Archive for September, 2009

Web Art: Some Examples

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

In previous posts, I have brainstormed on certain qualities that may help to define what is unique about art created for the.  Keep in mind, when I say “web art”, I don’t mean art done in traditional mediums and merely displayed or distributed using the internet, I mean artwork that is created to use the internet as the medium to make the artwork.

Past posts in this series have talked about what web art may be, and some of the qualities that define it.  You can check out these previous posts here:

In this post I am going to discuss a couple of examples of honest to goodness web art, so that you can get an idea of what exactly I have been talking about.  These examples each show at least some of the qualities of web art that I discussed previously.

Piano Etudes

First up as an example is Piano Etudes by Jason Freeman.  The artist composed and performed these Piano Etude (short pieces of music for piano), but then went a step further.  The recorded music was broken up into little pieces, and the user can arrange these pieces however he would like, creating his own arrangement.  The user gets to work with short pieces of music created by the artist, and the result is a collaboration between the artist and the user.

This collaboration is a little different than the usual artist collaboration, where two artists work in tandem to create a finished work.  In this collaboration, one artist creates the building blocks that can be used, and the user assembles them.  In this way, the user becomes an artist themselves, as he plays an integral part in creating a finished piece of music. 

Here is an example of Piano Etude 1 arranged by composer, friend, and frequent blog commenter Tiven.

These Etudes incorporate non-linearity in an interesting way, and also relies on user interaction.  This type of project is unique to computers, and to the internet.  This type of experience cannot be created with traditional media.

Web Yarns

Alan Bigelow makes interactive stories.  You can find them at  Each one of these requires the user to guide themselves through the story, which is presented with words, images, and sound.  The path through his stories are often non-linear, the user must determine the path through the story.  The artist does not have total control over the experience, and lets interaction by the user play a large role in the unfolding experience of this work of art.  

I was particularly drawn to Because You Asked, perhaps because of my affinity for self-portraits.  I suggest clicking on the link before reading more, because I will be talking about the specifics of the piece of art.  The final multimedia portrait that is created as the user navigates the work of art is pre-determined, but the path, and the experience while that final product is created is up to the user.  The start point and the end point are set, the time and order in which each of the phrases that make up the portrait is up to the user.  Some aspects of the progression of time are left up to the user to determine, such as when certain phrases are revealed, but other aspects of time, primarily how long it takes for the final image to emerge, are part of the programming.

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As I find new works of web art that I find interesting, I will post them here, and discuss them.

Coming up next, I’ll wrap up this series, and in particular discuss the relationship between programming and creativity that is a unique part of web art.

I’m Busy Printmaking, No Time For Real Posts

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

An image from the 101 Woodblock Series

The first round of completion has come around..

The second round should be complete by the end of this weekend, if my order from Graphic Chemical Supply ever shows up!

Art Galleries and Collectors Have Dinosaur Mentality

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

The New York Times is running an article, Digital Creations Come of Age about Digital Art and some of the little annoying problems that collectors and dealers are facing trying to collect and sell this stuff.

They are looking at this entirely wrong.

In the age of Pirate Bay, unique ownership of anything in digital form is like trying to scoop up water with a net.

For those of you that didn’t go read the article, the author writes about the challenges that artists and collectors face when buying and selling digital art. A piece of digital art, after all, is made up of a bunch of 1’s and 0’s on a computer, disk, or other digital storage device.

If someone makes a work of art with digital methods, what is the original piece of art? If the art is nothing but a file, how can anyone be sure that their copy is unique or original?

The article goes on to say,

Uniqueness is central to the digital art paradox. On one hand, its lack of uniqueness is a fundamental characteristic, part of its originality; on the other hand, the sense of exclusive ownership that uniqueness bestows is what collectors and investors typically want.

The problem that these artists and collectors face only come up because they are trying to apply the old model of art to new media. The “fundamental characteristic” that digital art may not be unique shouldn’t be considered a problem, it is an interesting part of the art, Collectors and Investors be damned.

The whole cycle of museum/collector/investor is one of the reasons why art seems so inaccessible. If you are not “part of the club”, you just won’t get it. Digital art has the potential to reach beyond that art culture, since it can be freely accessible to everyone.

The article ends by kinda indicating this, even if it does go a bit overboard and gives in to the temptation to use hyperbole:

Perhaps the idea of the unique object is becoming obsolete, just as software programs that are only used online rather than owned, are slowly replacing physical software packages that one owns.

Digital art should be embraced for what it is, and should be distributed and shared with the world in the way that most makes sense given the characteristics of the medium.

If this doesn’t fit in to the defined structure that galleries, collectors, and investors have come up with for traditional artistic media, then the party should go on without them, and they can show up to this new party if they want.

If you haven’t yet, go check out the New York Times article here:

Digital Creations Come of Age

Vote for!

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

This post is a quick break from all of the posts talking about Web Art, I’ll return you to that regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

I submitted one of my websites,, into a WordPress design contest over on Please take a few seconds to vote for my site.

I love to design websites using WordPress, because it is a very flexible and adaptable framework to build sites off of. It isn’t perfect for everything, but it is fantastic for a lot of things. I’ve spent quite a while really understanding how WordPress works, and put a lot of that knowledge to use with

I’m very proud of that site, I think it has a clean layout and effectively promotes the most important content on the site. I spent a lot of time working to make sure the sight had all of the information it needed, and also wasn’t cluttered.

CLICK HERE to vote for the website

After you click, scroll down the page till you see OnlyTheValiant, check the button right next to it, and click on VOTE.

It takes less than a minute, and is a great way to support my design work. Thank you!

If you are interested in more of my thoughts on the design of OTV, I wrote up some of my thoughts on my personal blog. The design of my personal blog is incomplete (ie. non-existant), but the content is there: OTV Design Considerations.