Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Microsoft Paint Is My Jam

When I’m bored at work, when there’s not much going on or things are done for the day but I need to be in my office seat, I’ll work on mail-art things. Normally I design add and pass sheets, put scanned work here and there, or simply correspond to other mail-artists online. Doing this makes me feel like I’m being creatively productive during the day. And since I’m making the most out of my time, I’m being productive, productive. At the end of the day I end up having my work done and I’ve completed some creative work as well. The day is never a lost one when you’ve done both these things. Grading twenty essays by the of the day doesn’t always feel like a victory.
Microsoft Paint has become my go-to for digital editing. I get it, the service isn’t a very good one, it’s crude and silly and doesn’t have all of the ‘bells and whistles’ one would like to have. Photoshop is great, I know this, but it isn’t on my work computer so I use Paint. Stylistically I like the program, I like the crudeness, and I like the limitations. Not being able to move the text around is something I hate, which makes all of my creations painfully linear. Since I’ve been challenging myself to put more ‘movement’ in my work, this is a drawback. It’s what I have so it’s what I use.
Along with Paint, I’ve been fascinated with using black monochrome. I love it because it has no depth, it’s so flat, everything comes out looking like a punk rock show flyer and I love that. When I put something in flat black monochrome I immediately start thinking about Raymond Pettibone and all of his wonderful drawings. I try and make them as gritty as I possibly can. I do this by printing off my creation and then copying it, and then copying that copy. Doing this allows all sorts of strange lines and specs to pop up. Often I’ll go back and scan the image, mess with it digitally and then print it off again, and then I’ll copy it, and copy it, and copy it. Whatever I created in Paint then becomes a completely different creation after it goes through this rigorous process.
For no particular reason I decided to take one of my analogue tape collages (the backing comes from a book I ripped up) convert it to flat black monochrome digitally. Things that weren’t visible in the analogue collage started to pop out. I loved the mix of black and white, half words, and figures. It was exciting. Then I pulled up Paint and randomly started adding startling colors to the mix. Since Paint makes little distinction for lines, large swaths of the image would become colored…you couldn’t really control where the color went. I kept going; I kept tossing in color to see where it would go.
This is how I achieve the image above. On the left side is the analogue collage made up of a lot of torn magazine images (the tape rip method) and a friend’s child as the main focus. The message in the back of the collage, “Brightest Life of All” is still visible. Once I scanned the analogue collage, made it black monochrome, and then added bright colors in Paint, the image took on a whole new life. The image on the right felt like a record cover from the late 70’s or early 80’s, something a little punk but also a little pop oriented. Although I like both images the completed digital one, (on the right) stands out a little more to me. Once again, I have stumbled across a new method to make my collages. This is how I “came up with” the tape rip method, it just happened. This just happened and I like where I might be able to take it. I wonder how this would look printed off. The possibilities are exciting.

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