also to help with the ease and ability of transporting the finished scrolls from Southern California where I live and displaying them at the UAL campus gallery area at Camberwell in London. My idea was to suspend the prints, which would be printed on translucent paper, away from the white gallery walls and backlight them. Jonathan liked the idea of of both the books and the scrolls, but informed me that there were only 2 spotlight to serve in the gallery area, plus the high gallery ceilings could be a problem. I will be taking this into account at my next In another one-on-one tutorial with Ed Kelly I received a similar response to my work. Both Jonathan and Ed liked the series of turning circular shapes that were created with multiple digital layers, and they both encouraged me to do more. There are two examples this work further below. I have also had two other one-on-one tutorials with guest artists Dave Charlesworth in December of 2013, and Keir Williams in February of this year. Both Dave and Keir are very cutting edge experimental artists, and although I did not closely relate to their work at first, I knew that they would have a different viewpoint and hopefully be more objective about my work, so I was very keen to get their feedback. It was to my surprise that they both chose incidentally two identical works of mine to discuss, Winter Mandala, and Arial Dance No.1.
Winter Mandala / LED Light Painting / 2013 / Terry Long
Ariel Dance No.1 / Kinetic Light Drawing / 2013 / Terry Long
Both Dave and Kier liked the intricate design of Winter Mandala, with Dave being very impressed with the colours that I had chosen. I have never seen myself as a colourist, having struggled with this area of art for most of my life, so this was really good news to me, and maybe a bit surprising, considering the kind of conceptual art that he does. Dave and Kier also came to a very similar conclusion, in that I should record the performance of pieces like Ariel Dance No.1, which was a large gestural drawing created in the air with a recording time of 5 seconds, and show it as a video so that the audience would be able to see me producing the piece in real time, and also fully understand that this was a drawing being produced in three dimensions, and not in two dimensions as you would normally perceive it to be. On the one hand, I think it would take away some of the mystery behind the piece, but I also realize that it would allow the viewer to see the real scale of the piece that was being created in the video, which can sometimes be difficult to portray and understand when seen against a plain background in print form. I have addressed this issue and topic several times while producing my work when I have changed the scale of my artwork by placing them in a location or situation that I have specifically photographed for the finished piece. The following work would be a good example of that.
Mandala in Times Square / Kinetic Light Painting / 2013 / Terry Long
Helta Skelta / Prismography / 2014 / Terry Long
Around Nine / Prismography / 2014 / Terry Long
Keir Williams thought that a lot of my work was like chinese calligraphy, which has actually been one of my influences, along with Zen (Chan) calligraphy. He was kind enough to send me some notes a few days after the tutorial with some very useful ideas, suggestions, and web links. Here is most of his email to me…
That was a really interesting talk I thought. What seemed to me to be important to your work was:
The performance of gesture. that is your movement in space as articulated by light (light as line and tone). If I look at both the image dance of light and say Winter Mandala I feel they are doing something slightly different. That is, the simple gesture of dance of light to me represents something closer to chinese calligraphy, the quick and seemingly improvised movement that is informed by many years of practice and dedication to gesture. For me the winter piece is more about the shear complexity of the image and representation of a huge amount of time taken to create the piece. IN some ways they both show a dedication to fine and precise action.
The next thought is that you as a performer is central to much of this work, or at least where you might take it. If we consider the Picasco image it’s about his gesture and him as artist and icon.
It seems to me that the images I’ve seen are about a flat drawing plane. I’d like to see how you could bring it out into space. That could be literally with by creating panels of some sort that catch the light as you move or using projection. Could simply be a dark room with moving objects or you moving in front of a slow frame rate camera. Then again it might be about capturing still images.
It seems to me you have a technique and style that can then be used to articulate many different things. What’s important is what you decide to do with it. Therefor I’d try and work out what it is you want to do with it for now (this doesn’t have to be for ever but a starting point) Then try lots of things, experiment try as much stuff as possible and see what sits well with you.
So here is a list of links it’s a bit random but it’s all stuff I thought off when we where talking.
AntiVJ – http://www.antivj.com this is a ‘visual label’ that works with project and projection mapping. Very exciting and interesting stuff.
Greyworld – greyworld.org do lots of fancy digital art but include lots of stuff with led’s
Graffiti research lab – did lots of stuff with projection and the street. In particular these projects:
Throwable LED’s http://www.graffitiresearchlab.com/blog/projects/led-throwies-ii/
Laser drawing : http://www.graffitiresearchlab.com/blog/projects/laser-tag/
Hip-Hip LED drawing : http://www.graffitiresearchlab.com/blog/enter-the-ghetto-matrix/
This is a free programming language for creating 3d viewable and moveable lines using light.
Graffiti mark up language: http://graffitianalysis.com (demo video) & main site:http://graffitianalysis.com/gml/
Also just found this on google randomly! http://lightpaintlive.com
Your work also real made me think of the modernist Naum Gabo (google his images) one of my favourite artists!
Here is my response back to Kier…
Thank you so much for your feed back. It was very enjoyable, and has been one of the most helpful so far in this MA course, and came just at the most perfect and needed time. Thank you also for the links, which I am eager to look at. I will certainly try some kind of performance piece and use myself in the video. Naum Gabo is a strong influence for me, and I have been thinking of creating kinetic sculpture using lights, a bit like Calder’s work, but with lights. I would also record the movements of the sculpture on video, including the reflections and shadows that would be created. A lot to think about, so I just need to dive in and keep creating, but with a more clear vision thanks to you
Due to fact that most of my work which uses the gestural dance sequence is very short, from 6 to 30 seconds, I have decided to hold off videoing until I have come up with a suitable way of presenting and formatting it. Much of what I do is in the post production stage of each piece, and can take several hours, so this would take a different approach in a live performance. I think for my next step, and future project after my MA completion, I would like to approach the idea of creating and producing kinetic sculptures that use light, and maybe add prisms and optics as a strong component. On seeing the Alexander Calder exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art earlier this year…
I was struck on how the shadows played an important part of the display. Sadly, only a couple of the Calder’s pieces had this effect due to the few spotlights that were used. The museum did not use the same lighting for the rest of the show and missed the opportunity of bringing Calder’s work fully to life, but it did give me some food for thought about my own work and using shadows as an intrinsic part of the art piece too, which I am sure Calder was fully aware of.
My last on-line tutorial for this course was on the 11th of June 2014 and was with Jonathan Kearney again. This one-on-one tutorial was mainly to follow up from our last discussion about my plans and ideas for the final show at the Camberwell campus in London, and for Jonathan to make sure that I was on schedule, with only three weeks to go at this point. Although my basic ideas for my display and the pieces I would show had not changed, my main objective now was to stay very flexible with the layout and lighting in the gallery area. We discussed why I had chosen to stick to still images, and not use other mediums such as video. I think that a single image can be much more powerful than a film sequence, and have the potential of a greater iconic effect on the viewer. I was able to show Jonathan the first of the three printed books for display, which may have been a little difficult for Jonathan to see on his screen in London, but I think Jonathan was happy and OK with my progress towards the final show. Jonathan summed up my work as being very polyphonic, which I was very pleased to hear. It is what I have been striving for.
All of the tutorials with the UAL professors and guest artists, plus all the feedback from fellow students at UAL throughout the course have been encouraging to me, and have also got me to step back and review my work from a different perspective.