Angelic Belligerent, by Eric Kuns. Digital image. Digital Pollock.
Angelic Belligerent, by Eric Kuns 1/2014. Digital image. (click to see larger image)

A conceptual digital work with 281 fonts, 281 words, and 281 layers. I used every font I have. For each layer in Photoshop, I choose a word off the top of my head, and each is assigned a font according to whichever is next in the list, and size and transparency through randomly generated numbers. The technique, though digital, has a lot in common with Jackson Pollock paintings in that I create one layer at a time, and once I’ve placed it, don’t go back and change it. So, in the same way he’d fling paint, and couldn’t go back and change it, I’d lay down a layer (which includes elements of chance), and wouldn’t alter it. Kinda’ like making a Chess move. When I got to the last word, I would only alter that layer, and none of the others before. In this way, each addition is an incremental process incorporating order, chance, on the spot thinking, and an aesthetic decision.

Detail of Angelic Belligerent
Detail of Angelic Belligerent 1. You can see many layers of text.

There is no deliberate relation between word, font, size of font, and transparency. Sometimes I didn’t like the layer, but had to work with it, like getting a card you don’t want while playing Poker. Some words got 1% for transparency, so are essentially invisible. Towards the end there was the risk my composition that was building up could be jeopardized by a very large and opaque font. “Belligerent” was near the end, and difficult to incorporate.

Detail of Angelic Belligerent 2
Detail of Angelic Belligerent 2. Where the letters intersect and overlap they form new shapes.

In the prior piece, 122,  I didn’t do one layer at a time, but arranged them at the end so that each name would show through to some degree. This time because I used transparency, words show through each other, and you can’t be sure which is on top. The process includes a lot of switching between Photoshop and the random number generating program, as well as Word, where I compiled a list of all the words I used. Sometimes making this piece reminded me of doing a job, because of all the keystrokes involved. But it was also like a game, or gambling, with a certain amount of risk involved, and making predictions. Sometimes I’d place a word where it stood out too much, in the hopes I’d be able to counter it later on, for example.

Detail of Angelic Belligerent 3
Detail of Angelic Belligerent 3. Because I used words, the eye follows shapes according to word spelling, as well as in other ways.

This is a vector image and can be printed as large as is desired while maintaining absolute crispness. You have to stand back a ways to let the composition and undulating layers take effect, but looking from different distances will make different words and shapes pop out.

I’m planning one more of these, a bit different. Stay tuned.

~ Ends

WARNING: If you don’t want to endure the self-promo stuff I have to do to try to keep afloat, stop scrolling now. Content here is always free to you, but if someone wants a print, or to help out, I need to make that possible. I also offer prints for a minimal profit above production costs. In other words, they are inexpensive.

Totally affordable prints, and they’d look cool in a lot of different environments, where people can chill out and find different words over time. I have prints available as large as 8 feet wide, and as small as a postcard.

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…and the prior companion piece, which uses the names of 122 famous people:

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Click to go to a gallery of my new work.

You can make a small donation to help me keep on making art and blogging (and restore my faith in humanity simultaneously).



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