Poor Mr. Bat. This was intended as a quick experiment in my ongoing exploration of digital impasto. To my knowledge I have the unique, and completely unrecognized distinction of being a pioneer in achieving digital impasto effects. I’ve used several different programs and combinations thereof to accomplish the results, and it’s usually not in a way they were intended to be used. I do this because of my love of thick, impasto oil paintings, and it’s considered one of the things that is just absolutely impossible to do well digitally. I’ve done a lot of digital impasto paintings. Maybe you’ve seen my tribute to Van Gogh (which was done in a different program, incidentally).
And a close-up:
If I were able to work with one of the better digital art program creators, we could come up with a way for everyone to be able to do digital impasto painting. That’s not going to happen, though. They’ll come up with it without my input, eventually, and I will likely never be recognized as contributing anything to digital fine art painting. I mean, if I had to bet on it. Hell, digital fine art painting is not even a thing. I’ve never heard of a single digital painter being recognized in the contemporary fine art world. Honestly, the only way I’m going to get any traction in any of the art venues out there is through sheer excellence, and that’s only going to require through dogged persistence, hard work, an open and flexible mind, and humility. As far as I’ve climbed, I’ve still got a steep ascent, and need to continually “level up” my game.
In fact, I’m moving away from this kind of work, and using programs more the way they were intended to operate, which makes some things a lot easier. But I am an inveterate rule-breaker and restless experimenter when it comes to visual art. It’s one of the reasons I keep shooting myself in both feet by not sticking to one, brand-able, signature style. This is, fore example, in terms of technique, at the opposite end of the spectrum from my last piece, below.
The Ant Man above is illustrational, in terms of technique, and Mr. Bat is modern fine art, being an expressionist impasto painting. Mr. Bat is a throwback to prior styles I’ve worked with, and a quick break from learning more illustrational techniques, which I believe there’s a much larger audience for.
Versatility is not a bad thing, nor is skill, though both are derided in contemporary art parlance. Most artists stick to one style, with notable exceptions such as Picasso, Max Ernst, and even David Hockney. I seem hard-wired to try different things, return to methods I’ve used before with a new angle, and to make hybrids. Nevertheless, I know I should probably buckle down and do a series in a signature style if I ever want to gain a bigger audience or have anything resembling a career.
I find it helpful to try different approaches, and as some of you know, it’s one of my dreams to be able to take a plein air landscape oil painting class. I’m not married to working digitally, and didn’t even start until after I got my Master’s in art, but being an expat and a bit of a digital nomad, working physically isn’t a smart option.
I think the details of this new image are the best part, so here’s some more:
As for the subject, well, you can guess it’s a modestly humorous take on our worldwide struggle against the new coronavirus. Here a bat person gets a human flu. Note the squiggly digital impasto cough. This is a peculiar addition to the history of fine art painting, with its obvious reference to expressionism, though most will see it as a failure to achieve this or that preconceived standard of execution and content. It is always safest for ones art to fit precisely within preexisting models and expectations, hence the predominance of utterly formulaic pop music. However, for me, unless it breaks out of the mold, as much as I may appreciate a work, I’m always on the hunt for novelty.
I suppose it’s more tragic than humorous, and I didn’t begin the painting with any idea in mind. It’s not surprising the plight we are facing creeped in. I titled it in the past tense, “That Time Mr. Bat go the Human Flu” so you’d know he survived.
Hope you like him, and let me know what you think in the comments about artists sticking to one style or exploring a range of styles.
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